Conservative Groups Opposing Paul Ryan For Speaker Before He Even Announces

Paul Ryan has yet to say if he will run for Speaker of the House, but that hasn't stopped the opposition on the hard right from forming already.

House GOP

Paul Ryan has yet to officially say if he will reverse his previous position and run for Speaker of the House as many Republicans are urging him to do in the wake of last week’s decision by Kevin McCarthy to withdraw his name from consideration, but he’s already being attacked by many of the same forces on the right who went after McCarthy and John Boehner:

WASHINGTON — Far-right media figures, relatively small in number but potent in their influence, have embarked on a furious Internet expedition to cover Representative Paul D. Ryan in political silt.

In 2012 when Mitt Romney picked Mr. Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, as his running mate, the concern among some in their party was that Mr. Ryan was too conservative, particularly when it came to overhauling social programs like Medicare and Medicaid.

Now, as he agonizes over whether to answer the appeal of his colleagues to become their next speaker, the far right is trotting out a fresh concern: Mr. Ryan is too far left.

He is being criticized on issues ranging from a 2008 vote to bail out large banks to his longstanding interest in immigration reform to his work on a bipartisan budget measure. On Sunday night, the Drudge Report — a prime driver of conservative commentary — dedicated separate headlines to bashing Mr. Ryan on policy positions.

Even a self-congratulatory book outlining how Mr. Ryan and two other Republican House leaders drafted Tea Party candidates to help them take over the House in 2010 — “Young Guns” — is being recast by some as a manual of how to be traitorous to conservatism.

“Tryouts for speaker continue,” Phyllis Schlafly, founder and chairwoman of the conservative Eagle Forum, said in a statement Friday, when Mr. Ryan was escaping Capitol Hill for the week. “The kingmakers are so desperate for someone to carry their liberal priorities that they are trying to force Congressman Paul Ryaninto a job he does not want.”

The influence of conservative websites has enraged members who were once considered right of center themselves, and who are desperately trying to keep Mr. Ryan from getting spooked.

“Anyone who attacks Paul Ryan as being insufficiently conservative is either woefully misinformed or maliciously destructive,” said Representative Tom Cole, Republican of Oklahoma. “Paul Ryan has played a major role in advancing the conservative cause and creating the Republican House majority. His critics are not true conservatives. They are radical populists who neither understand nor accept the institutions, procedures and traditions that are the basis of constitutional governance.”

To some degree, the attacks on Mr. Ryan, so far an unwilling draft pick by his colleagues to replace Speaker John A. Boehner, reflect criticism of flashes of pragmatism by Mr. Ryan, the architect of his party’s conservative budget dogma.

Since the 2012 general election defeat, Mr. Ryan has indeed become more of a consensus builder and leader in the House, even as he has maintained his ideological tilt. He has largely voted for bills to keep the government operating and the debts paid when many other Republicans vote against them these days.

(…)

bill of particulars against Mr. Ryan have shifted from the national debt and spending to immigration. Lately, they have focused on Mr. Ryan’s enthusiastic support for free trade, traditionally a policy that has gotten broad Republican support but is now being used as a bat against him. Beyond Mr. Ryan, the conservative targets have seemingly shifted from old time establishment lawmakers to a process seemingly more akin to random selection.

On Monday, a Tea Party group in Alabama set out warning flares to Representative Martha Roby, a Republican, advising her that she would come under fire if she supported Mr. Ryan for speaker.

While the influence of Fox news on conservative voters has been well documented, “There’s a lot we don’t know about this bumper crop of digital news start-ups of the past five or 10 years, especially ad-supported ones,” said Jesse Holcomb the associate director of journalism research at the Pew Research Center. “Many aren’t public and don’t produce earnings statements and aren’t required to release information on revenue or profit margins.”

But House Republicans and their staff say millions of Republican primary voters have their opinions shaped by sites like Breitbart.com, which define a version of the conservative position of the moment, then whip their readers into a frenzy, imploring them to oppose anyone who takes a different position.

“Our goal is not influence; it is reporting and highlighting stories important to grass roots conservatives,” said Alex Marlow, the editor in chief of Breitbart. “To those in Congress and on the national political stage who want to better understand this constituency’s interests and worldview, we feel Breitbart News is a good place to start. Our focus on issues like spending, trade and particularly immigration are a reflection of the fact that there are massive populations of center-right Americans who do not favor the policies most often associated with the Republican Party establishment.”

(…)

The conservative rap on Mr. Ryan’s fiscal positions is especially curious. As Budget Committee chairman, Mr. Ryan was the author of plans that would convert Medicare into something akin to a voucher plan, where seniors would get government subsidies to purchase private insurance and move away from government-run health care.

He also wanted to turn Medicaid into increasingly tight block grants to state governments, and he also called for drastic cuts in food stamps, Pell grants and many other domestic programs.

But in 2013, Mr. Ryan and Ms. Murray reached an agreement, which passed 332 to 94 in the House, that modestly raised spending restrictions on military and domestic programs for two years, bringing temporary peace to the incessant budget wars that are now eliciting the wrath of the conservative industrial complex.

Immigration is proving to be an even more ripe area for venomous assessment of Mr. Ryan. He pressed for a vote on an immigration reform bill with his Republican colleagues in 2013, noting that “earned legalization is an issue I think the House can and will deal with” but was rebuffed.

While 53 percent of Republicans support some earned path to citizenship for immigrants living in the country illegally, said Robert P. Jones, the chief executive of the Public Religion Research Institute, citing a 2013 poll, “support drops well below majority to 45 percent among Republicans who identify with the Tea Party,” he said.

It may surprise those who do not pay much attention to conservative media to see Paul Ryan becoming a target of the hard right base and the activists at sites like Breitbart and Red State. During the early years of the Obama Administration after all, and especially after the GOP gained control of the House and Ryan became Chairman of the Budget Committee, the Wisconsin Congressman became something of a darling on the right both for his criticisms of the Obama White House and the policy proposals that he presented on his own. When President Obama gave his first State of the Union Address after the GOP gained control of the House, Ryan was tapped to deliver the Republican response in an effort to move beyond the rather tepid and not well received responses delivered by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal in 2009 and former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. Each year, Ryan has released a long-term budget plan that he says is designed to address the nation’s long-term entitlement and debt issues that has always been well-received on the right, although its worth noting that few of his major ideas ended up being incorporated into the final product. As 2012 drew near, there were many who called on Ryan to consider running for President himself, a major step for a member of the House notwithstanding his tenure, and while Ryan demurred he did end up on the list of potential Vice-Presidential running mates and ultimately, of course, Mitt Romney’s running mate. In the wake of the Republican loss in 2012, Ryan was still very well regarded on the right and even leading other potential candidates in early polls before ultimately and unsurprisingly deciding not to run for the Republican nomination in 2016. In other words, Paul Ryan was in many ways the Republican “golden boy” who could seemingly do no wrong.

Despite all of that, though, it’s always been clear that while Ryan has been well-regarded by the Tea Party and other elements on the right wing of the Republican Party, he has never really been a part of them. For one thing, he was elected to Congress nearly twenty years ago rather than as part of the Tea Party wave that brought people such as Kevin McCarthy and others into office. To that extent, he is arguably more of a creature of the Republican Congress of the late 90s than the Republican Congress that took office after the 2010 elections, and there are many ways that it shows. In addition to his positions on immigration and trade, Ryan also differentiates from the hard right of the GOP in other ways, such as his support in 2008 for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, a vote that has become something of a rallying cry for many of the people who seem to have risen up to oppose Ryan’s candidacy even before he announces it. While his budgets do cut spending and attempt to reform entitlement spending, they do not go nearly as far as those proposed by newer members of the House and Senate do. Additionally, Ryan clearly doesn’t seem to have the temperament of the Tea Party wing of the party and seems closer to Boehner and the more senior members of the caucus than those who have come into office in the past five years. More importantly, perhaps, Ryan has shown a willingness to work across the aisles with Democrats and make the compromises necessary to get legislation passed. This is best seen in his work with former Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray to pull together a Federal Budget in the wake of the 2013 shutdown, a move that was widely praised in Washington but widely attacked on the right, where Ryan was accused of selling out and giving in to the Democrats even though the final budget deal included many provisions acceptable to conservatives. Ever since then, Ryan has been as much a target for attack from that wing of the GOP has he has been a recipient of praise, and that’s what’s behind this preemptive effort to attack him before he even announces his intentions regarding the Speakership.

No doubt, this wave of opposition will likely have an impact on Ryan’s decision going forward, which is unlikely to be announced while Congress is on recess this week. Reports since last week have indicated that Ryan would likely only agree to run if it was clear that he would have enough support to win easily on the House Floor in a vote, thus avoiding the problem that apparently derailed McCarthy’s bid last week. Beyond that, though, it seems clear that if Ryan did take on the role of Speaker he’d only do so if he had some reassurances that he wouldn’t face the same kind of protracted opposition from the House Freedom Caucus and others that Boehner faced throughout his tenure. The opposition that is already forming against him seems to show that this is unlikely and that even if Ryan does end up changing his mind and becoming Speaker, he’s likely to face many of the same headaches that John Boehner did immediately upon taking office.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Tea Party, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. al-Ameda says:

    I have to admit, as a Democrat, that I’m somewhat pleased to see the idiocrat caucus in opposition to Paul Ryan.

    While I strongly disagree with Ryan’s proposals to both cut taxes while starting the process to diminish and rollback programs like Medicare and Social Security which benefit middle class and working Americans, I do think that he’s very capable. I do not want him anywhere near the Speakership. I’d prefer that someone like Gohmert or Labrador become Speaker.

  2. Mark Ivey says:

    “Ryan?? What a f**kin liberal..”

    :)))

  3. CSK says:

    @Mark Ivey:

    There’s many a true word spoken in jest. Take a look at some of the sites where “the base” congregates. They hate Ryan.

  4. C. Clavin says:

    What’s funny is that Ryan is a phony and a liar. He’s one of the most mendacious people in a cesspool of mendacity. Yet the knock on him from Breitbart and Red State…accomplished liars themselves…is that he is not nearly radical enough to satisfy the extremists that make up the base of the Republican Party.
    The transparently partisan witch-hunt being pursued by Trey Gowdy never got called that until McCarthy said it out loud.
    What’s it going to take for every one to finally admit that Ryan is a liar and a fake?

  5. Ron Beasley says:

    The thing that always amazes me is the Republican attacks on Social Security. I am 69 and have been collecting SS for a little over 3 years and not even come close to collecting the amount I paid into the system over the years. In fact actuarial analysis the typical Social Security recipient will collect roughly what was put in plus interest. Now the Republicans want to give this money to the Ponzi scheme known as Wall Street (privatize it).
    Medicare is another issue, it is insurance for old people who require much more medical attention. I for one am not opposed to “death panels.” Do we really want to spend $200,000 to keep an 85 year old alive for an additional 6 months especially when it often results in 6 months of hell on earth. I saw this with my own father who had multiple medical interventions in the last few years of his life. When my mother reached the end of her life I refused medical interventions and instead choose home hospice. She died peacefully in her own home at 90. Her brother, my uncle, developed cancer in his early 80s. He was put on a drug that cost over $2,000 dollars a month. He eventually died but not from the cancer, the drug had destroyed his heart, liver and kidneys.

  6. Ron Beasley says:

    The thing that always amazes me is the Republican attacks on Social Security. I am 69 and have been collecting SS for a little over 3 years and not even come close to collecting the amount I paid into the system over the years. In fact actuarial analysis the typical Social Security recipient will collect roughly what was put in plus interest. Now the Republicans want to give this money to the Ponzi scheme known as Wall Street (privatize it).
    Medicare is another issue, it is insurance for old people who require much more medical attention. I for one am not opposed to “death panels.” Do we really want to spend $200,000 to keep an 85 year old alive for an additional 6 months especially when it often results in 6 months of hell on earth. I saw this with my own father who had multiple medical interventions in the last few years of his life. When my mother reached the end of her life I refused medical interventions and instead choose home hospice. She died peacefully in her own home at 90. Her brother, my uncle, developed cancer in his early 80s. He was put on a drug that cost over $2,000 dollars a month. He eventually died but not from the cancer, the drug had destroyed his heart, liver and kidneys.

  7. Moosebreath says:

    E.J. Dionne has a good take on this, noting that McCarthy and Ryan’s 2010 book Young Guns promised far more than they could deliver, and they are therefore in trouble precisely for not living up to their promises:

    “In that book, Ryan used tea-party language, saying that “business in Washington these days isn’t being conducted the way our Founders envisioned.” Republicans had “lost the true path,” he said, and the Republican House in the Bush years – the one he was part of – was run by “machine-like people.” Any surprise that we’re still raging against the machine?”

  8. KM says:

    @Ron Beasley :

    Do we really want to spend $200,000 to keep an 85 year old alive for an additional 6 months especially when it often results in 6 months of hell on earth

    People are very very OK with spending tons of other people’s money to save grandma for one more day and are utterly outraged when they realize somebody else might be doing the same to them.

  9. Kylopod says:

    @al-Ameda:

    I do think that he’s very capable. I do not want him anywhere near the Speakership.

    I’m not so sure of that. If there’s anything Boehner’s tenure has taught us, it’s that the GOP Speakership today is a completely thankless job. Everybody hates you, and you don’t have any real power, you’re essentially a marionette being pulled in (at least) two directions, one of them making demands that are literally impossible to fulfill.

    Ryan has far more power and influence now than he ever will becoming Speaker, where he’d essentially be thrown to the wolves, and I don’t think even his political talents are going to be able to overcome that. Which is why it makes perfect sense he isn’t exactly rushing to take the job–nor is anyone else in the party, for that matter.

  10. James Pearce says:

    @CSK:

    Take a look at some of the sites where “the base” congregates. They hate Ryan.

    Almost a decade into the “tea party” movement, this is unsurprising. They’re too lazy to form their own party, so they occupy themselves by destroying the Republican party. (They ain’t primary-ing Democrats, that’s for sure.)

    The last few years the “establishment” has been deluded into thinking this is actually constructive. Hopefully that will become a minority view.

    The base, after all, needs to be told.

  11. C. Clavin says:
  12. gVOR08 says:

    @C. Clavin: Thanks for the link. I seldom read Brooks. You can’t learn anything from Brooks. He’s the world’s champion concern troll, using a bipartisan, moderate act to cover rabid partisanship. It’s interesting that he admits that his Party has gone off into the ozone. But I see he’s pushing the view that this just happened to them, it’s like the weather, it fell out of the sky. Rush Limbaugh did it. Murdoch did it. Someone besides us did it. Really this is the natural evolution of the Southern Strategy and the concentration of wealth. Republicans did this to themselves. And maybe, just maybe, the supposedly liberal MSM is beginning to be willing to report that they’ve gone nuts.

    I give Doug credit for pointing out that Ryan actively recruited these Teabillies, that Ryan actively contributed to digging this hole.

  13. grumpy realist says:

    OT, but another example of total human stupidity.

  14. Tillman says:

    Context schmontext, I can finally breathe.

  15. michael reynolds says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Yep. Slowly, slowly, s-l-o-o-o-w-l-y the punditocracy begins to figure out what cleverer folks have known for years now. And even the Republican establishment may just be starting to get the message.

    That’s the hard part of being a liberal: waiting out the inevitable 5 year gap between what we know and what the rest of the population figures out.

    Remember the good old days of 2011 or so when every liberal already knew that the Tea Party was just a bunch of hate-mongers filled with the rage of white panic and that they were political nihilists? And now even John Boehner knows it’s true. I think even Doug has figured it out.

    Now, of course they still haven’t quite figured out that the GOP is the Tea Party now, that they’re all disconnected from reality, living in a racist fantasy world, and that membership in this new iteration of the GOP is tantamount to joining a white supremacist group. But it’s what, 2015? So maybe sometime in 2020?

  16. DrDaveT says:

    @C. Clavin: I had to laugh at some of what Brooks said:

    By traditional definitions, conservatism stands for intellectual humility, a belief in steady, incremental change, a preference for reform rather than revolution, a respect for hierarchy, precedence, balance and order, and a tone of voice that is prudent, measured and responsible.

    Yes, certainly, William F. Buckley Jr. was characterized by intellectual humility.

    Of course, the one I find most interesting is “a respect for hierarchy, precedence, balance, and order”. What a carefully constructed phrase — it sounds pretty harmless until you realize that “respect for hierarchy” means believing in keeping one’s inferiors in their place, “precedence” means that some pigs are more equal than others, “steady incremental change” means “all deliberate speed”, and “balance and order” translates as ruthless suppression of anything that threatens the comfort of the haves.

  17. grumpy realist says:

    I think Charles Pierce said it best:

    Hell, even David Brooks is pretending to notice these days, although he continues to have a memory hole as deep as the Laurentian Abyssal as to his own complicity in the spread of the virus in question.

  18. David M says:

    This is best seen in [Ryan’s] work with former Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray to pull together a Federal Budget in the wake of the 2013 shutdown, a move that was widely praised in Washington but widely attacked on the right, where Ryan was accused of selling out and giving in to the Democrats even though the final budget deal included many provisions acceptable to conservatives.

    This points at what is so infuriating about the Tea Party. This is exactly how our government is supposed to work, when a single party doesn’t have complete control. The two sides negotiate an agreement that is mutually satisfactory, but no one gets everything they want.

    The sociopaths on the right pretend to worship the constitution, as they threaten to destroy the economy if they don’t get their own way on everything.

  19. Grewgills says:

    “Anyone who attacks Paul Ryan as being insufficiently conservative is either woefully misinformed or maliciously destructive,” said Representative Tom Cole, Republican of Oklahoma. “Paul Ryan has played a major role in advancing the conservative cause and creating the Republican House majority. His critics are not true conservatives. They The GOP base are radical populists who neither understand nor accept the institutions, procedures and traditions that are the basis of constitutional governance.”

    Altered for accuracy

  20. Hal_10000 says:

    That’s the hard part of being a liberal: waiting out the inevitable 5 year gap between what we know and what the rest of the population figures out.

    Remember the good old days of 2011 or so when every liberal already knew that the Tea Party was just a bunch of hate-mongers filled with the rage of white panic and that they were political nihilists?

    Well, except that I’ve heard just about every Republican since about 1979 described in the same terms. Liberals correctly identify about 700 out of every 20 right wing extremists.

  21. EddieInCA says:

    @Hal_10000:

    With all due respect, I call “bull….”.

    But, having said that, stereotypes become stereotypes for a reason. Since the “Southern Strategy”, the GOP has slowly been turning into a White Racist Party. It’s current incarnation was exacerbated by the election of a Sociialst Kenyan Marxist Communist Muslim Manchurian Candidate. The fact that people like Dr. Joyner and yourself can’t see that says more about your refusal to see the GOP for what it actually is, rather than what it was.

    The party you fell in love with is long, long, long gone.

  22. michael reynolds says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Liberals were also right that Palin was a moron – and don’t try to tell me conservatives agreed, that took years.

    And let’s see, some more told-you-so’s from recent history:

    The car maker bailout the cons all said would fail.

    Obamacare that cons all said would drastically raise costs, not lower the rate of uninsured, and of course lead to death panels.

    Same sex marriage that according to cons would tear the country apart and destroy the institution of marriage.

    Federal tax increase that would destroy the economy.

    The California tax increase that would destroy California.

    The Kansas/Brownback experiment that would lead to a golden age of Kansas.

    The quagmire that would come from inevitable US troops in Libya (US death toll: 4.)

    The illegal voting that never happened.

    The deficits that would keep going up and up.

    And the dollar would be worthless.

    And the stock market that would plummet.

    And blah and blah and blah, and on and on, I could go on. Eight years of idiot conservatives forever forecasting gloom and doom and destruction if we didn’t listen to them. To them, the people who pissed away trillions on stupid wars and managed to preside over the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression.

    You guys are almost never right. Why? Because your “ideas” are nonsense. Conservatives do not know what they are talking about. Conservatives are out-of-touch, divorced from reality, addicted to absolute drivel, consumed by irrational rage, and quite clearly incompetent to govern anything.

  23. Hal_10000 says:

    I agree that a lot of Republicans are hysterical about certain things. But I can match you point for point on hysterical bad predictions:

    The Libyan intervention would have minimal costs in lives and treasure.

    McCain-Feingold would clean up politics.

    The Bush Prescription drug plan would be an overpriced disaster.

    Obamacare would decrease healthcare costs.

    Dodd-Frank would stop the consolidation of banking.

    Obama would bring us into a golden age of international cooperation and worldwide respect.

    NAFTA would destroy the economy.

    Russia and ISIS weren’t big threats.

