Is Paul Ryan the Best You Can Do?

I’ve long been amused that Rep. Paul Ryan has a rep in Republican circles for being an anti-poverty specialist, and/or the successor to Jack Kemp as an “empowerment conservative” with a powerful message to send to poor and minority folk who are normally ignored by GOPers when they’re not mocked as part of the hopeless “47%.” But at Ten Miles Square, Devin Castles looks at Ryan’s agenda for killing, shrinking or “devolving” virtually every anti-poverty program, and isn’t laughing:

Though it’s refreshing to see someone from either party talk about these issues (try playing “poverty” Bingo during an Obama speech), and to see that Ryan understands his party is losing the perception battle on this, he as yet to propose anything that looks like a serious attempt at addressing poverty and unemployment. A lot of these half-baked ideas already helped the Romney/Ryan campaign lose an election. Teaching men (and women) to fish requires more than just saying, “go fish.” Sometimes, there ain’t no fish to be had. Ryan’s mentor, the late Jack Kemp, understood that. I look forward to the day when modern members of the Republican party do, too.

Do not hold your breath, Devin.

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

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.