Paul Ryan: The First Rule About Income Inequality is “Don’t Talk About Income Inequality.”

Refocusing the national conversation

It’s hard to deny that the first nine months of the 112th Congress saw this country transfixed by Republican demands for austerity. Indeed, President Obama was met with a lot of criticism from the left for seeming to give in to this Republican-framed national conversation. Many on the left were frustrated that Republican jibber jabber about spending cuts seemed to rule the day.

First, there was the April budget showdown which saw the radical right itching for a government shutdown unless Democrats acceded to their demands for $100 billion in cuts and defunding Planned Parenthood and the healthcare bill. Instead, Republicans got $38 billion in cuts, the continued survival of the Obamacare albatross, and the uterati retained control over their lady-areas. Needless to say, Teabilly-in-Chief, Michele Bachmann was gutted.

Then came the Republican-manufactured debt ceiling crisis which resulted in Orange Julius crowing that Republicans had gotten 98% of what they wanted and some lefties again pissed off about — something. (Turns out OJ and these lefties were wrong.)

After the debt ceiling tears had dried, President Obama pivoted to the most important issue in this country – JOBS, JOBS, JOBS. Knowing that Republicans were going to do exactly two things about jobs — jack and squat — President Obama took his jobs act on the road. Criss-crossing the country, he made his case for his American Jobs Act directly to the people, and asked us to get involved by calling Congress to demand they pass the bill. (We all know how that worked out.)

Inescapably entangled in the president’s jobs message is the very simple notion that rich-ass people should pay more in taxes. Warren Buffet hopped on the Jobs train and became the figurehead for the Republicans’ worst nightmare: the growing outcry in support of a simple idea that the Riches™ should pay more.

And then came the game changer: Occupy Wall Street.

Arguably, the five-week old occupy protests that have captivated America (and, indeed, the globe) have done more for our national conversation than anything President Obama has done. Whichever way one slices it, however, it is clear that the conversation has changed from “austerity” to income equality.

Everyone in the country is talking about income equality now, and that conversation all leads to one conclusion: tax increases on the rich.

Talking Points Memo

Since the beginning of this austerity debate, poll after poll shows that a majority of Americans favor tax increases on the wealthy. This is not up for debate: Americans want the rich to pay their fair share. Yet, Republicans continue to balk at this notion because of a silly tax pledge they signed with a man — Grover Norquist1 — whom nobody elected and whose name nobody (outside the political junkie circuit) even knows. The tension between what Grover Norquist wants and what errrrrybody else wants has led to political theatre of the absurd.

Republicans keep yammering about the same crap they’ve been yammering about for years. Low taxes and deregulation lead to job creation and Whargarrble. We can’t increase taxes on millionaires and billionaires because they won’t have the incentive to Blaargh. Over and over Republicans repeat the same talking points: Deregulation and tax cuts. Tax cuts and deregulation. But Americans are tired of it. They know that tax cuts and deregulation are not going to solve this country’s problem, nor are tax cuts and deregulation going to put Americans back to work. But the GOP simply doesn’t give a fuck.

That Republicans continue to repeat the tax cut/deregulation canard demonstrates the GOP’s utter mendacity. It cannot even be argued that the GOP is simply “out of touch” with American sentiment. They are, in fact, flat-out ignoring American sentiment. Why? Because, again, the GOP simply doesn’t give a fuck.

Mother Jones

Paul Ryan is the figurehead the Grand Old Don’t Give a Fuck Party. When he introduced his budget plan, the Washington pundunces were falling all over themselves in praise of Mr. Serious, much to the chagrin of those who are capable of calling a spade “a spade” (or in this case, a shit sandwich “a shit sandwich”):

Courageous. Serious. Gutsy. I imagine that within a few days this will be the consensus view of the entire Beltway punditocracy. A plan dedicated almost entirely to slashing social spending in a country that’s already the stingiest spender in the developed world, while simultaneously cutting taxes on the rich in a country with the lowest tax rates in the developed world — well, what could be more serious than that?

