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The Further Adventures of Paul Ryan, Serious Policy Wonk of Great Seriousity

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ryan is a working man

One of the most ludicrous frauds in American politics is Paul Ryan’s ability to convert exactly one note — a Cliff’s Notes version of John Galt’s courtroom speech, with Special Guest Appearances at soup kitchens to make his rapacious support for upward wealth distribution to look like concern for the poor people whose lives his political career is devoted to making worse — into a reputation is a serious policy wonk. But his attempt to defend his we’ll-have-a-plan-soon to strip health care from millions of people is making him look especially ridiculous:

Having the freedom to “buy what you want” sounds good! Only in the context of health care, it’s a disaster for the non-affluent. Many people cannot afford basic health care services, and the vast majority of people cannot afford care for an unexpected major illness. Giving rich and poor people alike the “freedom” to purchase as much health care as they think they need is a cruel joke, not a serious health care policy. And it’s worse than that; people cannot, in fact, reliably predict how much health care they might “need” in the future, which is why insurance is necessary for practical access to health care in the first place.

Ryan is also attacking the regulations that require insurance—both employer-provided and purchased on exchanges—to meet minimum coverage requirements. But this is not “freedom” of any value.  Regulations that protect customers from junk insurance reduce their “freedom” in the sense that FDA regulations take away people’s “freedom” to buy beef laced with strychnine. It’s true that under the ACA young and healthy people pay more for insurance than they would under a “free market” in health care, but this is how insurance works: You pay more now so you can afford insurance later. Objecting to the ACA because the young and healthy pay more than they otherwise would is like saying its unjust to pay taxes to support the fire department when your house hasn’t burned down.

While it would be very wrong to be complacent, at least it’s looking more and more likely that Ryan won’t be able to pull ACA repeal off. That members of Congress who actually believe this abject nonsense about the value of the freedom to be bankrupted by and perhaps to be killed by preventable illnesses might be responsible for saving the ACA would be like a black fly in your Chardonnay, but we also have to credit the many members of the public who have stood up to Ryan’s war on access to health care.

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  • ΧΤΠΔ

    I thought ZEGS’ media reputation — and by extension his career — had finally been finished after he’d shown his ass as a mythomaniacal crayon-scribbler during the 2012 campaign.

    Ah, to be 17 and stupid again, a mere 52 months ago.

  • At this point, it looks like the only way the ACA gets outright repealed is if it’s one of those middle-of-the-night surprise deals. I wouldn’t put that past them, and I fully expect them to find subtler ways to kneecap the law, but so far so good.

    • Snarki, child of Loki

      “the only way the ACA gets outright repealed is if it’s one of those middle-of-the-night surprise deals”

      With an unrecorded “voice vote” also, too.

      Because the modern GOP is nothing if not proud of their policies, and having the courage to stand up and be counted.

      Yeah, right.

      • humanoid.panda

        You can do it in the House, but not so much in the senate, right? There is cloture, and after that 4 days of debate or whatever?

    • Colin Day

      I fully expect them to find subtler ways to kneecap the law, but so far so good.

      The good news is that the Republicans will have to learn to be subtle, which I suspect will occur at roughly the same time that Rick Perry receives a Nobel Prize in Physics for his work in quantum cosmology.

      • LosGatosCA

        I think you meant cosmetology.

        Alas, he’s a beauty school dropout.

  • tsam

    Remember kids, if you just got something to eat that your black lazy stupid parents didn’t cough up the money for, YOU’RE the one with an empty soul.

  • howard

    the thing is, clowns like ryan, who think they are such supporters of pure capitalism, most assuredly haven’t read adam smith, who knew the importance of regulation and anti-trust right from the start.

    • Schadenboner

      Adam Smith is (essentially) Jesus to these people.*

      There’s what he said and there’s “what he said” and ne’er the twain shall meet.

      *: Jesus is also Jesus to these people, in the same sense.

    • Lurking Canadian

      Even fucking Hayek was OK with regulations. And welfare programs. These people are just into cruelty for its own sake.

      • Eh. I really think it’s more ‘depraved indifference’ than actual malice. Not that driving into a crowd is less evil if you didn’t care that people were on the sidewalk than it would if you wanted to run over someone on the sidewalk.

        • LosGatosCA

          Obviously you don’t speak to many of these ‘indifferent’ folks. My take is that they don’t have a conscience and they prefer it that way.

          They understand what they are doing and the pain they cause is a feature, not a bug.

    • Dagmar

      At one time, I would have chimed in with support for your proposition, which is undeniably true, but Schadenboner gets it. The clowns like ryan don’t care about the parts of Adam Smith that don’t support rapacious greed and similarly, they don’t care about the parts of Jesus that disagree with their politics.

      • howard

        oh, i agree with schadenboner too!

    • Domino

      This reminds me of Paul Ryan’s inadvertent side-effect of his plan to privatize SS would result in the SSA buying every publicly traded company, therefore having the State own the means of production.

      Found an article mentioning the plan

    • Rob in CT

      Ayn Rand wrote Ryan’s bible.

  • rea

    There was a Republican Congressperson on NPR this morning spouting the same sort of nonsense in a different context. He thinks, or claims to think, that the Consumer Protection Agency deprives consumers of freedom of choice. The all-important freedom to be ripped off . . .

    • howard

      you know, the one thing i admire about the gop, in a technical sense, is how quickly everyone adopts today’s line.

      • efgoldman

        you know, the one thing i admire about the gop, in a technical sense, is how quickly everyone adopts today’s line.

        It’s all fun, games, and theory until their granny or parents lose their savings.

    • Little Chak

      Also on NPR this morning: the head of the National Association of Manufacturers (or some such) was on to pimp Trump’s coming slashing of regulations on manufacturers. (Who needs worker safety? Not Trump voters.)

      When asked by the interviewer about the role of automation, and if the focus on regulations and foreign labor was ignoring the elephant in the room that lower-skilled blue-collar jobs aren’t coming back, he sort-of agreed, but then pivoted to how, under Trump, we’re going to have this amazing technological revolution (because we’re getting rid of regulations), and the amazing things young people are doing now with these new technologies will create so many jobs, and we’re going to have vocational training to help people move to these higher-tech manufacturing jobs…

      Wut.

      I thought the drum that has been beat since Trump got elected was that Democrats have had no good answers for blue-collar Rust Belt workers, because “invest in higher-tech manufacturing and retrain people” isn’t an answer.

      • sigaba

        Blue-collar rust belt workers don’t want solutions for labor, they want blood and soil.

        People want Democrats to have an effective industrial and labor policy. Republican voters just want some bullshit to spout while they kicking people in the face.

        • Domino

          As long as there are people below them on the ladder, they’re happy. It’s part of the human condition – can stand being near the bottom, but can’t bear the thought of being on the bottom rung. Always gotta be someone you’re better than.

          • Brad Nailer

            “The poor you shall always have with you.”

            “Thank God!”

      • BigHank53

        He’d like some tax credits for all the super! new! technologies he’s going to be installing, and maybe also some H1-B visas to staff those new positions, too.

  • My slightly wonkier take, in case anyone is interested. Point is, it’s not just health care, the “free market” is bullshit all the way down.

  • Joe_JP

    flashback: “Firefighters in rural Tennessee let a home burn to the ground last week because the homeowner hadn’t paid a $75 fee.”

    http://www.nbcnews.com/id/39516346/ns/us_news-life/t/no-pay-no-spray-firefighters-let-home-burn/#.WLBezn9R5DU

    [warning: property damage alone didn’t result]

    The pure libertarians will defend something like this, but the average critic regarding the “injustice” of a mandate will not. Ditto taxes or fees going to professional garbage pick-up or police coverage.

    It all is a sort of “insurance,” but by now it seems natural. As is medical insurance for the population in much of the world.

    • Snarki, child of Loki

      That story is like 7 years old, dude.

      Not that things have gotten that much better.

      • Joe_JP

        “Flashback.”

        Scott made a point about someone arguing mandatory fire department coverage being unjust.

        The fact the first thing that pops up is only seven years old in that respect is rather distressing.

