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Hullabaloo


Thursday, August 12, 2010

 
Bye Bye Bai

by digby


I wish I knew what it was about Paul Ryan in person that makes so many DC insiders all gooey inside. (Maybe it's those blue, blue eyes of his.) Today's Matt Bai encomium is a perfect case in point. Evidently Ryan is so charismatic and intelligent that Bai doesn't even feel the need to bother discussing Ryan's actual beliefs or goals since what matters is his alleged gift for impressing Democrats with charisma and intelligence. (I suppose there might be some truth to that, sadly, but Bai seems to think that a reporter should settle for the same thing.) Ryan's a nice looking guy and he doesn't sound like James Inhofe, but really, all these paeans to his his sharp intelligence and excellent temperament must be a result of something you can only see in person because what he actually says and believes is as radical as it comes. Not to mention kind of ... well ... dumb.

For instance, how can anyone who Glenn Beck loves be considered reasonable. Just this alone should be enough to make anyone take a step back:



GLENN BECK: Nice to meet you, sir. Tell me, tell me your thoughts on progressivism.

PAUL RYAN: Right. What I have been trying to do, and if you read the entire Oklahoma speech or read my speech to Hillsdale College that they put in there on Primus Magazine, you can get them on my Facebook page, what I've been trying to do is indict the entire vision of progressivism because I see progressivism as the source, the intellectual source for the big government problems that are plaguing us today and so to me it's really important to flush progressives out into the field of open debate.

GLENN: I love you.

PAUL RYAN: So people can actually see what this ideology means and where it's going to lead us and how it attacks the American idea.

GLENN: Okay. Hang on just a second. I ‑‑ did you see my speech at CPAC?

PAUL RYAN: I've read it. I didn't see it. I've read it, a transcript of it.

GLENN: And I think we're saying the same thing. I call it ‑‑

PAUL RYAN: We are saying the same thing.

GLENN: It's a cancer.

PAUL RYAN: Exactly.
Look, I come from ‑‑ I'm calling you from Janesville, Wisconsin where I'm born and raised.

GLENN: Holy cow.

PAUL RYAN: Where we raise our family, 35 miles from Madison. I grew up hearing about this stuff. This stuff came from these German intellectuals to Madison‑University of Wisconsin and sort of out there from the beginning of the last century. So this is something we are familiar with where I come from. It never sat right with me. And as I grew up, I learned more about the founders and reading the Austrians and others that this is really a cancer because it basically takes the notion that our rights come from God and nature and turns it on its head and says, no, no, no, no, no, they come from government, and we here in government are here to give you your rights and therefore ration, redistribute and regulate your rights. It's a complete affront of the whole idea of this country and that is to me what we as conservatives, or classical liberals if you want to get technical.

GLENN: Thank you.


I reminds me of early arguments I had on Usenet with libertarians. After a while you realize that it's like playing chess with a four year old. He gets a very intent look on his face and moves the pieces around the board with authority. But he isn't really playing the game.

And look, it isn't necessary to carefully parse his language or try to decipher his philosophy. There's a perfectly adequate shorthand available that can tell you everything you need to know. First, He is still an Ayn Rand acolyte at the age of 40, which means that he is emotionally and intellectually stunted. Second, there's this:


Ryan said his vote for the bailout was influenced by Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism, a popular book among conservatives that argues that Nazism and other fascist movements were actually left wing in origin, and his belief that a second Depression would threaten capitalism—and rescue Obama's presidency.

"I'm a limited-government, free-enterprise guy, but TARP... represented a moment where we had no good options and we were about to fall into a deflationary spiral," he said. "I believe Obama would not only have won, but would have been able to sweep through a huge statist agenda very quickly because there would have been no support for the free-market system."


This is the guy who supposedly understand liberalism as no other Republican politician.

But if that quote is true, he's a liar, or he's stupid. I'm fairly well convinced he's both since only a card carrying moron would think that swill is believable. His argument, such as it is, is especially cheap and idiotic since it's based on the idea that the government had to pump more than a trillion dollars into the financial system in order to prevent it from collapsing. That's quite an endorsement of the Galtian principle.

Ryan is obviously this year's Newtie, another rightwing "intellectual" who enthralled the media for years with his pop conservatism despite the fact that half of what he said was New Age claptrap and the other half was warmed over McCarthyism. Ryan's the new Randian fashion so he's cloaked in a different mantle, but it's the same thing. There seems to be a hunger among the cognoscenti for a conservative they can relate to and apparently Ryan fits the bill at the moment.

Bai characterizes him as the Republican Obama --- cool, cerebral and abstract. (I guess the chattering class is still enthralled by the idea of a college professor to lead us out of the darkness.) But Ryan is a radical right winger with a soft voice and a degree from Atlas Shrugged University who doesn't deserve to be taken seriously as a man of ideas. He's a slick propagandist who's working for the usual wealthy interests, as his silly rationalizations about the TARP demonstrate. Why anyone thinks he's an honest broker is beyond me.

But then, I never got why the Village was so intent on believing John McCain and Lindsay Graham were good faith negotiators either, when their histories are littered with perfidy and betrayal. I guess it's just something those of us who aren't privileged to be in their charismatic physical presences can't see.


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