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Speaker Paul Ryan Will Not Seek Re-election in November

Ryan hangs ’em up

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He was always insufferable, with his Eddy Munster haircut and his ballyhooed workout routine, his bullshit corn-fed aw-shucks smile-while-he-shivs-you demeanour, and his love of that appalling nut-bar Ayn Rand, whose anti-social Objectivist screeds were required reading for his staffers – no fooling, he actually forced them to read it. He came on like he was some sort of boy genius policy wonk, and the Press ate it up, mostly because he was one of the only Republicans left who claimed to have objective evidence to support his views, and because his fascination with budgets made him look like a technocrat. Accounts of his policy prowess tended to gloss over the way his numbers never added up, and the terrifying cruelty of everything he proposed, but he had charts, and that was so refreshing these days wasn’t it?

His mission in life was to slash the revenues of government, so as to starve all those misguided social programs – the dreaded Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid vampires that were sucking decent rich white people dry – and his schtick was to harp on deficits, always deficits. It was an easy case to make. Just look at how out of whack government finances were! Look, look! We spend more than we take in!  Oodles more! What would happen to you if you ran your house that way? Never mind that his branch of government was able to borrow money essentially for free, and that anyway the deficits were born of idiotic tax cuts that Republicans always promoted to the exclusion of everything save exorbitant military spending. No, no, it wasn’t a revenue problem, it was a spending problem, because all those undeserving slobs in the lower classes kept coming back with their hands outstretched, always with that “please sir can I have some more” shit-eating grin on their faces, as if they actually deserved a free lunch, as if they weren’t outright fleecing their betters, the selfish bastards. Get a job! Why should we high-earning white folk job creators owe all of those – those – poor brown people, there, I said it – anything more than a position mopping floors after hours in our shiny towers, I mean, shit, man, we’ll supply the mops. What did they want? Why wouldn’t they just help themselves? They all needed to read Atlas Shrugged, then they’d see. Saint Ayn would set them straight, or would if they could read anyway.

All of that monstrous New Deal welfare state apparatus, what was left of it, all those discredited programs still limping along in the 21st century – oh, if only FDR had never been born! – it all had to go. It didn’t work anyway, look around, had poor people disappeared? Nope. They were still clogging up the welfare rolls in their witless droves, because everybody made it easy for them to remain mired in unproductive poverty. Why get a job when we’d hand you food stamps and social security cheques and money for doctors? No wonder the lazy ingrates were happy to stay poor!  Why, it was nothing more than socialism, that foul philosophy of rewarding the losers, the favoured doctrine of the French and their Stinking European Allies. And don’t talk to us about all that fraudulent polling data that purported, year after year, to show that the people in those horrible hives of economic oppression like Denmark and (egads!) Sweden were happier than we were. Yeah, yeah. We heard it. It was transparently a pack of lies, dumbass. You know how you could tell? Simple! The claim was that even the rich people, the winners, were happier! See? Bullshit. Not even those crazed vitamin-D-starved Swedes were that nuts.

So he shouted at the top of his very healthy lungs – did you know about his exercise regimen? He’d posted pictures somewhere, him lifting weights, he was so fit! – so, he screamed right, left, backwards, forwards, and up and down about deficits, deficits, deficits, deficits. He really cared about deficits. Not really, of course, but it was a good way to scare people into cutting back on all the government handouts, and a nice way into the tax argument, because golly guess what? If you cut taxes on the most wealthy people, those almost sacred job creators, they’d go out and use all that extra cash to make more jobs, you bet they would, and economic activity would thus increase, the tax base would get bigger, and then sure as night follows day the deficit would go down! It was like magic! You had to slash revenue to boost revenue! Knowing that, you were on solid philosophical fiscal hawk turf when you voted to approve the massive tax cuts that the Congressional Budget Office kept bleating would balloon the national debt by trillions of bucks, because those idealogues at the CBO, lefty liberals all of ’em, didn’t factor in how much extra money was going to roll in once we stopped taking it away from the poor abused job creators. He had charts that proved it:

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See? The lowest rates of taxation produce the highest revenues, look at the curve, that proves it. Hadn’t it been shown to be true, time and again? Sure, there might be a lag between the cuts being made and the revenues rolling in, an interval when it looked, misleadingly, like slashing taxes on the top 0.01 per cent was actually causing revenues to plummet, but that was just an illusion, and actually, it was a useful illusion, since fear of deficit apocalypse was likely to prompt – finally – the cutbacks in all those socialist boondoggles, the real object of the exercise. Because deficits aside, it was just wrong to ask those that had the wealth to share it with those that didn’t. Immoral. Losers deserved to lose, or else they wouldn’t have lost. Ayn said so. Jesus too, pretty sure.

OK, the Trump Thing, fine, let’s talk about it if we must. Yes, our Paulie used to insist that he could never support such a racist misogynist buffoon as party leader, and yes, he changed his tune when said buffoon pulled off what amounted to a coup and turned Republicanism into Trumpism. So what? So did every Republican. Sometimes you had to compromise to seize the reins of power, no? Remember how it worked out back when they were running on a conventional Republican platform, back when Paul was supposed to become Veep under President Romney? The poor, brainwashed slobs of the electorate hadn’t gone for it, had they? We got that African guy instead, didn’t we? So maybe you had to take a different tack. Maybe you had to feed the boobs the red meat they liked the most, and that was OK, because once in power the righteous Republican machine could start to work its wonders, and really do good for the country. Ends justifying means and all that. Besides, Trump could be controlled. The old windbag didn’t actually want to govern, he just wanted the title, it was good for business. He’d get out of the way and let the wonks like Paul do their thing, yup, he’d sit in his big leather chair behind the Resolute desk and sign whatever was pushed under his nose, you know it was just like Grover Norquist had famously said, what we needed was a hand in the Oval with enough digits to hold a pen, that’s all. Then it’d be cut, cut, cut! Like Christmas, really, except taking instead of giving. Same idea.

Wait, what? Cut the Pentagon budget too? No. No, that was worthy expenditure. You had to protect yourself, right? There were enemies everywhere, all of them sore losers, jealous of US prosperity, of the Blessed Freedoms that were the envy of right-thinking people all over the world. Now, it was obvious, wasn’t it, that if you needed an Army and Air Force and all that, no one person or even discreet group of people, however wealthy, could supply it. Jesus Christ, did you know what a single aircraft carrier cost these days? Had you priced an F-35 lately? To get that sort of thing going, you had to mobilize the combined resources of a whole society, make everybody chip in for the common good, and then all of them would build together what none could build alone. Big things called for big public outlays sometimes, what could you do?

It was a mystery, the way that people just didn’t get it.

The veep position never panned out, but Speaker of the House wasn’t a bad second best, and it was great while it lasted; or, rather, it started out great, before everything went South, and it turned out that his own party was essentially ungovernable and incapable of doing anything with the power, the precious, once in a lifetime opportunity, that was now within its grasp. Maybe that’s why Boehner called it quits, come to think of it. It could drive you right ’round the bend. No matter what you came up with, there’d be some softie faux Republican from Maine or somewhere claiming that it was too cruel for the people in her district, and even more loons on the Far Far Right, the Tea Party types and that freak Rand Paul, who’d stomp their little feet and vow to sit on their hands come voting time because it wasn’t cruel enough. Christ, even getting the tax cuts through was a near run thing, and that’s what Republicans do – it’s all they do. It was just so frustrating.

Best to just pack it in. Apart from the soul-destroying grind of trying to herd unruly Republican kitties, it looked like it would be tough to keep his seat next time, what with all those scary special election thumpings they were taking, and everybody talking about a coming Blue Wave – apparently, the dim-bulbs in the public still didn’t see how the tax cut was going to benefit them personally. Which was crazy, right? He’d even laid it out for them, tweeting how great it was:

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If that didn’t convince them, what would? Now, there was still a chance, a good chance really, that people could vote Democrat all they wanted come November, and it wouldn’t matter because of all that crafty Project Red Map gerrymandering they’d pulled off over the past eight years, but even if you held on, it was just so tiresome. You kept leading the stupid horse to water, and the  frigging thing kept refusing to drink of the crisp, cool mountain stream of Sweet Republican Reason.

Plus, you know, Trump. Maybe he wasn’t so easy to manage after all.

No, best to just hang up the cleats.

OK, b-bye then! So long, pal. You can almost hear the bitter sobs of Saint Ayn in the distance. Now, there’s just a few more that’ve got to go – hey, Mitch! – how’re you feeling about things these days? Maybe you could take off with Paul, round up Newt Gingrich, and get one of those couch shows on Fox. Maybe call it Fucks and Friends.

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