It was a Serious Plan from a Serious Guy, and even though it essentially slashed Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security while simultaneously cutting taxes on the rich, the sheer seriousness of the plan (It had numbers in it, after all!) made Paul Ryan Washington’s political darling.

There was one slight problem: Americans hated Paul Ryan’s plan. They hated it so much that Paul Ryan got heckled at a town hall meeting during which he tried to dress up his shit sandwich and serve it on a silver platter to the American people. (This was a town hall meeting in his own district, mind you.)

Additionally, once People In the Know examined Paul Ryan’s plan, they discovered it was, indeed, a shit soufflé served with a side of unicorn chutney:

Paul Krugman this morning summarizes the problem nicely: “Gosh. For a plan that supposedly sets a new standard of seriousness, Paul Ryan’s vision depends an awful lot on unicorn sighting — belief in the impossible…. This isn’t a serious proposal; it’s a strange combination of cruelty and insanely wishful thinking.”

Needless to say, Paul Ryan has had a rough go it. He has a sad, as was evident during Ryan’s speech to the Heritage Foundation — unironically entitled “Saving the American Idea: Rejecting Fear, Envy and the Politics of Division” — in which he whined about President Obama “sowing the seeds of social unrest”:

“Instead of working together where we agree, the president has opted for divisive rhetoric and the broken politics of the past,” Ryan said. “He is going from town to town, impugning the motives of Republicans, setting up straw men and scapegoats, and engaging in intellectually lazy arguments, as he tries to build support for punitive tax hikes on job creators.”

Ryan accused Obama of using “class-based rhetoric” in his re-election campaign. Obama’s tactics, he said, make “America weaker, not stronger.”

“Instead of appealing to the hope and optimism that were the hallmarks of his first campaign, he has launched his second campaign by preying on the emotions of fear, envy, and resentment,” Ryan said.

“This has the potential to be just as damaging as his misguided policies. Sowing social unrest and class resentment makes America weaker, not stronger. Pitting one group against another only distracts us from the true sources of inequity in this country – corporate welfare that enriches the powerful, and empty promises that betray the powerless.”

Paul Ryan is silly. He seems to think that it is Obama’s “divisive rhetoric” about income inequality that is the problem rather than the income inequality itself. (Think Progress thoroughly debunks this notion, demonstrating that it’s income inequality, not talking about income inequality that is the problem.)

Mother Jones

Moreover, the notion that it is Obama who is sowing the seeds of dissension (by — you know — making it easier for Americans to repay their student loans) and not Paul Ryan (by callously suggesting that students should work three jobs to pay for their education2) is utterly preposterous.

One thing is apparent (at least to me): President Obama is getting under the Republicans’ skin. At this point, the GOP’s strategy for beating President Obama in 2012 is hoping that Americans are stupid enough to blame President Obama for the GOP’s utter failure to even discuss job creation in any productive manner.

The GOP is hoping that Americans forget that the 112th Congress swept into office on a wave of JOB CREATION! only to spend nine months pushing bills that would install tiny governments into womens’ uteri, deregulate the EPA, and destroy regulations and protections set in place by the Obama administration to curb Wall Street shenanigans.

The GOP is hoping that Americans forget that Mitch McConnell has admitted that his number one priority is to make Obama a one-term president, and that Republicans generally have committed to offering no bipartisan solutions to help President Obama steer this sinking ship. Either that, or the Republicans hope that Americans reward them for political fuckery.

President Obama is essentially going it alone, while the Republicans run around like children, trying to give the president atomic wedgies and thwart any forward progress just so they can cry “Neener! Neener! One-term President!”

And for what? So they can send President Obama on his multi-jillion dollar lecture circuit four years earlier than planned? This is their big idea?!

Let’s hope Americans aren’t as stupid as Republicans think they are.

(A girl can dream, can’t she?)

1 Leo Soderman’s post on the Super Congress is a must read: “Debt Ceiling Deal: The Devil is in the Details.”

2 Karoli has a must-read post about Paul Ryan’s disdain for students struggling to pay for college: “Paul Ryan Tells Student To Work Three Jobs Rather Than Take Pell Grants

3 In case you don’t know who Grover Norquist is, read this from the Star Tribune: Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge undermines democracy

[via Political Animal; The Plum Line; Mother Jones; Think Progress]

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[cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles]

52 replies
  1. 1
    cleek says:

    He seems to think that it is Obama’s “divisive rhetoric” about income equality that is the problem rather than the income inequality itself.

    no, he doesn’t. he thinks he needs to beat-back Obama’s attack, because it is providing Obama with an opportunity to score political points. and so Ryan is doing the best he can to deflect that attack into something that benefits the GOP and hurts Obama.

    tactics and posturing. 90% of everything that comes of of DC is posturing.

  2. 2
    boss bitch says:

    The way I see it is that Obama’s speech and jobs bill pulled the convo towards jobs and then OWS added income inequality to it. Paul Ryan and the others are extra scared because both Obama and OWS are running all over the country with their anti-rich hate speeches/protests. They are not working together but in Paul Ryan’s head they are or might.

  3. 3
    fourmorewars says:

    I confess I only read the first paragraph so far. Probably a whole lot of well-deserved raking-Ryan-and-pals-over-the-coals goodness following. But…What’s with the ‘Obama SEEMED to go along’ shit? Obama DID GO ALONG. When the elected President of the United States of America makes a public pronouncement, he’s not allowed to get away with crossing his fingers behind his fucking back, k? You’re dangerously close to becoming a finalist for a 2011 (imaginary) Orwell Award here.

  4. 4
    cleek says:

    @fourmorewars:

    I confess I only read the first paragraph so far.

    might want to try some of the rest…

  5. 5
    efgoldman says:

    Credit where its due:
    ABC has been running a lot of easy-to-understand stories.
    Tonight:
    http://abcnews.go.com/Business.....d=14817561

  6. 6
    efgoldman says:

    @efgoldman:
    And Charley Pierce. Gotta’ read Charley all day…
    http://www.esquire.com/blogs/p.....cs-6530536

  7. 7
    Violet says:

    @efgoldman:
    I wonder if someone at ABC has been looking at polls and realizing that most of the country wants higher taxes on the rich and is upset about income inequality, and they decided that running a few stories along those lines might pull in viewers.

  8. 8
    Mark S. says:

    Great post, ABL!

  9. 9
  10. 10

    The republicans fell into a trap of their own making, which they are famous for from compulsive over reach. Now Obama and dems are closing the gate behind then.

    The GOP made a fundamental mistake, calculating that the 2010 was a broad mandate for their ideas to rule the roost. The election wasn’t about that at all. It was about the fact that the GOP has been negative campaigning to get rid of Obama, from day one. And the opposing party almost always wins in such a midterm, among other reasons.

    And there are a couple of factors in the recent political mix they got very wrong. One is that negative campaigning has a boomerang effect that the party going negative may bring down the opponents approvals, but if done too long and too harshly, that party, the GOP here, will sink even lower than their mark. Today’s CBS poll crosstabs is simply stunning on how low Americans think of the GOP.

    The second big miscalculation was to have any likelyhood of success for the just say no to everything style, with scorched earth tactics under an Obama presidency, they needed to have both the House AND senate. They are isolated in the House of Reps, and a dem controlled senate can match them in tactical campaigning and so can the dem POTUS, and even do better in the face of the new tea tard extremists, that allowed the goopers to win back the House.

    I think it is too late for them to change course, for a number of reasons, one of which is their only source of pol energy right now is the tea party, another is white hot resentment feeding an uncontrollable pathological sense of entitlement. That and other metamorphic changes into madness for the white folk party, makes them both comical and very dangerous at the same time

  11. 11
    fourmorewars says:

    @cleek: I intend to, although I gotta go so won’t be able to comment…but trust me…that I trust it is good. That’s not the problem. There’s so much hilarity/tragedy readily dished up by the worthless slime of the right, of which I’m well aware. That shouldn’t let people get away with saying absolutely Orwellian things like Obama ‘seemed to’ go along. He PUT SS AND MEDICARE ON THE TABLE IN FULL VIEW OF THE PUBLIC AND THE VILLAGE MEDIA, can we agree on that small point? I’m willing to give him a ton of slack, I’m willing to entertain the possible validity of the
    ‘he gave in just so he could pivot back later when the GOP pushed forward too far, like he knew they would’ meme.

    But don’t insult my intelligence by saying that his placing into the public discussion the possibility he’d be open to cuts in those programs can be interpreted as ‘seeming’ to give in to the Nazi libertarian-rightwing POV.

  12. 12
    Disco says:

    Start taxing capital gains at 80%. You shouldn’t be allowed to make so much money for doing absolutely zero fucking work. Do this and you’ll see the income equality gap begin to shrink.

  13. 13
    jwb says:

    @efgoldman: Pierce is really attracting some serious trolling in the comments. Makes the comments themselves unreadable but does suggest that the wingers fear him.

  14. 14
    piratedan says:

    @fourmorewars: he did it as a poker play, calling the bluff of the GOP, he said fine, lets talk about everything being up for grabs, here are the Dem sacred cows, SS, Medicare and Medicaid and now YOU put Defense on the table. As soon as that gambit was played, the R’s folded and sulked about the hand they were dealt. What did the media report? That Obama sold out Dem principals, bupkis regarding Defense…. your liberal media at work.

    Basically he showed that the debt ceiling was a red herring, Dems willing to be serious, R’s not so much.

  15. 15
    Lev says:

    “(Turns out OJ and these lefties were wrong.)”

    Were they, though? Obama’s approval rating has been in the crapper since the debt ceiling, he’s lost scads of base voters’ and independents’ support, and the deal itself takes money out of the economy during a bad economic time. And if you think those defense cuts will ever happen, I’ve got some subprime mortgages to sell you. Tactical victory at best, and a tentative one at that.

    I still support Obama, and think on the whole he’s been good for the country, but the debt ceiling resolution was the worst thing he ever did. That was a prime opportunity to point out the ludicrous nature of Republican obstruction. He’ll never get another as one-sided as that.

    http://www.librarygrape.com/20.....ctory.html

  16. 16
    jayackroyd says:

    Indeed, President Obama was met with a lot of criticism from the left for seeming to give in to this Republican-framed national conversation

    That’s hilarious. He wasn’t actually delivering GOP talking points. It just seemed that way. And as the centrist Dems who control the Senate put Medicare and Medicaid back on the table, it just seems like they are pursuing policies that aren’t in the interest of their constituents.

  17. 17
    burnspbesq says:

    In which a very smart tax law prof reviews Perry’s “plan” and barely suppresses the urge to hurl.

    http://danshaviro.blogspot.com.....-plan.html

  18. 18
    Morzer says:

    @Lev:

    This looks like some post hoc propter hoc reasoning to me. What’s dragging Obama’s approval ratings down more than anything has been the ongoing misery of the economy/lack of jobs, plus some poor messaging, plus some media whoring for balance rather than facts. As matters stand, his ratings have held up surprisingly well, and he generally polls ahead of the GOP possible presidential candidates, both nationally and in key states. The debt ceiling mess wasn’t handled tremendously well by the White House or by the Dems as a party, but I don’t think you can really trace any radical damage to Obama’s approval ratings to that specific sequence of events.

  19. 19
    Morzer says:

    @jayackroyd:

    It is hard to see the turn to austerity – the most ill-conceived and disastrous choice in both policy and messaging terms – as anything but a concession to GOP memes by a White House that had apparently given up on winning the messaging battle rather prematurely. I don’t go with the “Obama always wanted to betray us” crowd, but it is futile to pretend that Obama’s got his messaging or strategy right on some of the key issues. Some blame attaches to the Democratic party, with its usual lack of testicular fortitude, some blame attaches to the left for its inability to force the White House to deliver (and if the teabaggers could do it, why not the left?, and some blame attaches to the President and his advisers for making bad decisions/failure to lead.

  20. 20
    burnspbesq says:

    Krugman takes his turn at whacking Ryan, and it is a wonder to behold.

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c.....;seid=auto

    I don’t know whether Obama actually said what Ryan accuses him of saying, but I sure as shit hope he did. Plain truth, plainly spoken: what a concept.

  21. 21
    burnspbesq says:

    @Morzer:

    I’m sorry, we’re all out of unicorns that can shit out 218 votes in the House on command.

  22. 22
    Morzer says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Which proves what? That turning to the austerity message and putting Medicare and Medicaid on the table was the right thing to do? Have you thought this through at all?

  23. 23
    Lysana says:

    @Morzer: You surely haven’t been reading anything not written by an emoprog or the MSM, or you’d know better.

  24. 24
    Morzer says:

    @Lysana:

    I am sure there’s some argument to what you’ve just said, but damned if I can see it. Do you think that austerity and cuts are the right approach to our current economic situation? If not, explain why the White House decided to push this approach for a year or more before starting to talk about jobs, jobs, jobs. On the other hand, if you think austerity and cuts are fine and dandy – why not go for the full-bore GOP approach to the issue?

  25. 25
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    Every time the Heritage Foundation is mentioned I think it should be prefaced with “the billionaire Koch brothers funded organization”. Make sure that everyone knows who ‘owns’ these organizations. Tie the Koch brothers around the neck of every astroturf organization they own and operate. Every fucking one of them.

    Give them a Koch and see if they still smile.

    @Morzer:

    What you view as a betrayal by Obama I view as him giving the Repubs more rope to hang themselves with. Once they succeeded in hanging themselves, Obama moved on to jobs.

    You should too.

  26. 26
    Evolving Deep Southerner (tense changed for accuracy) says:

    @fourmorewars:

    That shouldn’t let people get away with saying absolutely Orwellian things like Obama ‘seemed to’ go along. He PUT SS AND MEDICARE ON THE TABLE IN FULL VIEW OF THE PUBLIC AND THE VILLAGE MEDIA, can we agree on that small point?

    So what’s happened since he put them on the table?

    Good God Almighty, you’re a slave and like it. I can think of no other reason why you’d be such a transparent Greedy One Percent party fellow-traveller.

  27. 27
    gnomedad says:

    @General Stuck:

    The GOP made a fundamental mistake, calculating that the 2010 was a broad mandate for their ideas to rule the roost.

    It’s not exactly a “mistake”; it’s a delusion they’ve embraced since St. Ronnie: when the lose, it’s an anomaly or a conspiracy (Rushbo’s “America Held Hostage!”); when they win, it’s the Awesomest Permanent Mandate Evah!

  28. 28
    ABL says:

    @jayackroyd: i understand that “cuts to Medicare” is a buzz phrase that sends everyone panicking, but here’s a post detailing schumer’s appearance on MTP, which discusses the difference between cuts (R) and cuts (D).

    and here’s a super wonky post that further discusses medicare cuts.

    so, i think you’re wrong about Dems “pursuing policies that aren’t in the interest of their constituents,” or, at least, wrong in ending your point without discussing the nature of the cuts.

  29. 29
    Willard says:

    The job creators are doing a piss poor job of it. Can we fire them already? Why are they still employed creating jobs since they obviously are not doing anything? Heck they can even be a lucky ducky and live on $400/wk unemployment.

  30. 30
    ABL says:

    @Odie Hugh Manatee: i’m glad somebody else said it. if i go into my view of the whole dealio, i will surely be drawn and quartered.

  31. 31
    Marc says:

    @Morzer:

    It’s as if people like you never heard of co-opting someone elses rhetoric, or approaching politics as anything other than screaming at the other side.

    Put another way, perhaps a lot of online so-called leftists were wrong about Obamas motivation, and their critique of him seems unrelated to what he’s doing.

  32. 32
    ABL says:

    I confess I only read the first paragraph so far.

    you’ve got to be shitting me.