        ETA: I’m sure people in the know are aware of that account. They also know about the stuff Scott is saying too. Which he said slightly differently repeatedly. So, if I’m being a tad redundant here in making my point, I don’t really mind.

  • Thrax

    I’m still nervous about the “have HHS hamstring the law, claim it isn’t working and that this terrible replacement will be better” strategy. At a minimum, if the law is still around in a year, I expect HHS to deliberately botch, or completely skip, the enrollment campaign, which may lead to private groups trying to fill the gap by advertising the information that HHS is trying to keep under wraps. There may be lawsuits against HHS, trying to compel it to do its job, though those would be hard to win.

    One potential saving grace is that the GOP isn’t going to want its votes on this to be anywhere near the midterms. The longer they wait for HHS’s sabotage campaign to bear fruit, the more politically risky it gets for them to hold a repeal vote. But I’m still nervous.

    • howard

      there is no doubt that the administration can harm the aca administratively even if it can’t croak it altogether: the only good thing to say about that is that administrative harm can be undone in the future more readily than repeal.

      unless, of course, the administrative harm convinces the vast majority of insurers to withdraw from most markets, which is easy enough to imagine.

      so while the odds for aca survival look better than they did in november, vigilance all the way.

      • Thrax

        Here’s Trump this morning:

        “I tell them, from a purely political standpoint, the single best thing we can do is nothing. Let it implode completely,” Trump said, referring to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price.

        “It’s already imploding completely. The carriers are leaving. I mean, it’s a disaster. Two years, don’t do anything. The Democrats will come to us and beg for help. Beg. And it’s their problem. But it’s not the right thing to do for the American people. It’s not the right thing to do,” he concluded.

        http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/trump-obamacare-covers-very-few-people

        …which indicates that they’re already thinking this way, if nothing else as a backup plan should they find themselves lacking the votes in the short term (which seems likely).

        • Thrax

          One good thing about Trump’s framing is that he’s more or less committed himself to covering *more* people than the ACA covers in any replacement plan. I guess, if the sabotage campaign is effective enough, that might not end up being meaningful, but we can hope that a fair number of people will hang onto their coverage.

          • DrDick

            And you believed that? Since when has he ever followed through on a promise that would help people?

        • Domino

          “You had healthcare under the law, but now no longer do? Blame the political party that literally holds no power at the moment”.

          Also hilarious to me that Trump has convinced himself Dems will be asking for his help. He really has no clue.

          • sigaba

            Let’s just wait and see what’s in Manchin’s grovelling letter to HHS in a year.

            Also Trump considers any criticism of him at all to be begging.

            • Domino

              Manchin (and potentially Heitkamp) are their own entities, and I’m fine with them doing what they need to do to try and be re-elected. But those 2 are unique cases, and pretty much the entire rest of the party are unified.

          • Linnaeus

            A good part of the Republican approach to governing has been to cripple government functions and then use that crippling to “prove” that government doesn’t work. That strategy just might backfire with respect to the ACA.

            • Steve LaBonne

              I don’t think they can get away with it when they hold the White House, which is believed by the low-info types to be responsible for everything that happens.

        • Jack M.

          He really doesn’t recognize even the concept of ‘other people,’ does he?

  • leftwingfox

    At the same time they scream “choice”, they lay the groundwork towards for-profit monopolies:

    http://www.ibtimes.com/political-capital/anthem-cigna-merger-ties-donald-trump-mike-pence-jeff-sessions-insurance-giant

    • wengler

      It’s almost like Marx figured out capitalism is a racket over 150 years ago.

  • dogboy

    Can we start labeling that photo as Fake News whenever it’s used? That shot goes with Bush’s Iraq turkey photo as egregious propaganda. We didn’t have the meme-cabulary for it before, but Fake News is as Fake News does now. Paul Ryan dressed up and pretended to wash dishes for the forsaken. There should be a giant “This is not real” stamped, like a boot print, on it forever.

    • sigaba

      I’m opposed to the term “fake news” in principle just because it’s imprecise. But burning in “STAGED PHOTOGRAPH” does the same work and is much less politically disputable.

