Sam Rayburn, the man who served as speaker of the House for longer than anyone in American history, held the office for more than 17 years — and that included such trying times as much of the Great Depression and all of the Second World War.
Paul Ryan, the duplicitous Ayn Rand acolyte whose main skill is playing the mores and anxieties of credulous journalists like a Fisher-Price piano, is giving up after only three years. In a press conference Wednesday, he announced he would not be seeking re-election this year.
Ryan’s abbreviated political career — he took office in 1999, but is only 48 years old — is a testament to the depth of the intellectual and moral rot in the GOP. He is the second consecutive Republican to be chewed up in the speaker’s office; his predecessor John Boehner lasted a bit over four years before resigning abruptly in 2015 after relentless criticism from his own party.
The problem for both Boehner and Ryan was rooted in the fact that the Republican Party has for well over a decade now been running on the political equivalent of a paper bag and a can of spray paint. Any inconvenient facts, like climate change or the deficit-exploding effects of tax cuts for the rich, were simply denied. The cautious moderate Barack Obama, well to the right of Nixon or Eisenhower on some important economic questions, and so desperate for bipartisan support he was willing to countenance large cuts to Social Security and Medicare to get it, was portrayed by the GOP as basically a Marxist guerrilla who had faked his citizenship.
As Alex Pareene has written, during the Obama years the GOP transformed into a party with a base largely composed of “riled-up kooks” to one where a critical mass of elected officials and most of the conservative media elite became just as nutty.
Paul Ryan cruised to national prominence on the realization that there was no longer any immediate penalty for a Republican lying constantly, about everything. (Donald Trump would later take advantage of this fact.) Ryan spent the Bush presidency earnestly recommending the books of Ayn Rand, and railing against fiscal conservatism. He demanded even larger tax cuts for the rich and scorned those in his party who would try to pay for them.
But in 2009, as the deficit exploded due to the recession, Ryan turned on a dime …read more
Source:: The Week – Politics