Paul Ryan makes jokes as a 71-year-old man, yelling about the threat Ryan poses to Social Security and Medicare, is wrestled to the ground by two police officers. The man isn’t threatening, he’s not cursing, and he’s nowhere near Ryan: he’s just yelling about why fifty years of paying in to the system doesn’t entitle him to get something out of it. As the man is being dragged away, Ryan says “I hope he has taken his blood pressure medication.”

Context here. Ryan charged people $15 to enter his sacred presence, then had five of them kicked out and three of them arrested for asking questions he didn’t want to answer.

This sort of heartless scoffing at the fears and suffering of others seems to be a speciality of right-wing Republicans. (Remember GWB’s chortling about the way Karla Faye Tucker begged for her life as he signed the death warrant?) At least, I can’t think of a comparable instance where it’s a liberal or a Democrat making fun of a terrified old man.

Footnote Were any of the Teahadis who disrupted the town hall meetings of Congressional Democrats in the summer of 2009 arrested for it?

[Cross-posted at The Reality-based Community]

Mark Kleiman

Mark Kleiman is a professor of public policy at the New York University Marron Institute.