So Paul Ryan the “budget hawk” and “fiscal conservative” who “walks the talk” is a lover of government pork for his district. Not only did he ask for stimulus money, but he also requested for millions in pork for his district.
The Washington Post reported that in 2008 alone, “Ryan obtained three earmarks, records show, including the funding for the Janesville transit center, $1.3 million for the 1,200-mile Ice Age National Scenic Trail and $3.3 million for Wisconsin bus facilities.”
Remember Republicans mocking programs just like a 1,200 mile Ice Age National Scenic Trail as Obama and the Democrats tried to rescue this country from the Bush recession? Apparently they were just looking for reasons to obstruct economic recovery, because behind closed doors, their biggest “budget hawk” was all for federal spending on things for his district that might sound laughable to those who don’t live there.
So the lipstick is off of this pig. Paul Ryan is not the fiscal conservative he sells himself as. He’s a hypocrite. It’s almost breath-taking to hear Ryan blame Obama for the credit downgrade caused by his Republican House refusing to pay for their previous debts, which is what he does when asked about his love of pork and stimulus money.
But more importantly, and oddly, while it’s true that some of Ryan’s requests for federal money were to benefit corporations, he was trying to help his district in some way. He advocated for green jobs, for the local GM plant, and for infrastructure. Yes, the very same things that Obama championed and that Ryan and the congressional Republicans publicly mocked as our nation hung in the balance.
What we have here is proof that Ryan doesn’t believe in the ideology he espouses. Check out a few of his votes/positions to see what he values (anti children, anti SCHIP, yes on denying medical care to those who can’t pay the co-pay, etc):
Replace Medicare with $9500/year private insurance payment. (Jul 2009)
Voted YES on the Ryan Budget: Medicare choice, tax & spending cuts. (Apr 2011)
Voted YES on repealing the “Prevention and Public Health” slush fund. (Apr 2011)
Voted NO on regulating tobacco as a drug. (Apr 2009)
Voted NO on expanding the Children’s Health Insurance Program. (Jan 2009)
Voted YES on overriding veto on expansion of Medicare. (Jul 2008)
Voted NO on giving mental health full equity with physical health. (Mar 2008)
Voted NO on Veto override: Extend SCHIP to cover 6M more kids. (Jan 2008)
Voted NO on adding 2 to 4 million children to SCHIP eligibility. (Oct 2007)
Voted NO on requiring negotiated Rx prices for Medicare part D. (Jan 2007)
Voted YES on denying non-emergency treatment for lack of Medicare co-pay. (Feb 2006)
Voted NO on increasing minimum wage to $7.25. (Jan 2007)
On Social Security, Enthusiastically promoted Bush’s semi-privatization scheme. (Apr 2012)
So, I’m not suggesting that Ryan’s not a social Darwninist. What I’m saying is that Paul Ryan’s actual behavior makes the case against conservatism. Even Paul Ryan knows the “ideas” he espouses when the cameras are rolling are no way to govern. The requests Ryan made did increase federal spending at times; they weren’t all just taking advantage of pre-existing policies. Back in 2001 (under a Republican president), he was all stimulus happy, and voted YES on $99 B economic stimulus: capital gains & income tax cuts. Perhaps he’s unaware that Obama’s stimulus included many tax cuts as well?
Paul Ryan’s pork loving for his district speaks to the notion that our Commonwealth is here to provide for the People. This is a strong liberal belief. Liberals believe that it is our moral duty to create an environment that equalizes opportunities, that looks out for the welfare of the People, including infrastructure – as in the money Ryan requested for his airport runway extension.
In action, then, Ryan also accepts this premise.
So why is he cutting funding for the poor, allegedly balancing the budget on the backs of hungry children (he doesn’t actually balance the budget, his budget wouldn’t balance the budget until 2030 and this is because what he cuts from the poor and the hungry and the elderly he gives to the very wealthy in tax cuts), and restricting liberty and freedom for women, minorities, and gay people?