    Cutting spending in 1986 would plunge us into recession. Cutting spending in 1993 would plunge us into recession. Cutting spending in 1995 would plunge us into recession. Cutting spending in 2010 would plunge us into recession (you can extend this thread all the way back to 1946).

    Republicans would gut the Clean Air and Water acts and the environment would get worse (apart from greenhouse gases, every pollutant has been falling for forty years).

    Global warming would make hurricanes more frequent and intense (global warming is real; the connection to hurricanes is tenuous).

    My first political memory, in fact, is of a dire Democratic prediction that didn’t come true. It was in 1980, when Democrats were saying the Cold War could not be won and Reagan’s policies would start a nuclear war. As an 8-year-old, this formed a big impression on me. Enough that I recognized the same jerks, ten years later, telling us that the collapse of Communism had been “inevitable”.

    When it comes to the Cassandra Award, try being a libertarian. In the 2000 election, Harry Browne said the Bush tax cuts (and Gore’s proposed tax cuts) were a shell game and would plunge us into debt. He was laughed at. Throughout the aughts, libertarians were warning about federal policy creating a housing bubble and were laughed at. They talked about state finances being a shambles and were ignored. They warned about post-war Iraq and were ignored. They warned that the Patriot Act would be used mostly for routine criminal investigation and were ignored.

    As a general rule, predicting that “Policy X will not do everything its supporters say but probably not quite as bad as it detractors say” is a good prediction for the future.

  24. michael reynolds says:

    @Hal_10000:

    You know what? Well played.

    I forget sometimes that I’m on the rightward end of Democrats and we do have our panic-mongers. Of course ours are just dumb, not driven by nativism, racial animus and homophobia, but I couldn’t argue too hard against any of your list except Libya, which is a mess, but not our mess and cost us pocket change.

  25. Pinky says:

    Grewgills – Has it even been 24 hours since you told me that accusations of racism and idiocy are a rarity on this site?

  26. David M says:

    @Pinky:

    Assuming you are correct, and those accusations are fairly commonplace, I think it’s worth looking at why. I think the at least half the reason is simply that specific commenters prior contributions, and the generally poor quality of conservative discourse that shows up here. The other factor is the lack other ways to describe the actions taken by the current crop of elected Republicans.

    Alabama requires voter ID and then closes offices in minority areas. Ohio grants waivers for food stamps to rural counties but not urban ones. The national GOP refuses to even discuss reauthorizing the Voting Rights act. The Republican refusal to accept a free lunch and expand Medicaid has greatly impacted minorities. Immigration reform can’t be addressed.

    Add that all up, and the accusations should be more understandable. The general incoherence of modern GOP politics has resulted in a lack of ways to politely but still accurately describe their positions.

  27. DrDaveT says:

    @Hal_10000: OK, I’m slightly more bold than Michael.

    The Libyan intervention would have minimal costs in lives and treasure.

    Compared to Iraq? Absolutely.

    The Bush Prescription drug plan would be an overpriced disaster.

    Are you seriously arguing that it wasn’t? It’s the single biggest contributor to the deficit since it was passed.

    Obamacare would decrease healthcare costs.

    And it might yet. Too soon to tell.

    Obama would bring us into a golden age of international cooperation and worldwide respect.

    I remember it as “Obama would improve our international reputation”. And he has.

    Russia and ISIS weren’t big threats.

    They still aren’t big threats to the US. ISIS is something of a threat to Turkey. Russia is a threat to our nouveau-allies on the Baltic. Other than that… sounds right to me.

    Global warming would make hurricanes more frequent and intense (global warming is real; the connection to hurricanes is tenuous).

    The scientists (and the IPCC reports) made no such claim; they expected the tangible results of climate change to be decades away. The fact that we’re even wondering whether the rash of severe weather is related to climate change or not is evidence that the scientific consensus on global warming was conservative, if anything.

  28. Hal_10000 says:

    Are you seriously arguing that it wasn’t? It’s the single biggest contributor to the deficit since it was passed.

    Actually, the Bush prescription drug program came in under projections. The tax cut was the biggest contributor to the deficit and it really isn’t close.

  29. Grewgills says:

    @Pinky:
    I count 3 mentions of racism in this thread. Two of those are by one of the 3-4 people that I was speaking of when I said almost all of those accusations come from 3-4 commenters.
    If you are referring to my comment, a republican said it about the tea party caucus which at this point is the republican base. Do you dispute his characterization of the tea party republicans?

  30. Grewgills says:

    @DrDaveT:
    To be fair to Hal, he was talking about the left of the Democratic party and there were a fair few and still are that attribute much more to climate change than scientists.

  31. steve says:

    “Actually, the Bush prescription drug program came in under projections.”

    It has cost way more than the Bush admin projected (they silenced internal criticism) but a lot less than most people predicted. However, you are only looking at the cost side. This was totally unfunded. It has greatly added to our debt as the largest unfunded program in our history.

    Steve

  32. KM says:

    @Pinky:
    This is the second thread you’ve decided to tone police. Your comment contributed literally nothing to the discussion or the topic at hand but only reinforced the issue that started all this: drive-by snark designed to complain and needle about “liberals” without useful content regarding the subject matter. When someone commented on Drew doing exactly what you just did, you decided to hijack and derail a decent conversion to complain about how “unfair” the “OTB commentariat” is to conservatives. And are trying to do it again.