    • Dagmar

      Anybody who shows up to wash pots in a soup kitchen wearing a starched shirt, silk tie, and doesn’t take off his watch is a pompous ass. Anybody who claims to wash pots in a soup kitchen and doesn’t have wet hands or water spots on his apron is a fraud.

  • sleepyirv

    I suppose it’s how you define “wonk.” I disagree with liberals who (unlike Scott) suggest Paul Ryan is stupid. I think Ryan is very smart who is also very evil.

    He has a very firm grasp of the details on all his tax cuts, health care vandalism, and various other GOP goodie bag policies he supports. He just knows the details make his beliefs vastly unpopular for most people so they must be ignored, changed, or obfuscated for his preferred Randian outcomes. And the press is simply incapable of clarifying or getting into the weeds with him. Hence he can keep his “serious man of seriousosity” cred without ever having to learn any new tricks.

    • Scott Lemieux

      I think Ryan is very smart

      Eh. He’s a mediocrity who has never said anything you haven’t heard hundreds of times from other Republican hacks.

      • Joe_JP

        He looks smart to many people at least. Looking and sounding smart is half the battle, at least, here. Plus, he is so young and precious.

        • sigaba

          Isn’t he sortof tall too? That’s tends to put most people over in-person.

      • Roberta

        Liberals are so pathetically desperate to find a smart, noble conservative who has intellectually compelling and principled ideas. When will we finally ditch this Aaron Sorkin fantasy? The other side is bad. There are good people who’ve been seduced or duped into agreeing with it, but the leaders are bad.

        • CP

          “Arnie Vinick Syndrome,” I call it. Glad to see I’m not the only one who ties it to Sorkin.

          But, yes. The general observation that political systems are healthier when there are sane and conscientious people in the leadership of both parties has morphed into an obsessive search for, and belief that there must be, such a Republican out there somewhere. And/or calls on the Democrats to negotiate with them as if there were. Never mind that there have basically been no such people in the upper levels of government since 1994 at the latest.

      • Hells Littlest Angel

        I believe in grading on the curve for Republican intelligence. Paul Ryan is exceptionally smart.

        • JKTH

          A “Best QB on the Texans” type curve.

      • PotemkinMetropolitanRegion

        Yea, there’s little policy creativity in “cut taxes and transfer wealth upwards.” He’s obviously pretty good at conning people, like much of the GOP

        • The Lorax

          And our press is too dumb to see the con. “Math is hard! Ooh, who won the week in DC?”

    • howard

      please provide an example of his “smartness.” i’m an open-minded sort….

    • Cheap Wino

      Relative to the typical, current GOP pol he’s a damn genius. The bar is the stuff of limbo champion nightmares.

  • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

    I believe that there was a time when you weren’t just endlessly left-punching rabid Democrat partisans, but at some point, you became that. Look at yourselves!

    • petesh

      No, they ain’t makin’ jews like Jesus anymore,
      We don’t turn the other cheek the way they done before.
      You hear that honky holler as he hit that hardwood floor
      Lord, they ain’t makin’ jews like Jesus anymore.

    • patrick II

      I live in a world where Donald Trump is president. Where do you live?

  • Murc

    You know what’s been really surprising me? How legitimately unprepared the Congressional Republicans have been prepared to govern.

    No, wait, stop laughing. Follow me on this.

    I never really bought into “the Republicans aren’t interested in governing or in policy” as a framing label. It seemed clear to me that they weren’t interested in governing or in policy in the sense that we were, but that they absolutely did have a vision for the country and that this vision would require legislation to bring about. The vision was a nightmarish, Handmaids Tale-esque dystopia but it was real and they had plans to implement it. Political nihilism is actually very rare; I didn’t think the Republicans were nihilists, just that they were reactionaries.

    Only now they’ve gained power… and they’re not actually doing much!

    This is legitimately surprising to me. The dumpster fire that is the Trump White House isn’t, of course, that was obvious from day one. But… Trump doesn’t run Congress. Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell run Congress. And they’re just… not doing much? You can’t even blame the filibuster for that, the House isn’t doing much either. And that’s absurd! This is the first hundred days of unified government, this is when stuff gets done. The ACA was already chugging along nicely at this point in 2009, as were a ton of other legislative initiatives.

