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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

And yet I'm the one they won't take seriously

by folkbum

Several things conspired to make last week's April Fools possible: One, I have student teachers this semester, and supervising their grading of papers takes significantly less time than actually grading the papers myself. Two, I still have very little voice, and thus my creative juices went into the typing, not the singing or whatnot. I had fun, and all of these fake blogs are available if you've ever wanted to start one of of your own.

And it's not like I expected anyone to take it for real (though this may have been in earnest); even the straight-up announcement was not that straight-up. But I was in fact trying to make some serious points, in particular about Paul Ryan his platform, such as it is. Yet the April-Foolsy nature of the project means I am not too bothered that those few conservatives who noted the campaign didn't actually address the substance that was there.

(Though I would like to know what of my writing Kevin Binversie thinks would make good ammo for the RNC.)

As Paul Ryan comes into his own in the GOP and declares his intentions to retire to a different state, it's getting clearer and clearer that he has no interest in serving the needs of his constituents, and instead is just saying whatever he needs to in order to get elected and pursue a path of deregulatory Randianism that enriches his wealthy friends at the expense of those who actually work for a living.

Don't believe me? Take a look at this paragraph from a recent speech of his that is getting a lot of attention (e.g.) from the right:
The drama that brought this creature [he means the Affordable Care Act] to life was unedifying ... part tragedy and part farce. Ethical categories went out the window. Never in history have the deliberations of Congress been subverted on this scale. The secrecy, the lack of transparency, the half-truths were stunning. The votes called at midnight ... the 2 and 3 thousand page bills members of Congress had no time to read before the votes ... the sordid backroom deals, the Cornhusker Kickback that shamed Nebraska, the Louisiana Purchase, the "Gator Aid" Medicare privilege for Florida, the additional Medicare dollars for states whose wavering representatives only yesterday were ferociously denouncing earmarks ... the federal judgeship dangled for one lawmaker's brother ... the raid on the Medicare piggy bank ... the lie that $250 billion for "doc fix" shouldn't count as a Health Care cost ... the double-counted deficit estimate scam that would land any accountant in jail ... the proposed Slaughter rule that Congressmen not record a vote on a bill their constituents hate, just "deem" it passed and vote on the amendments...and to complete the farce, the phony Executive Order pretending not to fund abortions when the Health Care bill, as "the supreme law of the land," does fund abortions. The level of political corruption to buy the votes for this debacle makes all past examples look penny ante by comparison.
There is not one sentence in this paragraph that isn't either a blatant falsehood or deeply hypocritical. To suggest that the "deliberations" on the health care bill that is now law were not transparent is absurd. This was the most debated, most over-hashed, most talk-about bill in recent memory. CSPAN ratings were through the roof. There was no line of the bill that was not public and posted and puzzled over long before any votes. Not like, say, the U.S.A.P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act, which of course Paul Ryan voted for without having read it. The health care bill? Come on. The Senate passed the bill three months before it was taken up in the house. If Paul Ryan didn't have time to read it, it's his own damn fault.

It's also remarkable that Ryan would lambast, for example, the "Cornhusker Kickback." Because when Ryan had the chance to vote to remove that provision, he voted no--just like the rest of his caucus. The "judgeship dangled" is of course a complete lie, according to the WND-approved judge who previously held the position.

I've written before about Ryan's hypocritical complaints about Medicare; the "doc fix" has been a separate bill for, literally, years; and Ryan is the only one who knows what he's talking about with that "scam" talk, as the non-partisan analysts all found nothing like it. And the "Slaughter Rule"? When Paul Ryan was voting on rules just like it, it was known as "deem and pass"--a decades-old procedure.

[Updated to add, because I can't believe I forgot it, that Paul Ryan voted for Medicare Part D, which, if there was ever a Congressional vote that was truly corrupt--I mean, read the story!--this was it. Ryan's got a lot of nerve to talk about bribery and corruption of process after he participated in that mess.]

And for abortion? Ryan seems to have bought into that lie, too. Here's the text of the bill:
(A) IN GENERAL- If a qualified health plan provides coverage of services described in paragraph (1)(B)(i) [i.e., ABORTIONS FOR WHICH PUBLIC FUNDING IS PROHIBITED], the issuer of the plan shall not use any amount attributable to any of the following for purposes of paying for such services.
You can believe Paul Ryan, or you can believe the text of the bill. Your call.

So here's the situation: Paul Ryan gives a lauded speech peppered with his own dishonesty and hypocrisy, and yet we are supposed to take him and his support seriously. Why? What possible value is there is puffing up a fabulist with a schoolboy crush on Ayn Rand? What makes him a more serious candidate that I would have been?

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