    So far, the conservative side of OTB is 0-2 in positive contributions but are taking home the Troll Congeniality Award. So in the interests of fairness and cooperation, here’s an assist to get you back in the game and give us valuable insight into the other side of the equation:

    How do you feel about Doug’s article?
    Ryan pursuing/being pursued for the Speakership?
    The GOP’s handling of this whole situation?

  33. KM says:

    @Hal_10000:
    What’s interesting is the pendulum of nuttery. It used to be the Democrats who had the Crazies with their insipid, unreasonable demands and threats. When I was young, I remember the environmentalists being talked about like they were rabid because they were blowing up garages, chaining themselves to trees and getting hosed down at sea for the whales. My solidly-Republican family talked derisively about how they were the party of loons and crackpots, aging liberal hippie douches. Some 15 years later, my now solidly-Democrat family talks derisively about the GOP and how they are the party of loons and crackpots, aging conservative angry rednecks.

    The only difference is Greenpeace or ELF never had a shot at the highest levels of power to enact their agenda. The usual party breaks to stop the crazy train are in need of repair.

  34. Barrry says:

    @gVOR08: I would not bet a bent penny that Brooks won’t have backed away from that accidental encounter with the truth by next week.

    If that long.

  35. Pinky says:

    @KM: Bad threadiquette on my part, I know. Grewgills made a comment on another thread that seemed outlandish to me, and I pursued the point to this thread. But this thread was illustrative; the original article had nothing to do with racism, but the commenters went there naturally. As to the Ryan situation, I don’t feel like I’ve fallen short, since my comments on the subject over the past week have stirred up more discussion than anyone’s. As to me representing an entire side of the OTB commentariat, it’s odd that you put that phrase in quotes as if I said it, as this is the first time to my memory that I’ve ever typed it.

    @Grewgills: Why do Michael and Cliffy get a pass? They post here maybe two orders of magnitude more often than superdestroyer and whoever else you perceive as their equals in impropriety. You also said that you’re critical of them when they cross the line, and yet you ignored their race angles when they came up

  36. KM says:

    @Pinky:

    Oops! You are correct sir, that was Drew.

    As for the prompting of debate and discussion, I’m all for talking about various topics but as you kindly noted, it’s bad thread etiquette. I stopped lurking here a while ago because I loved the discussions and wanted to be a part of them but it took some courage to break into an existing group that clearly knows one another well. And yes, you are one of the group, even when at odds. I would hate to discourage a future delurker that wants to speak about the blog topic at hand because the thread because a 2-3 voice back-n-forth part 35. Side bars are one thing but this gets out of hand easily.

    We don’t want to turn into Yahoo’s comment section……

  37. Grewgills says:

    @Pinky:
    If you really want to go into it we can go back to that dead thread and do it there. The points I made there stand, but I don’t want to have another thread descend into that crap.

  38. Grewgills says:

    @Pinky:
    If you really want to go into it we can go back to that dead thread and do it there. The points I made there stand, but I don’t want to have another thread derailed.

  39. KM says:

    @C. Clavin @Barrry @gVOR08:

    The spin is already beginning. Limbaugh ain’t taking this lying down!

    David Brooks Says I’ve Ruined Everything in American Politics

  40. Pinky says:

    @KM: So accusing individuals or groups of racism when it’s not related to the OA is good etiquette, and pointing out that people are doing that is bad etiquette. Do you think that random accusations of racism also discourage lurkers from participation? I’ve heard many on the OTB left say that they wished for more participation from the right, after all.

  41. Pinky says:

    @Grewgills:

    it is far from being typical of the OTB commentariat and it is BS to claim that it is so, particularly when no evidence will ever be offered and the same BS claim will just be repeated in another thread

    Do I want you to admit that it happens, or admit when I provide evidence of it, on a dead thread? Ideally, I’d have you admit it on a live thread, and acknowledge it on an ongoing basis. And also not have you call me a tone monitor when you’re tone monitoring me, but that one’s more personal. I’d settle for you explaining why the unnamed 3-4 people get a pass on accusations of racism. Oh, and point out and condemn it when more than those 3-4 do it. So I guess I wouldn’t settle for it at all.

  42. al-Ameda says:

    @Pinky:

    So accusing individuals or groups of racism when it’s not related to the OA is good etiquette, and pointing out that people are doing that is bad etiquette. Do you think that random accusations of racism also discourage lurkers from participation?

    This site – OTB – is tame wen compared to right wing blogs.

    I honestly believe that the right wing does not participate in great numbers here at OTB because they are out-numbered, not because when they do they are accused unfairly of being racist.

  43. David M says:

    @Pinky:

    Given the points I made earlier, I’m not sure why they shouldn’t get a pass. There really aren’t better explanations for the GOP policies at this point. I’ve currently settled on describing them as sociopaths, which covers a wide variety of behavior but doesn’t offend anyone’s delicate sensibilities, they way calling SD a racist apparently did.

    EDIT: there’s a big difference between noticing how the GOP in general is pursuing fairly racist policies, and referring to specific commenters as racists. Aside from the few where it’s well deserved, I don’t think it’s actually that common.

  44. Pinky says:

    @David M: Your earlier comment deserves a longer reply than I’ll probably have time to get to today. Suffice it to say, I believe in Godwin’s Razor: don’t accuse anyone of being Hitler unless that assumption is mandatory.

