Paul Ryan’s Rough Return

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Marco Grob for TIME

Paul Ryan’s in a bind. Even as he’s being touted as the great white hope for the GOP in 2016, he’s voluntarily strapped himself to the party’s fast-sinking position on the fiscal cliff as a member of House Speaker John Boehner’s negotiating team. Now he has to decide which way to go: embrace a tax-hike deal, if one takes shape, and risk enraging the right; or buck compromise and potentially split the party.

Which way will Ryan go? “I believe, in this budget fight, that you can get to common ground without compromising principles,” he told TIME Tuesday evening in the House budget committee offices. But moments later Ryan declares that common ground is only possible “so long as the [tax] rates are not going up.”

We have a close look at Ryan’s ambitious attempt to reconcile his new national status with his wonky budget chairman persona in this week’s magazine (available to subscribers here). Among the interesting details we get at in part through Ryan’s first national print interview since the vote:

-His quick decision to return to the House, ignoring the advice of campaign aides, in part thanks to Boehner’s entreaties the morning after the vote.

-How the fiscal cliff is partly a problem of his own making—he and his budget committee staffers are the ones who rewrote the 1985 Budget Act in a mad 48-hour rush in the summer of 2011, effectively turning long-dormant sequestration back on.

-How many dozens of votes advisers think Ryan takes with him either way as he weighs compromise on the fiscal cliff.

-Ryan’s efforts to distance himself from the failed Romney campaign, and to reestablish himself as a defender of the poor—even as he sells broad cuts to the programs the Catholic bishops say are crucial to fighting poverty.

It is interesting to watch Ryan try to readjust. While advisers say some GOP House leaders have an air of inevitable concession about them in the fiscal cliff talks, Ryan seems to be still swept along by campaign-style certainty that the President can be outmaneuvered. Ryan has yet to figure out an end-game: a dangerous position for someone who has his sights set on another White House run.

81 comments
DavRi
DavRi

If he is a 'wonk'  then I am Einstein.


what a pathetic pol.

DonRamsey
DonRamsey

The most amazing, and depressing thing of all is that Paulie is considered a "wonk" or intellect of any kind. Only a bunch or desperate, ignorant  people would follow him so blindly. His "budget" is something that a second year econ student would get a C- for.

BruceS78
BruceS78

At the rate we are going, the tax rates will go up for all of us simply because the current rates expire on Dec. 31, 2012.  I don't see how the Republicans can prevent a tax increase by refusing to work with the Democrats.  So the tax rates go up, sequestration starts on January 1, 2013, we get a new Congress, and then the fools have to deal with a depressed economy and a debt ceiling mess.   I don't see how the Republicans can win in this mess unless they simply are out to destroy the country.

sacredh
sacredh

"But moments later Ryan declares that common ground is only possible “so long as the [tax] rates are not going up.”

.

Only in wingnut land. You run on no tax hikes for the wealthy. The guy that runs on raising taxes on the wealthy creams you and your running mate. In Tea Bagger land that means that common ground is your way or no way at all. I wonder if 2016 will be easier for the democrats than 2012 was? Ryan and his co-horts seem intent on making it so.

roknsteve
roknsteve

Paul Ryan is such a nimbnull I can't even think of anything funny or stupid to say about him.  OT, I post and leave likes when I can get thru the Livefryer.  I have to disable my pop-up blocker to comment.  Oh well, I can always decorate for Christmas.  I'm no Sacredh in that department.  

paulejb
paulejb

Republicans should just give Obama what he wants. The American people voted for European Socialism. Let them have it.

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

On the one hand, I want Ryan and all these other Tea Party heroes to keep swinging right so we can cream one of them in 2016.

On the other hand, I don't want the cliff.

Dangit, now I sound like a Republican.

Sue_N
Sue_N

Aw, da poor baby! *pets Ryan … then knees him in the nuts*

Seriously, didn't we destroy this "policy wonk" crap when it was discovered that his boy-genius plan wouldn't, you know, work?

