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Hullabaloo


Monday, June 20, 2016

 
Poor Paulie and all his great big wonderful plans

by digby

























This piece by Brian Beutler about Ryan's dilemma is a real work of insight.  Not only does he get at why Ryan is so stymied but also at the essential void at the center of his Big Strategy. An excerpt:

For a man as close to achieving what no conservative in the history of the movement has achieved, Ryan’s crass expediency isn’t nearly as baffling as it seems. His plan for igniting a conservative revolution has always been fairly straightforward: First, Republicans have to win control of government, and then they can ignite a conservative revolution.

The details of Ryan’s vision have always remained somewhat foggy. The conservative revolution Ryan has in mind isn’t a popular or cultural one; it is entirely legislative. And the predicate for enacting it isn’t to sell a set of ideas to the public, but to steel the spines of legislators to vote for Ryan’s ideas no matter what the public thinks.
Ryan’s revolutionary ideas themselves aren’t entirely clear, either, though that wasn’t always the case. Before he became the undisputed intellectual leader of the conservative movement in the Obama era, he laid out a series of specific and radical reforms–including Social Security and Medicare privatization–in a 2008 bill called the Roadmap for America’s Future. When it fell to him as chairman of the House budget committee to draft a governing agenda for the whole party, though, many of the details vanished.
Ryan still wants to devolve Medicare into a subsidized system of competition between insurance carriers, but only for seniors in the distant future. He still wants to hand Medicaid over to the states and slash its budgets by hundreds of billions of dollars. He still wants to cut income tax rates for the wealthy to about a third of their current level. He still wants to spend lavishly on the military. But when asked how to pay for it all, he’s exceedingly vague. He promises to cut tax expenditures, but doesn’t say how or which ones. He promises to slash the domestic discretionary budget (which disproportionately benefits the poor), but won’t say which programs, or by how much. 
All of that was to be decided after Republicans won the White House. That was Ryan’s game plan when he was budget chairman; it remained his game plan as the GOP’s vice presidential nominee in 2012. And the plan seemed to be well within reach when Republicans finally consolidated control of Congress in 2015, and a raft of talented candidates were lining up to fill the last piece of the puzzle: the presidency.
Donald Trump’s GOP presidential primary victory has almost surely blown up Ryan’s plans. Trump has the Republican Party poised not just to lose the White House, but to suffer a devastating down-ballot wipeout that could conceivably end the GOP’s congressional majority. And even if he weren’t a generationally bad candidate, Trump has shown little interest in Ryan’s fiscal agenda. “This is called the Republican Party, it’s not called the Conservative Party,” he reminded the conservative movement last month.
But Ryan has been unable to accept that reality has departed irrevocably from his expectations.

And that is why he finds himself lashed to the mast of the sinking ship Trump.
And evidently he still thinks this great plan might be possible. He'll just present trump with the legislation and Trump will sign it like a good boy. Because that's just the type of guy he is ...

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