Because Paul Ryan is no fiscal conservative. Paul Ryan is your generic House Tea Publican type – a radical social conservative whose “faith based” beliefs are rooted in Randian cruelty and power-over rather than the social justice advocated by Jesus. These “values” are used to justify and deflect being a Koch Brothers rubber stamp for corporate interests. Perhaps this explains his opposition to a separation between church and state and his growing similarity to another hodge-podge of inconsistencies masked by strong rhetoric, Sarah Palin.
Paul Ryan thinks it’s okay to grab pork for his district because it makes him look good when infrastructure is improved and he gets grants for corporations. Who does he ignore? Those without a voice, those deemed unworthy — those without a pocketbook to contribute to his campaign.
Paul Ryan’s hypocrisy highlights what’s wrong with the modern day Republican Party. He lies about taking money from the stimulus, he lies about his Medicare plan because he can’t get your support if he tells the truth, and he lies about the President’s plan — which is the actual fiscal conservative version of Medicare, Ryan leaves a million dollar plus trust off of his disclosures, and he wants to kill Social Security. Now the guy who is infamous for wanting to privatize Medicare using vouchers what would decline in value by the year is pretending that his plan would save Medicare. Ryan says he’s against federal spending, but he increases federal spending via pork requests.
Paul Ryan, like most congressional Republicans, doesn’t feel any responsibility to those most vulnerable in our society. Children, the elderly, the disabled, the poor – these are the targets of his “cuts”. He says he’s for work for welfare, but he voted no on National Service as a new social invention. He’s against civic duty, volunteerism and service? My Eisenhower Republican grandparents would not recognize this Republican Party.
Paul Ryan is the poster boy of the Congressional Republicans. They will tell you anything in order to sell you on their corporate giveaways. They are not honest about their beliefs, actions or values. These are not people who deserve to be taken seriously and if this is the best of the modern day Republican Party, Sarah Palin wasn’t the bottom. As Bill Maher said, “Somehow he’s the smartest guy in the party and she’s the dumbest woman on earth, but they agree on everything.”
It seems Republicans are so taken with images that the mere idea that Ryan has read a book makes him a “wonk”, never mind that he’s stuck in a protracted adolescent love of Ayn Rand and that were he a serious person, there are real philosophers he would have read and fallen in love with — Plato and Aristotle would have been a good start.
The other day Ryan pretended he was doing us a favor by avoiding getting too above our ability to comprehend things as an excuse for failing to be specific. He said, “I don’t want to get all wonky on you,” as if he could. He then proceeded to say that he hadn’t run the numbers yet. How can you be wonky if you haven’t run the numbers? True shades of Palin here, and further proof that a college education does not a smart person make. Of course, conservative ideology does not create critical thinkers by nature, because asking why, asking anything at all, is not encouraged.
Ryan is another paper tiger. Another “image” of a smart person. Remember how disgusted conservatives thought they were smearing Obama by calling him a professor? But now, just like Palin was their quasi rock star to Obama’s rock star, now they have their quasi professor. Oh, green monster, what you do to this party.
Just like Sarah Palin’s bridge to nowhere, Paul Ryan is a secret pork lover who blames President Obama for his own federal spending on camera.
If Ryan were a true reason devotee, he would have consistency in his values. But Paul Ryan stands for the exact same things Sarah Palin did — what used to be the fringe of neo-con, corporate-puppet social Darwinism, but is now the driving force of the Republican Party. Paul Ryan dons his smart guy hair and tells us that it’s time we had a serious debate about killing Social Security and we’re supposed to listen to him because he read Ayn Rand.
Republicans seem unaware that Ayn Rand is hardly the bastion of intellectual thought. Their guy is out there claiming serious wonk status because he’s a fanboy of the teenage boy equivalent of Twilight. Haters don’t sparkle, Ryan!
The Republican Party has gone Hollywood — each year, they pick another character under which to hide their agenda. In 2008, it was the pitbull hockey mom. In 2012, it’s the alleged policy wonk. Odd then that the pitbull and the wonk are both full of glaring inconsistencies, but when you pull the string, we are graced with the exact same talking points that benefit Big Daddy Koch Brothers.
Shrugged-hard pork lover Paul Ryan is the best of the House GOP? Dark days.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.