House Speaker Paul Ryan announced on Wednesday that he won’t seek re-election to his Wisconsin First Congressional District seat . Facing a serious challenge from two Democrats—Randy Bryce and Cathy Myers —he may have worried that he couldn’t win re-election. But he certainly knows that the Democrats may win a majority of House seats in November, which would mean that he would lose the Speaker’s gavel. The 48-year old Ryan is one of a record number of Republican incumbents, many from once-safe GOP districts, who recently decided to retire rather than risk defeat.
Great article right up until the end, when the author veers way off course.
The R-party has been incredibly successful, in case Mr Dreirer hadn’t noticed.
They dictate the terms of debate and policy, they’ve moved the Overton Window way to the right, they hold more elected seats than at any time in 90 years, they totally took over my state government in a decade and Trump just flipped it from blue to red. It could be argued that by consolidating their ideological range into far right only, they’ve solidified an unmistakable messaging platform that started with St Ronnie: Government is bad, taxes are too high, non-white/non-christians are inferior criminal welfare cheats, our military must be worshipped.
Meanwhile, 37% of Americans believe that the D-party stands for anything. Am I only one noticing that the Paul Ryan’s of the world have been the political winners of the last four decades, and that the D-Party has been forced to put up candidates who sound like more and more like Republicans (“super predators, welfare reform, fill those prisons, RomneyCare, grand bargain, catfood commission, AUMF, Yessir Mr Saban…Zuckerberg…Dimon”)?
He got his and is now running for the hills as fast as he can, like all cowards do.
The press says that these Republicans are not going to run for re-election, that is true. They are missing the fact that in retiring while still in office, they receive a life-long pension. So they are picking our pockets on their way out the door.
Ryan was labeled a policy “wonk” by the media. The media’s complicity in his efforts were always outrageous, but selling soap always comes first…
I’m with you Skeptic Tank.
This year may determine if we enter full blown fascism . .
The procession of scurrying Rats fleeing this “Sinking Stinking Ship of Fools” will only increase from here, now that the #2 in succession to the Presidency has grabbed all the cheese he’ll need, and made for the exit.
Excellent, comprehensive piece Peter Dreier----- thank you!
Paul Ryan leaving this (hopefully) sinking ship left me giddy in spite of the potential blizzard forecast for Wisconsin.
Peter Dreier writes:
“The mainstream media routinely give Ryan credit for being a serious budget guru and social policy expert.”
The promotion of this myth is still in full force as evidenced by this excerpt from a nauseating USA Today headline opinion piece yesterday:
“Our country is jettisoning adulthood and wonks like Paul Ryan. Out: sober and judicious. In: loud, obnoxious and the social dynamics of the nursery.”
Anybody else hate the word “wonk”? It usually sounds alarm bells for me.
Check out the video at the end of this piece by Ruth Coniff from 2015. http://progressive.org/dispatches/paul-ryan-6-reasons-everything-wrong-gop/
Ruth writes at the end of the article that “Ryan is both a proponent of radical rightwing ideology and a careerist”.
Re: Ryan as “careerist”----- I’m sure he has a secure spot thanks to Diane Hendricks, the Koch Brothers and more:
“He’s headed for profitable pastures. Ryan’s role in passing the massive Republican tax cut has made him a hero to moneyed interests just about everywhere. After 20 years of serving corporate interests in the public sector, Ryan is now poised to cash in like few elected officials before him.”
“Cash in” indeed !
Compared to our retirement plans. the Congressional pension plan mentioned by one poster is indeed lucrative, however, it is chump change compared to the multi-million dollar annual salary Ryan’s K Street lobbying job will pay, not to mention the other corporate opportunities the revolving door affords him.
You might want to give this a listen----an interesting take by Robin Corey:
Corey Robin, interviewed on Democracy Now !, is viewing Ryan and the GOP through a 20th century prism whereby it would have taken formal legislation to dismantle Obamacare, Social Security, and other “domestic programs”.
Ryan and the GOP undermined Obamacare to the extent that it is now collapsing of its own weight in many states…no legislation needed.
December’s inequality exacerbation act disguised as tax reform subjects Social Security and other domestic programs to a “chained consumer price index”, a huge cut that keeps on cutting with each passing year. Record gubmit debt and deficits that result from the tax cuts will provide the contrived crisis that corporate politicians need to make additional cuts to Social Security, Medicare and other domestic programs.
Robin’s theory that “Ryan failed to fullfill…” is fake news. Within the context of 21st century political strategy. Ryan has accomplished everything he set out to and his Koch financiers are very pleased with him.
Not to mention that the GOP Congress holding up the confirmation of judges during the Obama years, followed by widespread stacking of all federal courts with young, right wing judges, many of whom will still be on the bench during the 2060s, creates a dynamic whereby it won’t matter who controls Congress in the future.
