Ross Douthat and Stand Collender wonder why Paul Ryan is acting like a fan of Ayn Rand.
Repeatedly Harwood presses him on whether the party needs to change to address the concerns of the blue-collar Republicans who are voting for Trump. And every time, as The Week’s James Pethokoukis pointed out afterward, Ryan simply returns to a 1980s-era message: cut spending, cut taxes, open markets, and all will be well.
He neglects to add that the sun rises in the East. Ryan is an absolutely rigid small government supply sider ideologue. He has never managed to hide this (and rarely tried).
But Douthat is sure that he is a reformicon in his heart and just froze when asked because Trump’s rise has caused him to panic (I am not exaggerating ” the tendency is to freeze, like mice under a hawk’s shadow, and hope that stillness alone can save you from the talons.
For an unfortunate case study, in this year of Donald Trump’s rebellion against the Republican Party as we’ve known it, look no further than the speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan.”)
I complain after the jump.
Douthat claims that this is true in spite of the alleged facts that
[Ryan] is an intelligent, principled, ambitious, and effective political operator, with a clear vision for the party that he helps to lead.
That vision is close to the worldview of his late mentor, the Republican congressman Jack Kemp.
I note that Jake Kemp was also Bruce Bartlett’s mentor. By Douthat’s logic Ryan=Kemp and Bartlett=Kemp so Ryan=Bartlett. That would be the Bartlett who just tweeted “Paul Ryan is creating a budget crisis this year for the purpose of making himself the wanker presidential nominee.”
Douthat further argues that “[Ryan] spent the time between his months on the Romney ticket and his ascent to the speakership in conversations with antipoverty activists, on a Kempian quest for a new, less polarizing welfare reform.”
In fact, Ryan’s budgets leave almost no money for non defense discretionary spending. The welfare reform necessary to free money for his huge tax cuts for the rich (and refusal to cut Social Security or Medicare for 10 years) would make Newt Gingrich look like Bernie Sanders. Douthat’s position is that public relations gestures count for more than actual policy proposals.
Douthat also wrote that Ryan is “principled”. those principles are consistent with extraordinary dishonesty even for a politician. What he means is that Ryan is a passionate ideologue and devoted to supply sider principles. Then he is surprised that Ryan has no time for reformicons like Douthat and prefers Trump to Clinton.
The Bartlett tweet which I mentioned linked to a Stan Collender article which argued that Ryan must be aiming for the 2016 presidential nomination. The evidence is that he refuses to work with Democrats to bypass the Freedom caucus fanatics. Collander asserts that this must be because he wants to appeal to delegates at the Cleveland convention. The fact that Ryan is a right wing fanatic himself is not considered relevant.