  45. KM says:

    Isn’t ANYONE going to talk about Ryan on this thread anymore or can we call this one dead already?

  46. Grewgills says:

    @Pinky:

    I’d settle for you explaining why the unnamed 3-4 people get a pass on accusations of racism.

    Breaking it down:
    1) When the accusation by Drew/Guarneri was that accusations of racism and stupidity were the go to response of the OTB commentariat.
    2)You further stated that it was so prevalent that it was the background hum of OTB threads.
    3) I stated that most of those accusations came from a small number of people and it was thus unfair to tar all of the commentariat.
    4) You then somehow think it is proof of yours and Drew’s points that one of those few brought up racism in this thread.

    BTW I wanted to move this to a dead thread so that yet another thread wouldn’t devolve into this, but it appears that you have successfully diverted this conversation, so here we are.

  47. Grewgills says:
  48. Pinky says:

    @Grewgills: I merely noted that the conversation on this thread had already been diverted to racism.

    By the way, is stonetools on your list of 3-4? He accused Republicans of racism in the first comment on the latest horserace article. I don’t remember seeing you condemn him for it over there, or condemn Michael. I see that it’s now a discussion of whether Carson is an Uncle Tom. Stan argued that he isn’t; did Stan make it a dead thread by doing so?

  49. David M says:

    The thread has been dead for a while, I don’t think there was much more that was going to be on topic. Anyway, there aren’t many “open thread” type posts here, so some off-topic discussion is inevitable.

    That said, I did read the post by stonetools, and it’s more right than wrong. I don’t think it rose to the level where pointing it out was worthwhile.

  50. Pinky says:

    @David M: About the voter ID laws: see
    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/391262/voter-id-myth-crashes-mona-charen for an example of making the argument without apparent racist motivation. You don’t have to agree with the argument, only see that it can be made. I don’t want to get too linky here, so you can look up arguments against the Voting Rights Act (including ones made in front of and by the Supreme Court). Republican opposition to expanding social programs like school lunches and Medicare are consistent with their position on smaller (or not-expanding) government.

    As for the voter ID laws, I have to say that it only makes sense to review a policy’s impact, and the US has seen a substantial increase in voter registration policies in the past couple of decades. If you’re running virus protection right now, then you implicitly agree that new technologies open up opportunities for new criminal activity. Even Iraq understood democracy well enough to paint voters’ fingers purple. Voter ID laws aren’t the be-all and end-all of reasonable precautions against voter fraud, but they’re low-hanging fruit. They’re a gimme.

  51. David M says:

    @Pinky:

    In theory, voter ID laws aren’t inherently racist. In practice, the ones pushed by the GOP are, and to such an obvious degree that the party as a whole has lost the benefit of the doubt on the issue.

    There’s no disagreement that there is no significant in-person voter fraud occurring, and voter ID is a solution in search of a problem. There’s also no disagreement that a significant number of people don’t have the necessary ID and that requiring voter ID was always most likely to prevent legitimate votes.

    So any implementation of voter ID done in good faith would have been accompanied by a major push to make sure almost all voters had ID before it was required. But that’s the opposite of what the GOP did, as they typically paired the new voter ID requirement with an effort to make it more difficult to vote, more difficult to register to vote and more difficult to get the required voter ID.

    Where it became unarguably racist was when it was pointed out how these efforts were disproportionately going to impact minority voters, and the GOP not only didn’t care, but stepped up the efforts to restrict voting methods used by minorities. (They pretend it’s meant to target Democratic voters overall, but they’ve chosen to do that by targeting minority voters.)

    Requiring voter ID to prevent in-person voter fraud isn’t going after the low-hanging fruit. At best it’s pointless theater that accomplishes nothing, and probably can’t pass a cost-benefit analysis even if it doesn’t impact anyone. In real life, it’s an direct, intentional attempt to prevent minorities from voting for Democratic candidates.

  52. David M says:

    @Pinky:

    It’s also worth noting that Charen’s article indirectly proves my point. She talks about voters being registered to vote in two states. That’s both completely normal and not something that voter ID can address. She talks about non-citizens voting. Again, that’s a problem that should be fixed during voter registration and that voter ID doesn’t solve. She also admits there isn’t any actual evidence of voter fraud. Finally, she talks about the “integrity of votes”, conveniently ignoring the fact that elections where hundreds of thousands of eligible voters are prevented from voting have much less integrity than if someone might have voted that shouldn’t have.

    Voter ID can’t fix the problems it’s supporters claim to be concerned about, and there isn’t even any evidence of actual voter fraud to prevent. So the stated reasons for wanting voter ID aren’t believable, and we have to look at what the actual results of those policies are, and assume that was what they were trying to accomplish. So preventing minorities from voting is the most likely explanation for the GOP voter ID laws.

  53. Pinky says:

    @David M: That’s the second time you’ve mentioned disparate impact. I think this is a really important point. Conservatives tend to not think in those terms. I suspect that’s the root of a lot of our political disagreements. A law is fair, in a conservative’s mind, if it doesn’t target individuals unfairly. In the liberal’s mind, a law is fair if it results in fair outcome.

    Here’s an example. When liberals complain about the Citizens United ruling, they usually talk about how it will/did damage our political system. It’s perceived as unfair because of its effects. When conservatives complain about “judicial activism”, liberals seem to think that they mean judges overturning laws. The conservative uses the term to refer to a court working backwards from a desired result to the rule that would create it.