The tax cuts give the 1% all the money they need to challenge any legislation they don’t like in courts where right wing judges will overturn whatever legislation the 1% doesn’t like. Although preventing Obama from making a SCOTUS appointment followed by the Gorsuch coup was the most high profile GOP judicial appointment, it is just the tip of a huge iceberg that Trump’s 24/7 smokescreen and media complicity confine to the sidelines.
While I agree with you’re listing of repug. successes, you fail to acknowledge that they achieved these results by cheating. Purging the voter rolls, gerrymandering the districts, and vote theft through corrupt machines and machine owners. This to me is not success, it’s criminal.
Paul is very corrupt but not stupid! Paul knows he has probably very little or no chance at re-election so is hedging his bets by saving his pension and no doubt will be a highly paid bribery, lobbyist
Perhaps i digress, but i find myself gagging on the cited book’s editor Cass Sunstein, and one of the contributing writers his wife Samantha Power. These are two of the Democrats who have done so much to turn the Democratic Party into a giant nothing-burger with the same central goal as the Republican party, as cited in this quote from the linked article:
“The central goal of the Republican agenda,” Balkin writes, “… is to deliver benefits to the donor class”.
The march to the right by the Democratic party over the past 40 years, is one of the engines that paved the road for the rise of Donald Trump. The book you cite, and all of the intellectual authors of the sell-out of the Democratic Party, will never acknowledge their own important part in this ugly story.
We need a genuine opposition party, a genuine party of the people’s interests against those of “the donor class,” or indeed there will be no stopping the slide toward demagoguery and authoritarianism in the USA.
Well, good riddance.
The article’s perplexing. Liberal Republicans? With Lincoln, perhaps, or does Dreier imagine that this applies to someone like Nelson Rockefeller? Surely such a term merits an explanation, if not an apology of some sort to somebody, though I am not sure whom.
The two parties have engaged in a sort of “race to the bottom,” each competing to see how obnoxiously it can betray the population for its funders, how little popularity it must retain to remain firmly embedded in the body politic and sucking.
But dissent within the Republican Party has been far more successful than within the Democrats these last few decades. “Dissent” does not mean that each of us like the results, nor that the dissenter is altogether correct about everything. Republican orthodoxy produced Jeb Bush as a candidate; Republican voters rejected him, and he stayed rejected. The Democratic party rigged its nomination to present a rejected candidate, then successfully argued in hearings that it does not have to elect a candidate in a democratic process. Dreier argues here that there is no room for alternate opinion in the Republican Party, but it is Sanders who is drummed out of his candidacy and resigns himself to campaigning for the thieves, and it is Elizabeth Warren who first acknowledges that the Democratic primary was of course rigged, then backs out quickly after whatever communique might have changed her mind. And it is Rand Paul, a Republican of different ideas, if not often particularly satisfactory ones, who has filibustered against domestic surveillance, the nomination of John Brennan. And the odds that Seth Rich died accidentally remain really very low indeed.
Dreier imagines or wants to pretend that the Republicans are somehow losing. Yet they have control of both houses of legislature and the executive, and with a very conservative Supreme Court. These controls wash back and forth because lies are exposed more readily when a candidate is in office. But all this means is that the current Dem pack will make some gains and continue to stonewall to avoid prosecution. It’s good to see Kucinich return to the field in Ohio, but I have yet to see another reason for optimism within the party.
It would be much better if Mitch McConnell decided to step down. McConnell has played a much bigger role in why the Congress no longer works for the good of the country. All McConnell cares about is Republican control and pushing the country to the far right but the Senate is supposed to be the institution that deals with the various different views of the country. The House is expected more to go from one extreme to the other but it is the Senate that is supposed work for everybody. Needing a 60 vote majority is supposed to make if very difficult to pass something without fairly wide agreement. But McConnell side-stepped that one to get the tax cut for the wealthy passed. He refused to allow a vote on a Supreme Court nominee of Obama even though it is the job of Senate to approve such nominees. After Obama was elected in 2008 it was McConnell who said the goal of the Republicans was a failed presidency. McConnell has refused to elect the Senate vote on the war on terror allowing presidents to conduct this war on ISIS without any consent from the Senate. McConnell needs to be replaced by a Republican willing to find solutions to problems. Someone realizes that a Senator is supposed to work for the overall good of the United States, not simply a political party.
Cheating only matters when it helps you. Thus, you list further R-party successes.
Politics is a dirty game. The D-party tends to bring a knife to gunfights.
I’ve had enough of all these scum. A pox on both their houses. They’ve sold out to the biggest bidders and Ziocons
Ryan worships at the altar of novelist Ayn Rand, the philosopher of you’re-on-your-own selfishness, whose books have been required reading for his Congressional staffers.<<
This would be the same Ayn Rand who died destitute after accepting years of social security and Medicare.
OBJECTIVELY, one might assume her to have been a huge hypocrite.