Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Gawker's Adam Weinstein is one of many people who think Paul Ryan is making a 2016 move, and, in disgust, he predicts it's going to work:
... Ezra Klein accurately described the Ryan/Murray plan as a "mini-budget deal." ... it reaffirms that our government ... cannot actually do any new tricks -- it can only, at best, agree to keep in place the pro-market anti-safety-net minimalist performance-art-as-policy that it's executed in years past.

But in an atmosphere where our expectations are so vulgarly low ... a "mini-budget deal" appears as a Marshall Plan, and its architects are as statesmen.

Say that aloud: "Paul Ryan, statesman." He's probably saying it, now, to himself on the House elevator. It probably forms the whispery thesis of his soon-to-be-published book....

It really is a remarkable achievement, doubly so if you're the kind of person who doesn't remember that Paul Ryan is an Ayn Rand groupie who not long ago declared open war on Grandma, decrying her and minorities, and children, and mothers as "takers," not "makers." That he wanted to kill Social Security and Medicare, then denied it and falsely claimed it was the current president who wanted to kill Medicare, then tried to kill them again.

Now he wants to be a great compromiser. Oh, my! How courageous! Won't he be savaged by red-meat conservatives and tea partiers for working with Democrats? Isn't that a huge risk for the young congressman? But in standing up to the ideologues of his own party, he shows us that he is a new Paul Ryan, a grownup, serious, a real adult in the room....
Weinstein thinks Ryan can sail right into the White House on this. I'm skeptical. I agree that Ryan will probably be the mainstream-press mancrush of the next couple of weeks -- but can that last?

The heart of the MSM still beats for Chris Christie. And Scott Walker hasn't really started putting the moves on the scribes yet.

I think 2016 could be the year when Republicans have too many Koch-friendly ideological wolves wearing the sheep's clothing of whatever they're going to call "compassionate conservatism" this time around. It never occurred to me that there'd be multiple candidates trying to take this route to victory, but that seems to be the case. (And I suppose this list could include could add Rand Paul, he of the cockamamie libertarian plan to save Detroit with tax cuts.)

If one of these guys begins to be treated as the grown-ups' candidate by the mainstream media, and if that candidate is acceptable to the GOP power brokers, then we'll probably have our McCain/Romney, with Ted Cruz and Rick Santorum and other crazies left to vie for the table scraps. But if several of these phony right-centrists run effective campaigns, could they cancel one another out? Could that be how we get a wide-open race, and thus a victory by a 2016 version of Barry Goldwater, the kind of nominee the voter base really wants?

Cross your fingers and hope for that.


Meanwhile, as for the deal itself, I find myself thinking that BooMan has a point:
If I were a congressional Democrat under orders to vote for this deal, I would tell the leadership to stuff it. It's obvious that the Republican leadership is desperate to avoid another government shutdown, and it appears that Speaker Boehner will have to rely heavily on Democratic votes to pass this budget. If it doesn't do anything for people who have been out of work for a year or more, then the bill is unconscionable and should not be supported. Even from a cynical political point of view, it's better to force the Republicans into another government shutdown than it is to impotently criticize them for their callousness.

If the Dems can't help desperate people during the holiday season when the GOP is eager to make a deal, then they can't help them at all. If the House Republicans want this budget, let them vote for it. If they want progressive votes, let them come to us with an offer. This deal isn't good enough.
But wouldn't the Democrats get the blame for causing a shutdown, or near-shutdown? Yeah, but it shouldn't matter, should it? Republicans shut down the government in October and their poll numbers plummeted -- briefly. The Obamacare rollout happened and the entire country totally forgot about the shutdown. Why couldn't the hit to the Democrats be similarly evanescent? And why couldn't a shutdown instigated by Democrats be blamed on "Congress" rather than one party?

I know, I know -- because that's not how it works. The rules are different for the two parties. Republicans get endless do-overs from the voters; Democrats are permanently blamed for everything any Democrat (or liberal or leftist) did in the past half-century. Unpopular deeds by Republicans in Congress are blamed on Congress; unpopular deeds by Democrats are the Democratic Party's fault.

Is it that bad, really? I'm thinking, Screw it. Test the premise. Demand more. Too bad that won't happen.


Victor said...

I'm starting to hear that the Republicans are getting nervous about hacking unemployment - especially during the holiday season.

The scary thing is, what will the Democrats give back for an extension of UI?

Grung_e_Gene said...

"Ryan’s selection sent a jolt of electricity, and the conservative base, including myself, were energized by it. In one week, he’s become a national sex symbol." Sean Hannity

aimai said...

Does anyone really believe voters value things like "had his name on a budget deal?" People barely remember names like Ryan and Romney once they are out of the headlines. When Ryan runs again "I got a stop gap budget bill through congress" is going to rank somewhere below "I like Icefishing" as reasons Ryan will give for being a good choice for President.

Aunt Snow said...

It's not for nothing Charles Pierce calls him the Zombie-Eyed Granny-Starver.

Steve M. said...

I agree, Aimai -- it matters only for the amount of media swooning it generates. The less crazy Republicans will take their cues from the media when assessing "electability."