    I have to ask: has Congress fucked itself up to the point where it is quite literally unable to act without the White House providing direction? Because I didn’t see that coming. Maybe I should have?

    It’s just kind of shocking. They can’t even get to burning down the country in a timely manner because they can’t even pass a bill declaring whether they’ll use matches or a lighter to do so. Why? What’s got them so tied up in knots? Are they really that fucked up? I didn’t think they were, but I guess I was wrong.

    • humanoid.panda

      In their tenth-defense, it seems that they genuinely didn’t expect to win the election.

      • humanoid.panda

        Plus, while they were in the opposition, the fact that not Senate Republicans are total sociopaths didn’t matter all that much. Now, it does.

        • Wait, which Senate Republicans aren’t sociopaths? The one from Maine?

    • Hogan

      Only now they’ve gained power… and they’re not actually doing much!

      Oh how I wish.

      • humanoid.panda

        90% of this is repealng regulations enacted by Obama in his last year. Which is terrible, but not exactly a bonanza of Randianism.

        • Hogan

          Nor is it “not doing much.”

    • howard

      even with an ideologically unified majority party, getting something through congress requires planning and follow-through on the executive branch side.

      p.s. this is, of course, the risk of a president pence….

      • Steve LaBonne

        Judging by the fact that Pence was about as popular as anthrax in Indiana by the time Trump selected him, I’m hopeful that reports of his competence are greatly exaggerated.

        • howard

          i’m sure they are, but he’s a man of the gop house, so the whole relationship starts with a true set of shared values, unlike the overlapping but not unified worlds of trumpism v. ryanism.

    • Hells Littlest Angel

      Only now they’ve gained power… and they’re not actually doing much!

      I know it seems much, much longer, but they’ve only had power for five weeks!

      • humanoid.panda

        Sure, but as Murc points out, by now wheels should be turning. And remember: their initial strategy was to have bills ready for Trump on day 1.

        • Hells Littlest Angel

          That’s not a strategy. It’s just barely a talking point. They know how to fuck people over; they have done it before, you know.

      • JKTH

        Yeah, just because they’re disorganized doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll fail. It could just take longer to get there.

    • Rugosa

      The establishment Republicans have let the freedom caucus types run amok for years – the more moderate are terrified of being primaried out of their jobs. Ideological extremists can block any action, but can not come together to accomplish anything. When your political ethos is every man for himself and compromise is weakness, it’s hard to engage in collective action.

      • Gone2Ground

        This. I saw this on the tube the other day – a lot of the Tea Party types who are facing Town Halls and finding out their dumb talking points don’t work (“You wasted a lot of money on Benghazi! Waste a little on Trump! How are poor people supposed to save money in HSAs!”). They haven’t ever had to actually write legislation. They’ve spent their time obstructing and going to parties and meetings where everybody agrees with them.

        Now why McConnell and Ryan let them get away with this, I don’t know. Except that those two appear to be a couple of lazy ideologues as well from what I can see – McConnell has been in office since 1985 and has managed to have 18 bills enacted. Patty Murray, as an example, has been in Congress since 1993, and has had 19 bills passed. (Now are all these important legislation? No. But it does show that at least one other member of Congress is able to actually get shit done in less time, I’d argue.)

        Source:
        https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/mitch_mcconnell/300072
        https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/patty_murray/300076

    • Domino

      I’d chalk it up to “having a common enemy can cause people to unite who normally wouldn’t”. Look at how fractured they are re: repealing the ACA. They can’t even get past square 1 because among them, there’s like 6 different ideas about what to do. They haven’t had to bother working to unify these positions because they weren’t in power to do anything about it. Now that they are, they’re finding out how hard it actually is to deal with healthcare.

      More and more, it seems incredible that Obama and the Democratic party passed the law with 60 votes in the Senate.

    • sibusisodan

      Is this a consequence of the R representatives consuming their own product?

