Never Trumper Charlie Sykes recently did a podcast interview with Paul Ryan. I’d rather jam chopsticks into my eardrums than listen to the whole thing, but a transcript excerpt posted at The Bulwark site was interesting in that it underscored what a dumb, pants-pissing ostrich Ryan still is.
(DIGRESSION: I know that, like valued commenter Baud, ostriches don’t wear pants, and the thing about ostriches burying their heads in the sand to avoid danger is bullshit. What they allegedly do to ward off danger when unable to fight or flee is freeze in place in hopes that the danger will pass, which is what Ryan has been doing since 2015. So yeah, I’ll stick with the ostrich metaphor, despite the unfairness to ostriches.)
In 2018, Ryan listed all sorts of excuses for bailing from Congress as speaker, including that he wanted to spend more time with his kids, disgust with “identity politics” and a desire to “continue his work on curing poverty” (granny starver’s self-identified hobby, for real).
But observers could be forgiven for believing that Ryan left because he was fed up with being bedeviled by Trump and the Trump crazies in the House GOP caucus. Sounds more plausible than “curing poverty,” anyway. So, after helping to push the massive tax cut for the wealthy over the finish line, Ryan called it quits after serially failing to stand up to his tormenters.
As awful as Ryan is, he was perceptive enough to recognize the existential threat Trump was, not only to the country, but more importantly, in Ryan’s view, to the GOP and conservative movement Ryan aspired to lead. In his extremely defensive interview with Sykes, Ryan explained that his impulse to protect that movement was why he accepted a seat on the Fox News board. He understands the network is a GOP mouthpiece and wanted to have a role in shaping its future.
Ryan was deposed by Dominion attorneys in the latest lawsuit filing, and he told them he advised Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch to stop allowing TV hosts to broadcast lies, quit fomenting January 6 conspiracy theories and generally break with the Trump bullshit circus. But Fox News was afraid of pissing off their pro-Trump audience, so they disregarded Ryan’s counsel.
In other words, another GOP institution that thought it could control Trump and the Trump crazies to get what it wants (tax cuts, deregulation and a FedSoc-captured judiciary) was taken over and hollowed out by Trump and the Trump crazies. Even Rupert “Logan Roy” Murdoch couldn’t stop Donald “Everglades Python” Trump from unhinging his jaw and swallowing the GOP propaganda network whole. That may prove to be a multibillion-dollar failure on Murdoch’s part.
What never seems to have occurred to Ryan (or Murdoch, or McConnell, et al.) is that if a criminal and his deranged sycophants have taken over your party/network and are destroying your brand, you can’t just freeze like a frightened ostrich and hope the monsters go away. You have to stop them yourself. No one else is going to do it for you — you have to take action, or things will get worse.
Clueless, cowardly dweebs like Ryan are still frozen seven years later. And it looks like they’ll keep right on lying on the ground, in a puddle of their own urine, until the monster finally gets around to eating them.
Some Democrats are exquisitely sensitive to any criticism of the party and its leaders, and I fully get why — when criticism is taken to an extreme, you can undermine candidates and end up with a fake cowpoke president who invades the wrong country after a terrorist attack or get stuck with a malignant, corrupt narcissist who lies nonstop and attempts to blow up the republic on his way out the door. That’s bad!
But the upside of our self-criticism tendency is that we sometimes identify and address real problems instead of ignoring them like an Ryanostrich. As maddening and catastrophic as it can sometimes be, I’d much rather be us than them because we can improve.
I, on the other hand, do bury my head in the sand to avoid danger.
By “curing poverty,” I think he meant curing the poor before eating them.
Brava, Betty. You go get them, girl!
“Curing poverty”? What, like it’s a disease? (Yes, they do believe that.)
Gimme a break. The only poverty Ryan has any interest in curing is his own (perceived) poorness.
@Baud: I was working under the belief that if just about everyone was poor, then it would be “normal” and thus no cure would be needed………
I’d like it if we could recall all the starlings and return them to England whence they came, but it’s too fooking late for that and I think the Republican Party is now a flock of starlings.
anyone else LOL at ryan’s threat to not attend RNC if trump was nominated
The Moar You Know
@anon: it is a LOL because Trump will get the nom.
ETA: won’t be DeSantis because he looks, acts, and sounds like the kind of pissypants dweeb that GOP voters used to smash into lockers in high school.
someone tell Ryan that letting poor people die doesn’t really count as “curing” poverty
Looks like Biden will get his first veto. Manchin and Tester (not sure about any others) are siding with the GOP to overturn a Department of Labor rule on ESG.
