Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) delivered a speech this afternoon wherein he apologized for referring to Americans as "makers and takers" and called for civility in the presidential race, but he deserves no credit for doing so.
The Both Sides Punditry were quick to credit Ryan and editorial pages across the web will undoubtedly sing his praises, but Ryan said nothing that was actually substantive.
Speaker Ryan called on Republicans to inspire voters and do what is necessary to "get this country back on the right track."
“All of us as leaders can hold ourselves to the highest standards of integrity and decency. Instead of playing to your anxieties, we can appeal to your aspirations. ...” Ryan said. "We don’t resort to scaring you; we dare to inspire you. We don’t just oppose someone or something. We propose a clear and compelling alternative.
“And when we do that, we don’t just win the argument. We don’t just win your support. We win your enthusiasm. We win hearts and minds,” he added. “We win a mandate to do what needs to be done to protect the American Idea.” [...]
"I'm not concerned about the House flipping, because we are in control of our own actions," Ryan said at a news conference. "And that means we're putting together an agenda to take to the country to show what we need to do to get this country back on the right track."
I would say this country is already on the right track. There is still much work to be done and there are many challenges facing us in this century, but the idea that things have become worse under President Obama is a fantasy.
What Ryan presents as an agenda to take their country back is a deeply regressive agenda that would wipe out all the progress that has been made for generations. As we've been over recently, the current iteration of Ryan's budget blueprint calls for repealing Obamacare and cutting Medicaid and other social programs by trillions of dollars.
There is nothing compelling about his alternative and, make no mistake, it is his alternative. It's the same set of policies Ryan has been running on for six years. Furthermore, much of his agenda is not supported by their own presidential frontrunner Donald Trump.
When Ryan says "we're" putting together an agenda, the list of people you can include in "we" is fairly short. It doesn't include their frontrunner and it doesn't include a significant number of congressional Republicans. Speaker Ryan himself has made it fairly clear that he does not plan to alter his agenda even if their presidential nominee doesn't support it.
Paul Ryan may have apologized for some of the specific words he has used in the past, but nothing else has changed. His past rhetoric and currently ideology are reflected in the policies he seems determined to hang the Republican party with.
Ryan may have called for civility and "decency," but he gave no indication that he would not support the Republican nominee for president even if that means supporting Donald Trump or Ted Cruz.
Paul Ryan's discovery of compassionate conservative Jesus is just as believable as the idea that he's a secret anti-poverty warrior.