      When Obama went in front of the congressional caucus to discuss healthcare in 2009 – I think – it was apparent that many representatives got their information from terrible outlets. And they weren’t aware of their ignorance.

      I assume this has only got worse since then, and it must impact on knowledge of how to legislate.

      • erick

        I think that is the biggest thing, Congress is full of Tea Party Wave types who actually believe BS like death panels. Cynically using crap like that when your in opposition to block stuff works, but when you create a monster that believes it you can’t turn to actual governence.

      • Cheap Wino

        I’ve been saying this for a few years now. The GOP is riddled with ignoramuses who really do think that Rush Limbaugh is a great truth-telling political genius. That it’s obviously true that cutting capital gains taxes generates revenue. That climate change is a hoax put on by professors who just want all that juicy grant money. True believers.

        These people are too stupid to actually be legislators.

      • CP

        Is this a consequence of the R representatives consuming their own product?

        I think that’s certainly a huge problem for the Republican Party at all levels, yes. It used to be viewed as a world of cynical operators duping the masses with bullshit, and maybe it was at the beginning – but it’s impossible to keep pumping that much bullshit into the atmosphere without at some point becoming affected by it, and losing track of what is and isn’t important.

        And besides, the machine’s been active for half a century at this point. All of its members have grown up within it. Thousands of people who believed the bullshit became eager young College Republicans and Federalist Society drones at college. They then relied heavily on that network to rise through the ranks, thus staying close to the net of like-minded bullshit-believers the entire time. Was there supposed to be some point at which they’re brought into the Inner Circle and told “now, I hope you realize everything you’ve believed your whole adult life is just red meat for the rubes: now we’re going to tell you the truth?” Even if there was, which there isn’t, they’d probably refuse to even believe it by that point.

      • CP

        Also,

        When Obama went in front of the congressional caucus to discuss healthcare in 2009 – I think – it was apparent that many representatives got their information from terrible outlets. And they weren’t aware of their ignorance.

        It’s only going to get worse.

        People my age (late 20s) don’t remember a world without Fox News. There are millions of people, many of whom aren’t even particularly political but for whom it’s just background noise, who’ve spent their whole life in a media environment where “Obama creates death panels,” “Hillary gets everyone killed at Benghazi,” “If Stephen Hawking were British universal health care would have killed him,” et al are considered real news. Now think how many of these people have entered the workforce in jobs where those views actually make some difference.

        And it’s going to keep getting worse. If my generation of conservatives was raised on Fox News, the Generation Z version will probably never even have watched that. “News” to them will be Breitbart and PJMedia.

        • tsam

          True, though that crazy shit predates Fox–it just wasn’t validated to the extent they do it. Remember that Ronald Reagan got elected president. I still don’t have an answer for how that happened.

          • CP

            It predates Fox News, but Fox News made it much more accessible and widespread.

            Various people who’ve worked in politics (thinking of Brad DeLong) single out the 1990s as the era when things really started to go tits-up. Two things happened in the 1990s: the Gingrichites took over the legislature, and Fox News was launched.

    • MidwestVillager

      I recall reading that most of the House Republicans have not served with a Republican president so we may be seeing a situation where many of them have never done anything but obstruct and have to learn how to actually make law for the first time.

      • erick

        How many of them are also in their first elected office?

    • AMK

      I have to ask: has Congress fucked itself up to the point where it is quite literally unable to act without the White House providing direction? Because I didn’t see that coming. Maybe I should have?

      The modern American political formula is party leaders in Congress taking direction from the White House. Trump can’t give or take coherent directions on basic things, let along on something as complex as national healthcare policy–yet he is (1) incapable of acknowledging this and (2) vastly more popular with the base than Ryan/McConnell, to the point where if it even looks like they are starting to run things, you have the “establishment taking over” blowback.

      • Murc

        The modern American political formula is party leaders in Congress taking direction from the White House.

        Is it, tho? I mean, low sample size, but in the hypothetical case that Barack Obama’s White House had been dysfunctional for whatever reason, I don’t see Pelosi and Reid managing as badly as it seems Ryan and McConnell are.

