Paul Ryan’s feeling sorry for himself

PAUL RYAN’S FEELING SORRY FOR HIMSELF…. Last week, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee, unveiled a GOP budget blueprint that slashes Medicare and privatize Social Security. The same plan, incidentally, includes more tax breaks for the wealthy and a “consumption tax” of 8.5% that would unfairly burden the lower- and middle-class.

After he presented his plan, Democrats went on the offensive, noting the radical approach the House GOP prefers. Republican leaders slowly distanced themselves from the Ryan plan.

For his part, Ryan can’t dismiss the criticism out of hand — Democrats are describing his plan in an honest, accurate way — but he can feel sorry for himself. Republican columnist Michael Gerson devoted his latest Washington Post piece to characterizing the GOP lawmaker as a victim.

The attack “came out of the Democratic National Committee, and that is the White House,” Ryan told me recently, sounding both disappointed and unsurprised. […]

To Ryan, the motivations of Democratic leaders are transparent. “They had an ugly week of budget news. They are precipitating a debt crisis, with deficits that get up to 85 percent of GDP and never get to a sustainable level. They are flirting with economic disaster.”

I see. So the reason Democrats are pointing out the absurdities of Paul Ryan’s plan is that Democrats are struggling to clean up the fiscal mess left by … Republicans like Paul Ryan. It’s quite a scheme.

Gerson finds this persuasive. Given that his column has basically become Fox News in print, that’s not especially surprising.

But the entire pitch is nevertheless pretty silly. Ryan voted for budgetary and economic policies that added $5 trillion to the national debt over eight years. He supported the budgetary and economic policies that took a $230 billion surplus and turned it into a $1.3 trillion deficit. He was proud to endorse all kinds of measures — including two wars and Medicare expansion — that cost a bundle, but which Ryan and his cohorts never even tried to pay for.

But now Paul Ryan has decided it’s time to clean up the mess he helped create, and to do so, he wants to go after Medicare and Social Security. When the left suggests that’s ridiculous, Ryan concludes that Democrats are big meanies.

He’s obviously well on his way to becoming a media darling. Gerson sounds ready to take a leave of absence to erect a statue in Ryan’s honor.

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation