Headline: Rep. Paul Ryan (R- Reprehensiville) Unveils New Anti-poverty Plan.
The public response: collective yawn
Wisconsin's Tea Party Rep., a self-appointed political Moses, has come down from the mountain, again, (stop yawning!) with a plan etched in stone tablets that, again, asserts his earnest, selfless, principled concern, his ability to look busy, and his misguided work ethic.
Stifle that yawn! What's the matter with you? This man is serious (tee hee!). I mean it. Stop giggling!
Moses Ryan added a pilgrimage to places where his aides insisted that actual poor people could be found. Ryan, who consulted several binders full of poor people, a gift from Romney, at first pooh-poohed such evidence, calling it a liberal-progressive conspiracy meant to distract the American public from the Benghazi-Birther-Immigration coverups.
Confronted with hard evidence that poor people not only existed, but were a blooming consequence of trickle-down economic policies, Ryan demurred, saying, “I am not a social scientist,” and insisting that more proof was needed.
More below the symmetrical cloud...
Ryan then embarked on a whistle-stop-photo-op tour to get photographed with actual poor people. He even summoned, from the ethereal tidal pool of his emotional repertoire, a visage that fairly suggested he was actually listening to and empathizing with the plight of the economic losers, flesh and blood Americans whom his party hopes to further marginalize and punish for not accepting their fate, for not suffering in silence and anonymity, and for daring to criticize the unfairly advantaged one-percenters and those who legislate economic policies that enshrine their advantages.
After touching a few lepers and bathing the feet of the crippled, our pilgrim, with help from an eyedropper applied to the conjunctiva before the cameras rolled, shed a tear of that-word-which-expresses-a-feeling-unknown-and-unknowable to the Republican mind. Filled with righteous obfuscation, Ryan returned to the safety of the beltway to confer with image consultants.
The grand unveiling of Ryan's plan happened at that symbolic public commons, the American Enterprise Institute, which regularly opens its doors to sponsor and promote free and open debate about the failings of laissez faire capitalism (Editor's Note: insert snark alert here).
After panning Ryan's plan, critics are puzzled. Why doesn't Ryan get it? Excellent critiques by John Nichols, writing in The Nation, Laura Clawson, writing here at Daily Kos, and Sarah Lazare, writing at commondreams.org, shed light on just how shaky Ryan's plan, and how shallow his effort to re-brand himself, really are. A March 4th shot across the bow by Steve Benen, writing at msnbc.com, warned readers that Ryan's ship of foolish faux-reforms would soon be launched.
The ideological conceit that underlies Ryan's waste of infinitely-more-valuable trees, a tome hastily shored-up by misquoting legitimate scholarship, is that the poor need the services of what can best be described as economic social workers. Poverty, you see, is a beast birthed by individual failings. In Ryan-World, the bacchanalia/playground for the haves, all is well. No larger failings, imbalance or overreach in the economic system are in need of overhaul and reform, certainly not the prevailing culture of corporate welfare and the casino cultures of Wall Street and the Banking District.
So the public is witness, once again, to Ryan's penchant for reshuffling a deck of cards already short several aces: his obsessive-compulsive act of “Frankensteining” yet another stillborn plan reveals more about his addiction to tinkering with economic explosives than it addresses the fundamental inequities in the status quo economy.
So in the same way that Ryan's budget plans succeeded in misconnecting with the addition of real numbers, a failing verified by the Congressional Budget Office, his anti-poverty plan misconnects with the causes and problems of poverty, and with any real solutions or viable game plans.
I've stopped doubting that this is just a little bit of naivete on Ryan's part, that the pampered, golden boy from Janesville just needs more rubber-meets-the-road life experience. No, there is a darker malady motivating his dumbshow. While journalists and economists analyze his so-called plan, I suggest the Representative undergo analysis himself. Because there is something profoundly wrong in the Ryan cranium. His budgets, and now this plan, are miscarriages of a mind that is wide asleep. Time to scrutinize that mind for defects, to stop assuming that the veneer of stability, the playacting at normal, are more than skin deep.
Surely Ryan doesn't expect Americans to forget his October, 2012 soup kitchen photo-op in Youngstown, Ohio. A refresher: Ryan and his family, on their way to the airport after Ryan delivered a speech, divert to a soup kitchen in Mahoning County for a photo-op. The family and retinue show up unannounced, without prior knowledge of the president of the St Vincent De Paul Society. His organization runs the soup kitchen. Bylaws require that it remain apolitical to avoid offending the private donors whose generosity keeps the doors open.
Soup kitchen staff had already served patrons their meal and had cleaned up. All of the patrons and most of the kitchen staff had already left. Unconcerned by these details, the Ryan family don white aprons and proceed to wash dishes, to “help”, while photos and video are taken.
Please consider the putrid calculation percolating in Ryan's mind at that moment. He rationalized this stunt as morally and ethically acceptable behavior. Perhaps you should be even more disturbed that Ryan and his wife exploited their children, who also performed in this falsehood, this political pornography. Their offspring were made teeth on the gears of an amoral machine that was running to get this two-dimensional, tin-eared, socially and morally tone deaf and vacuous man elected vice president.
Critics have skewered Ryan's budgets, dismembered this beast of a poverty plan, and splayed his one-percent-friendly voting record. Who, who does this man think he's fooling?
I've commented before about a condition of willful blindness prevalent in Republican leaders, present also in some of my longtime friends and acquaintances who succumbed to the Republicult. For such cultists, appearances stand in for substance, while platitudes, unplumbed memes and talking points stand in for principles and character. Consumption devours conservation for this mercenary cabal. This hairball of false equivalencies makes it hard for ordinary Americans to stomach the fatuous, self-congratulatory blather of CEOs, GOP candidates, and talk radio blowhards.
Today's GOP is your unstable, belligerent uncle, the one who shows up drunk at a funeral, driving a red convertible, and tells fart jokes to the bereaved, believing all the while he is being helpful.
And Ryan? He's the enabler, the superficially genial apologist, insisting that Uncle Elephant means well as he barfs into the open casket...