If you're from the Janesville area, you may have noticed that the Janesville Gazette posted several articles in the past week on Rep. Paul Ryan, including a front page headliner.
To win such a high profile in the local news, one might think that since Ryan is afterall our congressman, the articles would be about his signature achievements in Congress, or his district accomplishments or proposals to restore trust in government, or how to take moneyed influence out of government. To be fair, producing those stories would be asking the impossible. Instead, the articles promote Paul Ryan. Period. Well, that and his ghost-written book, "Paul Ryan, The Way Forward."
I of course don't intend on buying the book, but from everything I could gather after reading several reviews, the book is loaded with personal denials, philosophical reversals and misguided party politics, and is meant to reshape his image as a centrist by default, setting the stage for an apparent comeback in 2016.
We know from the past that Ryan has repeatedly demonized the Left, Liberals, Progressivism and Liberal Progressivism. He has gone as far as calling progressivism a "cancer." He doesn't like us. We get that. But pretty low stuff from someone now claiming his party or "movement" needs to shoot for more inclusivity.
This is where Ryan, at least by the message I gathered from the reviews, now attacks the Right and Conservatism. He's taking sort of a newspaper editor's view to achieve centerism or political balance. It works like this: if both sides attack me, I must be doing something right.
Except, the main difference between Ryan and the typical newspaper editor is, the editor is working within a business model (not all, a growing number are working a political model) to gain customers - to unify and prosper. Ryan on the other hand, is working in a political model - to divide and conquer. You do that by trashing everyone, even if it means being called a betrayer by your own base. In fact, I believe Ryan sees that internal derision as a sign of success for his book.
In one key passage from his book about House conservatives efforts to cause the federal government to default, he writes:
It was a suicide mission. This can’t be the full measure of our party and our movement. If it is, we’re dead and the country is lost.
If it was a suicide mission, Paul Ryan killed himself. He not only voted in favor of defaulting on U.S. government debt, but several observers noted that at a most crucial time during the standoff, when true leaders were needed to negotiate, he stood with the obstruction behind closed doors.
Huff Post Excerpt:
Either way, the shutdown continued. And in the subsequent days, Ryan dug in. The Washington Post reported on Oct. 12 that in a closed-door meeting, he railed against a bipartisan Senate deal to reopen the government, "saying the House could not accept either a debt-limit bill or a government-funding measure that would delay the next fight until the new year."
Conservatives who consider themselves "true" including the tea party nutters aiming to obstruct government, loved Paul Ryan for that. Although they may have had earlier doubts, they figured deep down, he's with them.
But that key passage from his book now trashes everything they all stood for, and conservatives have noticed.
Not only just that, but Ryan's book passage also implies, albeit indirectly, that if the White House and Senate had been controlled by Republicans during the shutdown standoff, that if they had single-party conservative rule undivided government, their suicide mission to default would have succeeded. The country would have been lost. Indirectly again, Ryan is admitting that indeed it was moderates and Democrats who saved the country.
Conservatives get that too and now feel totally betrayed by Ryan and his book.
After being rejected in the 2012 race for the White House, Ryan must focus on efforts to move to the center without compromising on policy or issues. As I see it, the congressman no longer needs to bother trashing the Left or Liberals. The damage is done and he's good with that.
His only way to arrive at that center sweet spot for his political ambitions is through default - by forcing conservatives to push him there. Point is; you're not in the center until you're despised by both sides.
It's more of that good ol' fashioned Paul Ryan inclusivity.
Politico - Ryan The Betrayer
Drudge - Paul Ryan Rewrites His Government Shutdown Role
The Guardian - Paul Ryan's American Idea is Mad Libs with a thesaurus full of conservative lies
AATP - Paul Ryan Lies Through His Tea-Stained Teeth about Government Shutdown HE CAUSED!