New Book Tells Us: Whatever Happened to Paul Ryan?

In a companion post today, IndieDems reports on a new book, “American Carnage,” written by journalist Tim Alberta. The book  compiles public reports and on-the-record quotes from prominent Republican officials who criticized Trump before his election, but then changed their tune after he won the GOP presidential nomination and the presidency. The book is not due to be publicly released until next week but some media have reviewed advance copies.

Among the most prominent of the Republicans hypocrites is Paul Ryan, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, who decided not to seek re-election in 2018. Ryan never wavered in supporting Trump for President, while occasionally voicing criticism of some of Trump’s specific acts or deeds. Go to the companion article for a further discussion of how Ryan is depicted in the book.

For here, we could not pass up the opportunity for a brief look again at Ryan’s career. The world had heard little about him since he left Congress in January. As Alberta reminds us, Ryan is the exemplar of the Republicans who occasionally rapped Trump’s knuckles in public, and, according to Alberta, were even more scathing in private–but who ceased to offer any serious criticism of Trump once they discovered how valuable he would be in advancing an extremist GOP agenda.

To sum it up: Ryan and other Republicans decided that they could live with a racist, xenophobic, misogynistic,  and uninformed President–totally unfit to be President–as long as he supported tax cuts for the rich and pandered to the Republican white nationalist base. Other Republicans like Georgia’s three stooges–Senators Isakson and Perdue and Representative Loudermilk–live blissfully with this arrangement.

Whatever behind-the-scene interventions Ryan may have made, he aggressively pushed Trump’s agenda through Congress. He fully supported Trump’s efforts to gut Obamacare, and he was a key leader in securing Trump’s greatest legislative triumph so far: the 2017 tax cuts that were heavily skewed in favor of the rich and gave the middle class crumbs.

Pushing tax cuts for the wealthy-especially, the ones who contribute the most to Republican campaign coffers—was the centerpiece of Ryan’s political career. In fact, Ryan in 2005 gave a speech eloquently proclaiming that he entered politics for the express purpose of implementing the atheistic, anti-Christian, self-centered doctrines of right-wing guru Ayn Rand. “The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand.” Rand’s doctrines are summed up in her book, “The Virtues of Selfishness.”

Ryan never abandoned his worship of Ayn Rand. He made half-hearted statement about distancing himself from her in 2012—after his name began to surface as a potential running mat for Mitt Romney. Remember, Ryan at the time was just another young Republican Congressman, not yet Speaker. The appeal of becoming Vice President as a platform for eventually launching his own presidential bid led him to issue a mealy-mouthed statement separating himself from Rand. But he never repudiated her doctrines or his adherence to them.

That’s the great irony of Paul Ryan. In the very act of (partially) renouncing Rand, Ryan actually acted according to Rand’s basic doctrine: always put self ahead of the common good. His hypocrisy of pretending to turn against Rand served his own self-interest, therefore, it was perfectly OK, according to Rand.

The proof of Ryan’s continued loyalty to the selfish, atheistic, anti-Christian doctrines of Ayn Rand shone forth in his leadership in passing a health-care bill that would deny medical care to tens of millions of Americans–and his statement that an attack on Social Security and Medicare would follow. The self-absorbed hollow man that Ryan is beamed at us in that famous photo of a gaggle of white, affluent, middle-aged males gathering on the White House lawn to celebrate the health bill’s passage. The smirk on Ryan’s face is worth 10,000 words.

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