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

Jim DeMint just announced he's leaving Congress to go lead the Heritage Foundation.  What a fitting place for someone like him: a neo-conservative foundation dedicated to spewing out GOP factoids and talking points.

MrObvious
MrObvious

 But moments later Ryan declares that common ground is only possible “so long as the [tax] rates are not going up.”

It's known as the uncommon ground. Also the bend-over and take it version.

My answer would be - you lost the tax battle big time. Landslide electoral votes, popular vote number largest since Eisenhower. Can you spell mandate? 2 main campaign differenses - tax cuts end or more tax cuts. More tax cuts lost.

So YOU take it and STFU. Ayn Randism lost.

HudsonValleyTim
HudsonValleyTim

Ok, so let me be the first to say this...Could this be happening to a nicer guy?  After slinging mud and blowing smoke through the whole presidential campaign, I'm just so happy to see that Ryan is getting to reap the fruits of his labor.  I seriously hope he lies awake in bed at night wondering how he painted himself into such a tight corner.

Of course, the obvious solution to his problem is to simply go-over the cliff, let the rates go up, then magically agree to the bill-in-waiting that returns the tax-cuts to everyone but the top 2%.  It's gonna happen...just wait and see.  But I, for one, am getting tired of being played by congress.

grape_crush
grape_crush

> Ryan’s efforts to [...] reestablish himself as a defender of the poor...

Sorry, must have missed when that was established in the first place. The only thing I remember Ryan doing that was re-anything was his busted photo op where he re-washed clean dishes at that shelter.

> Ryan seems to be still swept along by campaign-style certainty that the President can be outmaneuvered.

And he still thinks his budget magically adds up, too. He's either Kool-Aid-drinking-dumb or just doesn't give a flying frig because he's now some form of right-wing celebrity who gets featured in Serious Media outlets like Time and is invited to all the Right parties.

Of course he's going to stick to his empty guns; Ryan can personally gain by doing so and a fair amount of wingnut cred to lose if he goes squishy.

Hollywooddeed
Hollywooddeed

Fan boy Paul Ryan can't make his Ayn Rand philosophy elegant or elaborate.  Let's not forget that he has limited himself to... himself.

TyPollard
TyPollard

@roknsteve 

"Paul Ryan is such a nimbnull I can't even think of anything funny or stupid to say about him."

My favorite sentence of the day.

BillyB
BillyB

I can't follow your broken grammar or syntax.  Clearly you are a product of our broken schools.  Set to Ignore.

DavRi
DavRi

@paulejb Honey, you do not even know the meaning of the word - socialism.

you musta learned it on FOX

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@paulejb The smartest thing you have said yet Troll. Minus the Socialism idiocy of course.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@paulejb 

Never mind that's now what we're getting and you don't understand at all what Socialism is.  Either way, it sounds like you're stating you don't need to whine anymore.

Sue_N
Sue_N

@forgottenlord Actually, I do want the cliff (and the end of those middle class tax cuts would hit us hard). I want Obama and the Dems to stand firm, and I want to see the GOPers have to answer to their constituencies, who also would be hit hard.

Right now, the GOPers are being egged on by their idiot base, who seem to be counting on the Dems folding. To them, it's all ideological. But when teh folks at home start losing chunks of their paychecks, then it will become real. And it will the GOP that pays the price.

MrObvious
MrObvious

@DonQuixotic 

Intellectual inbreeding at its finest. Not exactly a widening of the spectrum of ideas. That's alright; they need another Clown to drive the tireless whitedream truck deeper into the ditch.

notLostInSpace
notLostInSpace

@MrObvious  It is hard to believe that Ryan and his ilk read Ayn Rand.  For one thing, she believed strongly in women's rights!  Aren't women in 'binders' to this group of people?  When I found out Ryan was a huge fan of Rand I lost a weekend laughing.  If she were alive she'd have nothing to do with him.

BillyB
BillyB

What mud exactly did he sling?  You people only see life through your grabhanded Obama colored glasses.  Get over it you won.  You recruited and amnestied and anchor babied your way to a supermajority for the next 100 years.  Congrats.  I will go back to my welfare state tiny paycheck and TV dinner now.

bobell
bobell

Ryan has been exposed as a liar, and all but the fringe now know his budget "plan" is a fraud.  He's trying to recast himself as a compassionate conservative, but his "help" for the poor consists primarily of depriving them of needed assistance so they'll go out and get jobs -- in this terrific employment market, no less.

I hope the people of Janesville are paying close attention.

MrObvious
MrObvious

@grape_crush 

The complete sentence is 'defender of the poor rich people.' Only then does it make sense.

Of course unless there are some other clean dishes he can fix in order to prove just how much he cares about homeless people.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@grape_crush 

The last true champion for the poor we had was John Edwards.  It's horribly unfortunate that his own personal mistakes have denied them the person that always had their best interests at heart.

roknsteve
roknsteve

BillyB, Can you read this?  I was replying to the regular posters and didn't know the Syntax Police were in the building.  You must drive your wife crazy if you don't have a hobby.   

MrObvious
MrObvious

@DonQuixotic @paulejb 

Fact

Most looked up words during the election - Capitalism and Socialism. Ignorant twits like paulejb helped people who don't know educate themselves after spouting the nonsense all the time.

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

@Sue_N

The base is going to be convinced that the reason their paycheck went up because the Dems did not do the "responsible thing" and capitulate completely.  You know that's what Fox is going to sell them.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@Sue_N @DonQuixotic 

Well it is South Carolina.  I'm sure he'll be replaced by another feckless conservative goon, or god forbid, a Tea Party candidate.

TyPollard
TyPollard

@bobell 

I expect to see him on my TV for the next 40 years, held in high esteem by what is left of the oh-so -serious, centrist corporate media.

grape_crush
grape_crush

>The last true champion for the poor we had was John Edwards.

In retrospect, I don't know if Edwards was a 'true champion' of anything, but his Presidential campaign was responsible for shifting the economic conversation away from a business-uber-alles econcomic discussion into something that was more populist in tone. The whole 'Two Americas' theme resonated with the public because it's true. You could see echoes of it in the whole '99%' Occupy theme, which was in itself a (necessary) conversation changer.

If I would pick a 'most recent true champion for the poor,' it would be those people in Zuccotti Park.

Sue_N
Sue_N

@tommyudo And the "anti-federal government assistance" fever is wildly ironic, since SC has, what, seven or eight military bases? Yeah, I'm sure those "government employees" don't pump anything into the state's economy.

tommyudo
tommyudo

Good riddance to bad rubbish. It will definitely be  another neo-segregationist wearing the clothing of low taxes , deficit cutting and anti-federal governent assistance. SC is the state that fired the first shot in the Civil War and the scent of treason still runs deep there.

MrObvious
MrObvious

@Sue_N @DonQuixotic 

It's because Texas and Florida have a fresh influx of DNA into their genetic pool through immigration.

South Carolina can only lose so many teeth.

Sue_N
Sue_N

@DonQuixotic @Sue_N True. I honestly think South Carolina is a lost cause. Long after Texas and Florida have come to their senses, we'll still be dealing with the Palmetto State's insanity.

MrObvious
MrObvious

@TyPollard @MrObvious @bobell 

I'm only touched by the 'stuff'' when flipping channels. I use a heavy filter of fake news ridiculing 'real' news to survive the encounter.

On contact rinse your eyes with acid.

MrObvious
MrObvious

@TyPollard @bobell 

There's a reason why I don't watch national news channels and Fox. There's enough fiction out there with better CGI. I only watch ironic material done by people who know I'm aware that they're just making shit up.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@grape_crush 

True.  These are the same people that were right on the ground throughout the Sandy relief effort doing all they could to help people.

bobell
bobell

Ryan wants to be a champion, too.  Unfortunately, his idea of a champion appears to be someone who beats the crap out of people.