    Another example. Conservatives used to say – in good faith – that the laws against gay marriage weren’t discriminatory because they restricted an action (gay marriage) rather than a group (gays). Liberals never believed that that argument was made in good faith. In the conservative perspective, though, the laws were fair because they treated all people equally.

    And the example that came up in this thread: liberals often say that conservatives are racist because they support policies that affect minorities most adversely. Say, the death penalty. There’s plenty of argument about governmental power, or whether the death penalty is a deterrent, but one argument that hardly ever wins over a conservative is that more black people are executed than whites. Statistics show that, for comparable crimes, whites and non-whites receive capital punishment at comparable rates.

    I’m not saying which is right and which is wrong, on any of these issues or a hundred others. I am saying that generally an argument about disparate treatment will persuade a conservative more than a liberal, and an argument about disparate impact will persuade a liberal more than a conservative.

  54. David M says:

    @Pinky:

    But that’s just a bunch of nonsense. When the rubber hits the road, Republicans and conservatives absolutely think in those terms, if it’s something they care about. How could anyone miss the GOP complaining about how Obamacare was going to have a disparate impact on the premiums of younger, healthier adults.

    Secondly, not being aware of the diparate impact stopped being a valid excuse years ago, after the first voter ID laws were passed, and everyone became aware of the actual impact of those laws. It’s also not believable that the GOP keeps passing laws that unintentionally have a negative disparate impact on minority voting rights.

  55. Pinky says:

    @David M: Just do me a favor. Write my little theory on a mental post-it, stick it somewhere inside your skull, and notice it every once in a while. See if it doesn’t help you to understand the other side.

  56. David M says:

    @Pinky:

    Politicians say a lot of things, but what they actually do matters much more. The GOP has talked about having a replacement for Obamacare for years without ever actually taking action, so only a fool would believe they were actually serious. It’s no different with this issue, they can talk all they want about voter fraud and how the laws are color blind, but their actions on the issue contradict their words.

  57. Pinky says:

    @David M: Yes, Mr. Sherman, everything stinks – just, mental post-it, okay?

  58. David M says:

    @Pinky:

    You’ve made your point very well that Republicans shouldn’t be held responsible for the negative effects of GOP policies, because conservatives don’t acknowledge those negative effects are actually real. Your defense of voter ID laws is basically summed up as “they aren’t racist if you ignore what they actually do, and squirrel…over there”. Those arguments are just not very convincing because they require people to ignore reality.

    This goes back to what I’ve been saying for a long time, public policy is difficult, and the GOP really can’t do it anymore. It involves lots of compromises and tradeoffs, and is full of difficult decisions because we live in such a large and diverse country. But the GOP is no longer capable of even acknowledging facts they don’t like or discussing issues they don’t have an easy solution for. In most cases, this just means they stumble around causing random destruction and chaos to whatever is their pet issue of the week. For the voter ID, they stumbled into a fake voter fraud issue of their own making. It’s never been anything real, just something to fool the rubes, and hyped by charlatans and hucksters. Unfortunately for them, falling for their own obvious and racially motivated scam means their intentions in the matter aren’t assumed to be honorable. Same goes for defenders of said policy.

  59. Grewgills says:

    @David M:
    The people writing and pushing the laws through legislatures certainly know that the effects of those laws will be racist. The intent of those laws is to suppress democratic turnout moreso than minority turnout. There is a rather callous disregard on their part to the disparate impact on minorities, but their primary objective of holding on to power is paramount.
    The rank and file that support those laws don’t necessarily know or at least don’t believe in the disparate impact. They are getting their news from sources that deny disparate intent or impact and convince them that in person voting fraud is a real thing and threatens our democracy. I think it is more about ignorance on their part than intentional racism.

  60. David M says:

    @Grewgills:

    I don’t know that I necessarily disagree with any of that, other than the part of about the intent being to target Democratic rather than minority votes. Is it even possible for the GOP to target Democratic voters without targeting minorities? Simply due to the current composition of the voter pools, any attempt to suppress Democratic votes ends up targeting minorities, whether intentional or not.

    As to the rank and file, most are convinced voter fraud is real, and the voter ID laws are in no way racially motivated. The ones actually pushing the “voter fraud” myth on the other hand, I’m not so sure about.

  61. Grewgills says:

    @David M:
    The intent is to hold on to power. To that end some are willing to suppress opposition votes. These schemes are about suppressing opposition votes. They end up targeting poor and minorities because they are opposition votes rather than because of any particular animus against minorities or poor people. That animus may exist, but it isn’t the primary driver.

  62. Pinky says:

    @David M: I hope you recognize that I’m approaching this conversation in a way to encourage mutual understanding. I’m not trying to score points. I’m not trying to argue that either side does a better or worse job understanding reality. (There are other places for that argument.) I’m saying that conservatives will tend to define fairness in terms of equity of application, and liberals will tend to define fairness in terms of equity of results.

  63. Grewgills says:

    @Pinky:
    In the case of voter IDs equity of application would mean equal access to IDs and equal hurdles to getting IDs, not just that everyone must get one. Most of the efforts to date have not been paired with a meaningful effort to ensure equal access to IDs. These qualify as equality in application only if people are putting their heads in the sand.