Can We Please Not Have A Paul Ryan Redemption Arc News Cycle?
I don't know what it is about Paul Freaking Ryan, but there has always been this certain class of not-necessarily-Republican media types who, for some reason, desperately want to find a reason to like and respect him. The ones who are swift enough to know he's a terrible human being but still loved to call him "a total policy wonk." The ones who, with a little bit of a swoon in their voice, would say, "Say what you want about Paul Ryan, he's a real numbers guy."
As a person who is correct about most, if not all things, I have never been able to stand the guy. I hate his face. I mean, I hate his Ayn Rand Right-Libertarian Fuck The Poor shit more, but I truly do hate his face. Because I know that face. It is the face of every guy I went to school with who was not one of the "cool kids," but one of those "in the middle" types who were particularly treacherous because he thought if he put enough effort into being horrible to everyone, he'd get to be one of the cool kids. Forever and always, those are the ones you have to watch out for.
On Sunday, Ryan released a statement all about how he totally disapproves of Trump's plans to subvert democracy, and predictably, though I will not name names, there was a lot of "See, even Paul Ryan realizes this is bad" and "Gotta give it to Paul Ryan" going around.
Ryan's statement read:
All our basic rights and freedoms flow from a fidelity to the Constitution and the rule of law. This principle is not only fundamentally American but a central tenet of conservatism. Under our system, voters determine the president and this self-governance cannot sustain itself if the whims of Congress replace the will of the people. I urge members to consider the precedent that it would set.
Efforts to reject the votes of the Electoral College and sow doubts about Joe Biden's victory strike at the foundation of our republic. It is difficult to conceive of a more anti-democratic and anti-conservative act than a federal intervention to overturn the results of state certified elections and disenfranchise millions of Americans. The fact that this effort will fail does not mean it will not do significant damage to American democracy.
The Trump campaign had ample opportunity to challenge election results and those efforts failed from lack of evidence. The legal process was exhausted and the results were decisively confirmed. The Department of Justice, too, found no basis for overturning the result. If states wish to reform their processes for future elections, that is their prerogative. But Joe Biden's victory is entirely legitimate.
I brushed my teeth this morning and Paul Ryan admitted the obvious fact that Donald Trump lost the election. Clearly both of us deserve a trophy.
I get that there is an inclination to want to celebrate every time a conservative does something not horrible, I get that we would like to encourage everyone to be less horrible and I believe people should be given credit where and when it is due. That being said, I would like to warn against warm remembrances of "back when conservatives weren't crazy, but instead just really loved being terrible to poor people, bombing people in other countries, and politely dogwhistling their bigotry towards everyone who is not a heterosexual white male." Because in a lot of ways, those conservatives are often much more effective at causing actual harm than the tacky ones are, because in many ways, they are under less scrutiny. It's the Ted Bundy factor.
The real bright side to this, frankly, is that it is making right-wingers really hate Paul Ryan, and the news station he road in on.
A good time to remember that Paul Ryan sits on the board of directors of Fox Corp. https://t.co/YJJ3zyB4by— toddstarnes (@toddstarnes) 1609708741.0
Given that Paul Ryan has always been very good at coming up with particularly cruel and callous ideas, a rejection of him and his terrible ideas can only benefit us. Better that they stay busy waiting around for Dead JFK Jr. to resurrect than go back to trying to privatize Medicare and eliminate Social Security, I say.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse