Republican Congresscritter and Failed Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan has been notably absent from the government shutdown spotlight. This political opportunist has never seen a microphone or camera he doesn't like and is quite skillful at elbowing his way up front whenever Republicans gather for a photo opportunity or a press conference. So, it's been a bit unusual to not seeing him gathering around John Boehner and Eric Cantor during this high visibility time.
As the Chair of the House Budget Committee, he's normally front and center so something is definitely up. The latest statements he's made has been to say that the shutdown wouldn't happen (yeah, he was wrong) and that he thought it would be a bad idea.
The other shoe has dropped and now I know why. He's been biding his time waiting and hoping for the shutdown and debt ceiling debate to merge.
Now, Ryan sees the government shutdown linking up with upcoming talks over the nation's debt limit, which must be resolved by the middle of the month to avoid an unprecedented default.
"I see the two issues converging, the continuing resolution and the debt limit, converging because they are just so close in time," he said in an interview. "I think that's just the reality of the situation."
That could mean the current shutdown could drag on two more weeks.
"I don't know how long it is going to be, but it is conceivable that it could last that long if they (Democrats) choose not to send negotiators," the Wisconsin Republican said.
Ryan said he continues to talk with others about a budget agreement that could be linked to the debt limit talks to cover both mandatory and discretionary spending, tax reform and energy policy.
"That shouldn't be a secret," he said when asked about recent reports that there's been movement on that front. "We have been doing this all along. My goal all along was to get a budget agreement with the debt limit."
"Like with administrations past, we think a debt limit agreement is the only way with this administration to get this economy growing and to get this debt under control," Ryan said.So, he's biding his time until the debt limit comes up to try again to push his own granny starving budget proposal.
What Paul Ryan doesn't want us to know, however, is that we're already very close to Ryans very own granny starving budget numbers as brilliantly pointed out on MSNBC (I've embedded the salient portion of the segment, but can't remove the ad that precedes it - sorry):
Yes, that's right. The GOPs past hostage taking coupled with the sequester has brought us into Paul Ryan budget territory. They won. And yet they want more and more and more cuts to kids, workers, the poor, the disabled, veterans, seniors and others who aren't major Republican donors.
Their greed over cuts is as unquenchable as the greed of the wealthy over obtaining even more money.
We've seen Republicans strip out funding food stamps so they could continue government subsidies to millionaire farmers, seen them unconcerned with the loss of Meals on Wheels and other programs to the sequester, seen them praise Capitol Police for saving their sorry behinds (yeah, no concern about those heroes not getting paid) and watched their photo op clown shows at national monuments or dressing up with lab coats as the government shuts down. For Republicans, the Clown Show Under the Marble Big Top is their never ending circus of misinformation, propaganda, and blatant lies.
To see Paul Ryan licking his lips at the prospect of taking center stage by inflicting more pain on this country with the threat of adding a default to the shutdown is disgusting.
No business is run this way. No business operates from crisis to crisis in which they manufacture a the crisis.
This isn't about the budget, this isn't even about ideology. This is all about the political opportunity that comes from the power a small rump minority can achieve by any and all means. It's government by terrorist threat.
If Republican politicians continue to put their own political careers and fears of a well-funded Tea Party primary challenge above the country, we're doomed. They're going to have to decide how much they really love this country.
For Paul Ryan, we already know the answer. Too many of these guys have absolutely no shame.