Anonymous At Work
Found a soundtrack to the interview:
Da da da-dum Brave Brave Sir Robin…
Dorothy A. Winsor
@The Moar You Know: DeSantis is repulsive to me, but I’m worried he doesn’t come across that way to normies
Anonymous At Work
@Baud: Will Schumer schedule a vote? CRA doesn’t allow a filibuster but I don’t think it mandates a vote be scheduled.
@Anonymous At Work: Vote is right now. I think the CRA does mandate a vote
ETA: Schumer probably had some leeway as to when to do the vote, but I think he figured he’d just get it over with.
Good essay, Betty.
Since I didn’t know what you were talking about…
It’s ok, neither do I.
ETA: Sounds like Dems are pushing for deregulation! That’s why the GOP is the working man’s party.
“What do you think of children, Mr. Ryan?”
”It’s hard to say, so much depends on how they’re cooked.”
DeSantis (or his ghostwriter) wrote a thumpingly stupid “Why I Took On Disney” op-ed in the WSJ. He displays a verbal tic we hear a lot in Florida, using “woke” interchangeably with “cultural Marxism.” The M word makes lots of Florida residents bristle like triggered pit bulls, but I’m not sure how much resonance it has outside the state.
Sad state of affairs that as cowardly, dissembling, and generally clueless as Ryan was (and apparently still is), he’s STILL better than what followed him.
Ceci n est pas mon nym
So it looks like Fox painted themselves nicely into a damned if you do, damned if you don’t corner. Tell the truth and you lose the Krazy Kaucus and all your viewers they control; tell lies and you lose $1B in a lawsuit (and then the truth comes out anyway).
There’s probably enough cash in the bank to weather the lawsuit, but perhaps the subsequent loss of ratings will kill them eventually. A guy can hope.
@Betty Cracker: “cultural Marxism” makes me bristle but not in the way you’re thinking. It’s basically a neo-Nazi code phrase as far as I’m concerned.
Sigh. Every day I start the Bulwark podcast, just in case there’s insight into Rs that I might find useful. Most days i can only stand about 15 minutes, tho’ when Tim Miller is on it’s much longer. Sykes is fairly clear-eyed about how badly fucked his former party is … but utterly lacks perspective about how bad it was fucking the rest of us when his favored politicians were in charge.
Scott Walker. Ron Johnson. Paul Ryan. He still imagines that there existed a time when these guys were worthy of respect, and he’s dismissive of anybody who is or has ever been a Democrat. Fuck him.
I turned off the Ryan interview when the two of them agreed that “both sides” are into performative politics, in the context of Marjorie The Goon. Yes, they said. She’s very bad, and being that idiotic for clicks and giggles is very bad, and BOTH SIDES have this problem.
No, you assholes. We do not.
It makes no sense to me. The people will means of culture?
Ceci n est pas mon nym
Did you ever hear of Bush the Lesser’s “Texas Miracle”? Identify at-risk minority students and get them to leave school, then somehow not count them as dropouts. “We go from 1000 freshmen to 300 seniors with no dropouts. Amazing!”
You’re just not thinking like a Republican.
@Ceci n est pas mon nym: That is a time-honored practice in many schools. They are called “push-outs”, get enough seat time to get the school financial allotment and push them out.
@Betty Cracker: Digby agrees that DeSantis can be viewed as the second coming of Richard Nixon. I still believe Trump will off him and dump his carcass in Lake Mangonia, but DeSantis’ anti-wokism is right in line with Nixon’s silent majority.
@Ceci n est pas mon nym: They did not have go single out Dominion. They could have had people foaming at the mouth and screaming the word fraud a million times without tying it to the name of a specific company that produces electronic voting machines. I don’t watch Fox, but I saw enough clips to wonder what the heck they were thinking when they singled out Dominion by name. That’s insane, because it was obvious even at the time what the potential consequences could be.
@Ceci n est pas mon nym:
You’re not thinking like Baud:
“to treat food, tobacco, etc. with smoke, salt, etc. in order to preserve it: cured meats”
So I take it Ryan is disgusted by and openly calling out the Identity Politics of White Nationalists/Christian Nationalists, Men’s Rights Activists, Proud Boys, etc….
That whole ostrich stick their heads in the sand? I thought it was more about looking for weapons of mass destruction – still looking for it, right? Right? Still haven’t found it, eh? Our veterans are so pleased to go off to war and come back with nuthin.
@Ceci n est pas mon nym: Indeed. Sadly it isn’t only Republicans who do this kind of shit. Back when I lived in Santa Cruz, over the hill in San Jose (generally a blue city), their “solution” to homelessness was often to arrest someone for some dumb shit like “sitting on the sidewalk” and then give them a one-way bus ticket to Santa Cruz. Ta-da, no more homeless person! It was gross. And our town was way smaller and simply didn’t have the resources. At the time I lived there, the population was between 50,000 and 55,000, whereas San Jose at the time was just under a million. Fuckers.
West of the Rockies
I take enjoyment in the fact that as strong as Trump and his legions of morons are within Republican politics, their strength and numbers have decreased. They can still cause havoc, but now it’s mostly against their own wretched kind.
@UncleEbeneezer: White male Christian is the default setting for people like Ryan. It is by definition “normal” and therefore policies that address or better the “normal” case cannot be viewed as favoring “special interests” or as identity based politics. It’s the same trick people like Thomas Edsall pull when they refer to the “working class” — which is by their definition, not female, not African American or Latino. The rest of us don’t matter and for all intents and purposes might as well be invisible.
the Zombie-Eyed Granny Starver is just a more polite model of the GOP’s cruel, inhuman archetype. His policies, if enacted, would quickly immiserate tens of millions of people with no upside for anyone who isn’t already wealthy. And he wouldn’t lose a wink of sleep over it. He’s just as much of a monster as any of them, no matter how hard he poses as a genial family man who geeks out over budgets. He’s scum. Pure scum.
@Turgidson: Good thing he married a wealthy woman so he didn’t have to work as a waiter for his whole career.
@Dorothy A. Winsor: My RWNJ sister adores him.
It’s not just a matter of standing up to Trump and his ilk in the Republican Party. There’s an entire toxic ecosystem (a Swamp) Paul Ryan-esque Republicans are beholden to even if they tried to take on Trump.
There are billionaires and their various “grassroots” and donor networks that can fund a primary challenger to any elected Republican that gets out of line or bully the party by threatening to withhold money.
Right-wing media which seems to be as responsible for setting Republican policy priorities, as any Republican official.
And their conspiracy theory minded voters who won’t tolerate politicians that aren’t telling them the lies they want to hear.
If the Swamp wants Republican politicians to back Trump, because they think Trump’s the winning bet, Republican politicians can either set their careers on fire doing what they feel is right or go along with the swamp monsters to stay in power.
Unfortunately this isn’t a problem for elected Republicans. They win way too many elections.
I still feel about Trump and DeSantis as I have for months. For the Republican primary voters, it’s like a choice between buying a ticket to see Elvis or buying one to see an Elvis impersonator.
It’s Real Politics 101– if you hire thugs and killers to be your enforcers, they will decide that you are unnecessary and take over. See Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest. The situation will sort itself out in the long run, one way or another, after a lot of blood has been spilled.
@Hoodie: eh Richard Nixon had more charm and a better sense of humor actually…
To be fair to the birdies in question, nervous mother ostriches will often stick their heads in the burrow/nest to be sure their eggs are OK.
@BenCisco 🇺🇸🎖️🖥️♦️: Ryan surely lacks moral courage. He saw the party train wreck coming and opted to drop out of his leadership role rather than try to stop it. He couldn’t stand the heat, so he got out of the kitchen.
It was a smart move careerwise, but still a selfish one. I guess Ryan is hoping that if he keeps his mouth shut he could get a chance to pick up the pieces in 2028.
What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?
@Dorothy A. Winsor: IDK. My sister is something of a normie who lives in West Michigan, though generally votes the right way. She thinks Desantis is terrible. His “cruelty is the point and I’ll do everything I can to make it blatantly obvious that the cruelty is the point” schtick does not play well outside FL is my opinion.
@Ksmiami: True. If the Nixon Kennedy debate had not been televised, he would have probably won in 1960.
@What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?: As awful as Trump the human is, he is familiar with the celebrity Schtick… something DeSantis completely doesn’t have. In fact DeSantis is just like that angry vice principal that nobody likes. Utterly charmless and cruel.
@Geminid: Was it smart? Ryan is like the German artists who fled to remote compounds and still made art as Nazis rose to power. They didn’t do bad things themselves, they just put their heads down and stayed out of the way. In their case, however, it’s easier to see how that might have been a morally neutral choice — even if they weren’t brave they were trying to avoid being murdered.
Ryan’s excuse, basically, is that while he doesn’t want to sully his own character or hands by catering to crazies, he still prefers that people who don’t share his reservations on that score stay in power.
I still don’t know what “woke” really means to right wingers, so I just substitute in “darkie” and it all becomes clear.
Also, Schumer might have gotten unanimous consent to move on a few more judges this week in return for this vote. I’ll take the trade.
This, this, this.
I’m already (metaphorically) beating my various RWNJ relatives up about it. “Do you want this one-term loser to lose again, losingly? Well then you’d better SPEAK. UP.”
We’re not asking you to (gasp) (horror) elect Democrats, GOP. We’re asking you to pick up the fucking phone and tell your current R reps to get their shit together.
Kinda hard to say without proper hindsight. It isn’t ‘smart’ if he was playing for a shot in 2024. Should voters reject Trumpism, people like himself and Liz Cheney will have a much stronger narrative to portray themselves in 2028.
Should voters not reject Trumpism in 2024, well… we will have bigger things to worry about than Ryan’s career choices.
Steve in the ATL
Just landed in the Florida panhandle. I assume this trip will end in my grisly death at the hands of a right wing nut job with multiple guns, a heavily tattooed tweaker, or the governor’s storm troopers when they find a banned book on my kindle. Not worried about gators. Anyway, it’s been a pleasure knowing you all! Well, most of you. Ok, some of you.
The Kropenhagen Interpretation
I just finally allowed my job to convince me to start investing in a retirement fund. I have major problems with these types of retirement funds. All these jobs trying to turn me into a little mini-capitalist. Now I’m finding out they can’t consider climate impact and a couple D senators are joining Republicans to keep it that way? I’m pulling out.
Also, too, the rule would have allowed this practice, not mandated it. So much for small government conservatism…
@Steve in the ATL: grisly, unless you’re anticipating being taken out by a bear. (I so seldom get to jump in with this kind of helpful information.)
Steve in the ATL
@dnfree: d’oh—my brain is already addled from being here! Correction made.
ETA: dressing for dinner now. Sleeveless RonJon shirt, jorts, and flip flops. Looking for a place serving ice cold Bud Lite Limearita!
@JMG: but…but what if *real* Elvis keeps costing you elections?
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@Steve in the ATL: You’re unwindulaxin’, dude!
Curing poverty is simple. First you find the cause, which is of course, laziness. The cure then, is to motivate the lazy, with the whip, the stick, or in Ryan’s case, by eliminating the programs and subsidies the poor rely on to survive.
I’m just gonna guess the interviewer didn’t ask Ryan what, specifically, he was doing to cure poverty.
The funny thing is that all Murdoch controlled news entities spouts lies in order to placate and appeal to the widest possible idiot right wing audience. They don’t fear their audience. They are in the business of lying to them for maximum profit.
@Barbara: Ryan was just smart in terms of self interest. Between Trump and the ascendant radicals, Ryan probably could not have beaten the Freedom Caucus and their allies, but he could have gone down fighting. Instead he decided that discretion was the better part of valor. Ryan also may have anticipated the blue wave of 2018.
I think a lot of establishment Republicans in and out of office are keeping their heads down the way Ryan is. They are waiting the radicals out, hoping that once the Democrats thrash their candidates for a few election cycles the cranks will become more pragmatic (in an electoral sense, not in policy). Some may lose interest altogether.
That’s when Ryan could step in and try to put the train back on the track. He’ll have been a null factor for most of a decade, but the advantage there is he won’t have made enemies.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
Thinking of two scenes from the first year of the trump White House: When they ordered all the pizza and Bud Lite to celebrate the death of ObamaCare before McCain decided he hated trump (and McConnell) more than Obama, and the Janesville Eddie Haskell gushing about “Mishter Prezhident, without your magnifishent leadership….” when they passed the tax cuts
@Hoodie: Nixon worked for the Republican Party tirelessly, relentlessly, Nixon-like, and collected a giant mountain of chits, which used ultimately to get himself the nomination.
I don’t see DeSantis having paid his dues nationally, even a little. Nobody liked Nixon and they still made him VP and then president (after that Goldwater excursion that eventually led to Reagan). I suspect nobody likes DeSantis and so he’s also got to overcome his Ted Cruz-adjacent personality to succeed nationally. What’s he done, other than torment half of Florida?
My $0.02 anyway.
I wonder if a few things are going on, here.
Both Manchin and Tester are up for re-election in 2024. Tester has announced for the cycle, Manchin has not, to my awareness.
Given the dismal predictions for the next Senate round, I wonder if there’s some sneak-sneak happening behind the scenes, esp with the “we get this vote and Democrats get their judges” bit someone else mentioned.
More specifically — could we be seeing where Manchin/Tester are siding w/GOP Senators on this bill, knowing Biden will veto it? They get to burnish their “nope, we’re really conservative” bona-fides (for what it’s worth) for re-election while actually helping move Democratic priorities (fix the Judiciary) forward.