  33. 33
    Morzer says:

    @Odie Hugh Manatee:

    I don’t go with the “Obama always wanted to betray us” crowd

    How precisely did you manage to read this as “I think Obama betrayed us”? Was it not emphatic enough in saying I don’t agree with the people who take that point of view? Should I have written it in rhinoceros-sized letters and bold?

  34. 34
    ABL says:

    @Marc: yeah, but you’re just an obama cultist. /wink

  35. 35
    Morzer says:

    @Marc:

    Co-opting the wrong view at the wrong time is hardly a strategy that’s going to achieve anything except giving the broad masses the strong impression that both the GOP and the Democrats agree on what is to be done – i.e. both sides want to fuck things up further. What exactly has this supposed co-option achieved anyway? Independents didn’t react positively, Democrats weren’t exactly inspired – only since Obama began hammering the jobs, jobs, jobs message has he begun to win back both groups.
    .
    There is a difference between a) thinking that Obama is flawed, human and makes mistakes and yet still supporting him – and b) regarding him as a crypto-Republican waiting to knife the left in the back. I fall into camp a) – which means that I will donate to Obama, work for him and do my utmost to screw the GOP to the wall, while reserving my right as a thinking human being to disagree with some of his policies and messaging.

  36. 36
    Cain says:

    Very nicely done, ABL. One of your better posts. :)

  37. 37
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @ABL:

    I’ll take the heat, I like a hot kitchen. ;)

    @Morzer:

    You followed that with the big “but”, that’s why.

  38. 38
    Morzer says:

    @Odie Hugh Manatee:

    Weak sauce.

  39. 39
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @Morzer:

    Fucking pathetic.

    Your turn!

  40. 40
    William Hurley says:

    Ryan’s a loon, but as long as he stays within the “lines” of fantasy land, he may avoid provoking real anger.

    Conversely, Obama’s Deficit Commission v2.0 is on the cusp of rendering the Democratic Party obsolete. Cutting Medicare as part of what is purportedly a deficit reduction package takes away a real and necessary service aiding real and necessary people. Obama’s already testified that he’s willing to cut the social safety net from its anchors if it deals with the deficit “seriously”. It seems Patty Murry is eager to hand him a seriously sharp ax.

    Ryan’s a loon, but Democrats pretending to be VSPs is the true mark of the insane.

    Here’s Reuters’ report on Cat Food II, an OFA production.

  41. 41
    jayackroyd says:

    @Morzer:

    Here’s the problem. The president, and the Dem Senate leadership, reject movement liberalism. The ideology they follow is grounded in the impact of globalization on world capital and labor markets. They believe the US has to reduce labor costs to be competitive as capital flows freely around an interconnected world–that it is unrealistic, “neo-populist” to think the middle class can be preserved. But they also recognize that the middle class is not gonna be happy with these necessary, painful policies:

    We urge a different approach, which we call “progressive realism.” Realism means recognizing and understanding the economy’s new rules while accepting the limits of government’s power to stop the forces of change. But as progressives, we also believe that government policies—if modernized and adapted to the rules of the 21st century—can create the optimal conditions for increasing economic growth, expanding middle-class prosperity and protecting those who fall behind.

    As progressive realists, we do not doubt that change is disruptive and, for many people, painful. Globalization has made many jobs obsolete, and both companies and individuals have been hurt by its impact. As the neopopulists note, all is not well with the middle class. But we also see the current era of change as one of tremendous opportunity and potential for the middle class.

    http://bit.ly/vWtqsb (pdf)

    This belief that New Deal liberalism is obsolete is combined with a belief that good policy-making is inconsistent with democratic institutions–that you need to rely on policy experts operating in good faith in the best interests of the country, without elbows being joggled by cranky neo-populist or nutty movement conservtives. And those experts, who can be found at the highest reaches of successful corporations should be brought into government, because they understand how this new global economy works. These leaders need to be brought into partnership with the US government, and hard-headed, realistic policy crafted, so that the US can continue be the dominant world power.

    Note that a central theme here is that it is above partisanship–that the experts, left alone, will best do their work. When you use that frame, then the health care negotiation makes sense. These negotiations took place not with politicians, but with the large service providers, because those stakeholders are the real experts and will keep us out of distracting, distorting partisanship. It makes sense that we turn to the money center banks as the mechanism for minimizing the contraction–they’re the pros who have risen, through merit and diligence, to their positions.

    It’s not about Obama per se. It’s about a political philosophy, an ideology that rejects core Democratic values about the government’s role in protecting the citizenry from powerful private interests. It’s not twelve dimensional chess. It’s not cowardice or “caving” or bad messaging, or that the Democrats don’t know how to negotiate. They did get burned by Bob Dole’s promise that they’d get a dozen GOP Senate votes for the Dole-Daschle plan–but, eventually, the bill did indeed pass.

  42. 42
    biff diggerence says:

    A speech at Heritage.

    Those full-throated supporters of the Iraq invasion.

    Responsible for huge chunk of current deficit.

    Yes. It all makes perfect sense.

  43. 43
    Chuck says:

    When the Police start shooting Marines, then the Police have lost the war.

  44. 44
    fourmorewars says:

    @ABL: No, I’m not shitting you in the least. I wasn’t saying I didn’t expect to find good arguments against Ryan and friends in the rest of the post, I think I’ve already made that clear. Are you arguing that a proposition that one judges to be transparently nonsense can’t be singled out?

    It’s the whole problem with people who think Republican sins are an excuse for Obama not behaving the slightest like a Democrat. Which of course doesn’t describe him lately, but does for long, crucial, possibly fatal, periods during the past three years. And btw, don’t call me a fucking ‘firebagger,’ your favorite punching bag term. I follow more closely Atrios, whose quietly scathing critiques people like you don’t seem to enjoy addressing so much.

    p.s. Evolving Deep Southerner, where’d you learn to read?

  45. 45
    Paul in KY says:

    @jayackroyd: Well, that bummed me out.

  46. 46
    lacp says:

    “Pitting one group against another only distracts us from the true sources of inequity in this country – corporate welfare that enriches the powerful, and empty promises that betray the powerless.”

    Ryan said this? What is he, some kind of socialamist?

  47. 47
    jayackroyd says:

    @Paul in KY:

    It IS depressing. But if we don’t recognize what is going on, we can’t deal with it. These guys intentionally use language that obscures what they are doing because they know it’s unpopular. And, of course, the media lurves this idea of pragmatic, non-partisan, moderate technocracy.

  48. 48
    karen marie says:

    @jwb: I started using Ghostery right around the time I started reading Charlie Pierce. I thought it was odd that although he invites comments I never saw any and couldn’t comment myself. Then I discovered turning Ghostery off enabled comments. I’ve kept Ghostery on.

  49. 49
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    .
    .
    @jayackroyd:

    We urge a different approach, which we call “progressive realism.”

    I think balloonbaggers prefer to call themselves “pragprogs,” although they are of course neither pragmatic nor progressive.
    .
    .

  50. 50

    Truthfully I don’t get why people still imply Obama is some sort of honest actor trying to champion “progressive” causes but failing because of the forces arrayed against him. To say he’s, “going it alone” I think misrepresents – instead he is only “posturing it alone”. The history of the last year, if not years, makes it plainly clear that Obama isn’t NOT getting what he wants, but rather what he’s getting IS what he wants – in most cases the man doesn’t give a crap about the progressive policies he claims.

    We can come up with all sorts of convoluted excuses for him, but Occam’s Razor gives us a better blueprint: he is what he seems to be – a Reagan Democrat.

    Face it guys, he’s just not that into us.

  51. 51
    andrew long says:

    @jayackroyd: fantastic. just read this over at atrios.

    what is even more incredible about the Third Way manifesto you quoted is this sentence, just before that section:

    And while economic conservatism is premised on the myths of an infallible market and incompetent government, neo-populism is premised on the myths of a failing middle class, a declining America, and omnipotent corporations.

    That was written in 2007. Today it sounds so fatally out of touch as to be laughable.

  52. 52

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