    • tsam

      A fair number of those bastards were put there for the sole purpose of stopping the Kenyan usurper Muslim Hitler guy and aren’t qualified for the job, let alone prepared to actually do something that involves (ew) work and thought.

    • CP

      You know what’s been really surprising me? How legitimately unprepared the Congressional Republicans have been prepared to govern.

      Adam Silverman over at Balloon Juice has been making the point that a large chunk of today’s congressional Republicans were swept into power in 2010, and their experiences with the federal government are limited to that.

      Because of the extreme polarization and all-out opposition to Obama that’s characterized these years, these people literally do not know how to govern through anything other than crisis mode – they’ve never had to do it. And a large number of those who have are either tuned out completely (Democrats) or viewed with suspicion (any Republican who for whatever reason is considered potentially RINO). Even things as simple as passing a budget are a problem for these people.

  • David Hunt

    I definitely agree that now is not the time to be complacent. It may look like a repeal of the ACA will fail, but I was more confident of Trump losing the general election than I am of repeal failure. So, I’m hopeful, but not confident.

    Plus, the ACA is likely to be under assault from conservative forces for the foreseeable future, throughout my whole lifetime, because that’s how conservatives work. For anyone who thinks it will someday be safe from repeal efforts, I refer you to the 2005 effort to loot Social Security and Ryan’s ongoing efforts to destroy Medicare.

    Now I’m going to go read comments and see at what point this comment became redundant before I typed it.

    • TopsyJane

      Plus, the ACA is likely to be under assault from conservative forces for the foreseeable future, throughout my whole lifetime, because that’s how conservatives work.

      Also the ACA has problems that really do need fixing, which are unlikely to be addressed and may get worse.

      • CP

        It’s truly depressing to think that the ACA was the first major step in improving the American health care/safety net since Lyndon Johnson created Medicare and Medicaid, in the 1960s.

        And then to wonder if it’ll take another half century before we take any serious stab at fixing the holes the ACA left. Even if it survives.

        • howard

          i’ve said many times to many people that in europe, nationalized health care of one form or another was put in place in the complete rebuild from the after-effects of world war ii.

          we missed that boat and now status quo bias is the single biggest problem we have to getting to a truly rational system.

  • georgekaplan

    “Choice” is just another one of those meaningless, empty abstractions that right-wingers claim are more important than actual human happiness and suffering (see also the mortal sin that “choice” is supposed to cure, “dependence”.)

    • Hells Littlest Angel

      They’re using the word “choice” to mean “preference.” They want us to be able to prefer all the fuck we want to. I, for instance, prefer to have solid gold toenails, sleep with a different supermodel every other day, and live on Jupiter. Freedom, baby!

      • efgoldman

        and live on Jupiter. Freedom, baby!

        Write if you get work.

        • Stag Party Palin

          And don’t forget to hang by your thumbs.

  • humanoid.panda

    Speaking of honest ,non-partisan voices, The Nation would have you know the liberal-deep state alliance against Trump shall not stand! They shall not pass!

    • IM

      A few years into Barack Obama’s presidency supporters asked at a fundraiser, “Where’s our progressive foreign policy, Mr. President?” Obama’s reply: “Do you want me to end up another JFK?”

      Now that is good.

      Next stop: Jews, Jesuits, Freemasons.

    • Scott Lemieux

      “If you grant my premise that Oliver Stone’s JFK movie was a documentary, then yadda yadda yadda there’s a Deep State coup against Trump.”

      • ΧΤΠΔ

        Brought to you by Salon’s very own knockoff-of-a-knockoff-of-Ace Gonerrea Gonohoah Cockburn.

        Seriously, has Salon ever hired a foreign affairs columnist who hasn’t been/turned into a sack of shit?

  • Vance Maverick

    I enjoy this riff, and the photo to accompany it. But surely the misnominalization of “serious” should be “seriosity”, like viscosity and pomposity.

  • jimpharo

    Objecting to the ACA because the young and healthy pay more than they otherwise would is like saying its unjust to pay taxes to support the fire department when your house hasn’t burned down

    Watch it, bub. I’m fond of my public fire service. A few years back we mocked them for arguments that would justify child labor. Now they’re working on providing children the freedom to work.