I mean, I don’t think Manchin has ever been a fan of policies to fight climate change, but this seems…off, even for him. And the infra bill last cycle was basically a back-stab to Mitchy-Boy by (in part) Manchin, so it’s not like Chuckie S hasn’t worked similar twisty stuff, before.
That’s not me saying this was the right move, if the above is correct — much less that my wild speculation is right to begin with! Just that there might be more to it, than appears on surface. And I’m open to being proved wrong (esp. as I need to step away for a bit…)
@Steve in the ATL: Also: mind the armed gators.
Probably warm there, so there’s always that.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@trollhattan: armed gators on home-made meth
The Kropenhagen Interpretation
Just like mama used to make…
@trollhattan: calling him “short Cruz” from here on out serves multiple beneficial purposes
@Mallard Filmore: Bluntly? It means race-traitor, if applied to whites. Or “uppity”, if applied to blacks.
The Kropenhagen Interpretation
As long as their movement exists in its current form, right wingers will constantly disparage the latest alternative phrase for respect for others.
@Steve in the ATL: Don’t forget about the pythons.
Is there any way sad, wimpy waffle Ryan has actually exposed himself to liability as a board member? By reaching out to Rupe and telling him to stop lying about the election, and then standing by and doing nothing when said warning failed, he’s let everyone know he was aware of the malfeasance, but did nothing beyond that one useless comment.
A person with anything but jelly for a backbone could have asserted his authority as a director, or quit. Paulie boy did neither. Culpable? At least to a point that Fox’s D & O insurance may be one of the paying parties when, I surely hope, Dominion prevails?
@Baud: a delightful and modest proposal
@Steve in the ATL: been here in the wilds of Tampa since Friday. Can’t wait to get home this Friday, even if it is just outside of Akron in the rapidly decompensating state of Ohio.
Betty, as we all know SFB and his party have no good side. They have a crap side (the smallest segment) and a completely and utterly shit side. Both think they are worth every dime they can extract and save for their paymasters and they will get treated loyally in return. Their paymasters are the shitheads of paymasters. They will give absolutely not a penny more than they have to to get what they want. Fortunately, for the paymasters, the sum total of their rabid followers is too dumb, too broken, too openly open for business – which is screwing the entire country for pennies on the dollar.
I have zero idea how to fix this but it’s been going on for most/all of my life and only getting worse. SFB was president? How could that many people be so fucking stupid and continue breathing? And he’s still got supporters. So it’s true, people can be dumber than dirt. I wasn’t sure it’s possible, but damn the result of the experiment fully proves it – humans can be dumber than dirt.
@Steve in the ATL: Don’t disregard the gators! 🐊
@MisterDancer: Definitely a possibility given the dynamics!
@Manyakitty: Come on, man! The weather has been flawless! ;-)
We’re asking you to pick up the fucking phone and tell your current R reps to get their shit together.
If their current R reps are capable of getting their shit together, then they aren’t really R’s. Because there is only one direction that current R’s can go and that is farther down. They do not understand that R can stand for reverse. They’ve never understood the concept of not getting worse. Just for enlightenment. My rep, in 1973 was a republican and member of the John Burch Society. And he was a better rep than any current R member of congress or the currently not so supreme court. Far better. The Fucking John Burch Society member was a better human being than any current day rethuglican I know of.
@Betty Cracker: true enough. Chamber of commerce weather for sure! Just enjoyed an alfresco lunch with friends today in Riverview.
DeSantis is now cancelling Trump supporters. Popcorn!
It’s my party and I’ll whine if I want to
David 🌈 ☘The Establishment☘🌈 Koch
@JMG: Chris Hayes played a clip of Fox at a diner with old white people in Florida and they asked the crowd who will they support and everyone said Dump (one even compared him to Jesus), with only women who said she was split btn Dump and Deathsantis.
David 🌈 ☘The Establishment☘🌈 Koch
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: Cocaine Gator coming to a screen near you
@Betty Cracker: Thank you for covering this Betty!
Yes, but you are a rational human being.
You don’t accept BS over rational.
You are not the target audience for right or BS politics, which really, really wants to screw everyone but hold off a tad on people who help them get the rational human beings in line so that they can be screwed and never have a clue.
Yes. And not really.
I’m saying the John Burch Society was loony tunes, crazy in the head, running on 2 cylinders out of 16, bats in the attic…. But still not as crazy as current day trumpers or rethuglican voters. Which is saying a lot because I stand by my first sentence. JBS voters understood that not everyone saw the world the very restricted way they did/do. Current day rethuglicans don’t think at all.
I was ready to hate this post. Glad you made it better. Nicely done!