Sunday, August 12, 2012

Paul Ryan and today's GOP- Pushing Koch beats solving problems

Still in bemusement over the pick of Paul Ryan as Republican Vice-President. But it goes along with what gets you ahead in the 21st Century Republican Party- look convincing while giving empty talking points and kissing the right backsides.

Look at Ryan's "career", as outlined by the Journal-Sentinel in one of their numerous fawning pieces over the guy-
Key positions: Chairman of the House Budget Committee; member House Ways and Means Committee.

Campaigns: Elected to U.S. House of Representatives seven times since 1998

Prior work: Aide to U.S. Sen. Robert Kasten of Wisconsin, 1992; staff assistant, Empower America, 1993-1995; legislative director for U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas, 1995-1997; speechwriter for Jack Kemp vice-presidential campaign, 1996; consultant to Ryan Inc., 1998.

Education: Graduate of Joseph A. Craig High School in Janesville; BA, economics and political science from Miami University in Ohio, 1992.
Notice what's missing? How about ANY private-sector job experience based in Wisconsin? Paul Ryan's spent every one of his 20 post-college years in D.C-based right-wing jobs, where spin and political gain matter more than results and data. But somehow he's regarded as an expert in economics and budgeting while constantly touting the virtues and efficiencies of the private sector. How the fuck does he know what works in the real world? He's never had to deal with the consequences of failed decisions and policies like real people in the working world do, and he's certainly never adjusted his thinking to reflect the disastrous effects of the Reagan/Bush years on the middle class and our industrial economy.

But see, that doesn't matter in today's GOP, it's all about how you look, how you stick to the team's line, and how many rubes you can trick into thinking you have the answers. Purty Mouth Paulie looks good on TV and can spread his BS with that Dubya-esque smirk while not hesitating to let a fact or counter argument get in the way. So in that insular world, it really doesn't make a difference that economists such as UW's Menzie Chinn show that Ryan's budget only balances if you assume that the federal government drops spending on everything else that's not Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security by 2/3rds. This would mean major cuts to roads, defense, food stamps, college assistance and research, aid to states, and pretty much anything else.

And if you follow Ryan's budget figures, it assumes our economy will strongly grow despite all of this assistance being cut and passed off to states and localities (making them raise taxes). This is because apparently things will be different from the last 30 years, where tax cuts haven't trickled down to the public, and the Reagan/Bush policies never grew the economy as strong and as evenly along wage classes as it did in the 1990s when tax rates on the rich were at their highest. This also assumes the U.S. is different than all the European countries who are in recession right now due to austerity measures, and ignores the reality of the last 18 months in America, where GOP-led government funding cuts have reduced GDP growth by more than 1%.

But people Paul Ryan don't care about the economy's effects on us (you know, the people whose taxes pay their salaries), he works as the front man for the corporate campaign contributors who only want extra profits and power, without regard of what happens to the rest of the country. For proof, check out who starts showing up as one of the biggest D.C. Congressional backers of Koch policy around 1:45 of this video (from the excellent movie "Koch Brothers Exposed".)

Remember Ryan's time at "Empower America" after Russ Feingold beat Bob Kasten in 1992? Empower America is now Freedom Works, headed up by Dick Armey with major Koch money, and a notorious Astroturf Tea Party group. In fact, Freedom Works is so Astroturf and D.C-led that local Tea Party groups in Oshkosh, Sheboygan, and Racine all distanced themselves from Freedom Works' "Tea Party Express" support of Mark Neumann in Tuesday's U.S. Senate primary.

Dick Armey's Tea Party Express being representative of Tea-bagging Wisconsinites is sort of like how Paul Ryan represents himself as some independent Midwest guy from Janesville when he's really an oligarchy PR man whose worked his entire adult life in Washington, isn't it?

Then again, the REAL GOP theme song in 2012 isn't some sappy country flag-waving anthem. No, it is this tune, which Trent Reznor wrote during the Bush era.

But when you're today's GOP, and you have the Faux News and D.C. propaganda echo chamber to give your garbage an uncritical airing, you can trick enough stupid, fearful and cynical people into following along. Unless we make lifetime grifters like Paul Ryan and the D.C. cocktail party-media that enables him have to confront the failed results of their beliefs and policies.

This is our job for the next 3 months, and the next several years as we continue to dig out from the messes caused by partnerships such as Koch/Ryan. And I have full confidence that we will succeed.

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