  • AlanInSF

    Could someone at LGM please do a post about the Sixers and The Process so we can get our minds off this horrible shit for a moment?

    • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

      Suggested title: “Hinkie’s Gone, but The Process Lives On”

      Much like the ACA, The Process has proven remarkably difficult to kill, even after it’s creator departed the office.

      • AlanInSF

        Gave away Noel, couldn’t give away Okafor, Simmons out for the year, Embiid forever finding new ways to say “DL.” Reminds me not so much of the ACA, more of “Democratic Party Strategists.”

    • mnuba

      The fact that they may ultimately be the winner of the DeMarcus Cousins trade is kind of amazing.

      • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

        What would be almost as amazing: there’s a decent case for Rookie of the Year going to Saric.

        Between Embiid, Saric and the Stauskas pick, Hinkie’s got a better case for GM of the Year than most, and he’s been gone ~ a year.

        • AlanInSF

          I have not followed this Saric of whom you speak, but I notice that he is 22, has a PER in the mid-11s (for the uninitiated, that’s considerably below average), and a FG% south of 40. Am I missing something?

          • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

            He’s played like one of the 3 best rookies this season, and the other 2 are injured.

  • AMK

    One thing that has surprised me is how ineffectual Pence seems to have been to this point. He has meaningful legislative and governing experience and (supposedly) a tactical/ideological mind-meld going with Ryan, but it seems like he’s very much following events, rather than shaping them.

    • bender

      In the first few weeks, Pence would be interviewed on TV and said his version of the GOP line, and within 24 hours, Trump would go on TV and contradict or undercut whatever Pence had said. That was a clear message that Trump will not tolerate Pence taking any public leadership role, even a supportive one.

      I think Pence is treading water until his term ends or Trump is out of office, whichever happens first.

      • Dagmar

        Actually, Pence seems to be in different administration than Trump.

        • PohranicniStraze

          In fairness, wouldn’t we all like to be in a different administration than this one?

    • mnuba

      That’s because Pence is also an incompetent idiot.

      No one has benefitted more from their association with Donald Trump than Pence, who has managed to become some sort of evil mastermind in the minds of way too many people due to his ability to occasionally speak in coherent English.

      • JKTH

        Heh, yeah. Mike Pence isn’t exactly the guy I would think of in terms of filling in the details on gutting the ACA. He’s as clueless as the rest on that.

      • efgoldman

        No one has benefitted more from their association with Donald Trump than Pence

        Yup. The VP slot was a lifeline. He was on his way to getting buried in Indiana.
        The now-governor and the Republiklown legislature couldn’t move fast enough to get rid of some of Pence’s most onerous actions.

      • Dagmar

        He may be an incompetent idiot, but he is a useful incompetent idiot, to the extent Trump’s chaos is intentional. He’s a calmer Spicer. In the sense that a ban is not a ban, and military does not mean military.

    • Hogan

      The word “meaningful” is doing a lot more work than it’s probably capable of doing there.

      • efgoldman

        The word “meaningful” is doing a lot more work than it’s probably capable of doing there.

        It’s statistically true, compared to his boss.

  • PotemkinMetropolitanRegion

    [W]e also have to credit the many members of the public who have stood up to Ryan’s war on access to health care.

    I know this may be putting the cart before the horse, but I will be infuriated if liberal Americans push Congress to do the right thing and Trump voters will feel totally justified in their blasé belief that “Trump wouldn’t touch our healthcare!” Sometimes it is thanklessly sucky to be the good guys.

    • humanoid.panda

      Here’s the thing though: ACA does need a real tune-up, that Republicans would never provide. So, if we manage to stem a repeal, they might be stuck in the worst of both worlds: the ACA on the books, and public blmaming them for problematic issues re: healthcare.

  • McAllen

    Yesterday I watched a documentary about Hamilton and the Hamilton musical in which Ryan appeared. It was amazing how weasely Ryan came off in 15 seconds of talking about the Federalist Papers.

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