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Why Paul Ryan Is Unhappy

Memo Pad

Why Paul Ryan Is Unhappy


WASHINGTON — We may be reaching an inflection point, the moment when the terms of the political argument change decisively. Three indicators: An important speech by Rep. Paul Ryan, the increasingly sharp tone of President Obama’s rhetoric, and the success of Occupy Wall Street in resisting attempts to marginalize the movement.

The most telling was Ryan’s address at the Heritage Foundation last week. House Republicans regard Ryan as their prophet, their intellectual and their resident wonk. Usually, he carefully lays out the numbers and issues visionary promises of how cutting government (and taxes on the wealthy) will lead us down a blissful path to prosperity. He’s sunny when everyone else is grumpy.

E. J. Dionne

Besides contributing to The National Memo, E.J. Dionne, Jr. is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a syndicated columnist for the Washington Post, and a university professor in the Foundations of Democracy and Culture at Georgetown University.

His most recent book is Our Divided Political Heart: The Battle for the American Idea in an Age of Discontent (2013).

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  1. myrna October 31, 2011

    It’s the oldest strategy in the book – accuse your opponent of what you are doing. Ryan says Obama is divisive? Well I live in Wisconsin, where Ryan hails from; our “governor”, who is really a dictator has divided the state with politics that have divided the state, and Ryan’s politics are pretty similar: all for the wealthy and the hell with everyone else.

  2. Howard R October 31, 2011

    Ryan Stop all the GOP/Bagger lies There is NO working with you people !Aprty of Hell NO> Obama is finally fighting back. Anything Obama tries to do to help our economy / jobs. Your boys stall,block,lie,filibuster 100’s of times on bills the GOP used to support. Start showing some honesty and decency or GOP Baggers are done for. You’ve pushed the sane people out of your party. ALL thats left are greedy extremists who hate workers & womens rights and LOVE CORPS CUT – LOOPHOLES – OIL SUBSIDES Cantor is worst.Next is McConnell with his sour puss face & daily lies.

  3. FrankD October 31, 2011

    Its about time President Obama started confronting the real issues in Washington. He is crossing the country galvanizing his base and upsetting Ryan and his cronies. Obama needs to embrace the goals of Occupy Wall Street return to Washington and on the plane back listen to Roosevelt’s 1936 speech at Madison Square Garden embracing the Republican “hate”

  4. carykerr October 31, 2011

    I do think that the time has come, where these issues make a difference. So many are suffering so much and by resisting tax cuts on the rich, the right’s only solution for the deficit is to deprive the disadvantaged more. I believe that the development of these issues as a central argument can be successful this year.

  5. kunner October 31, 2011

    What is fair about 50% of the population paying no Federal income tax. There are some crooks in the top 1% you talk about, but for the most part they are people who worked harder and longer than the rest of us. I only broke 100,000 one year so for the record I am not in the 1% club but I admire their work ethic and focus. I wish I had the drive, I never did. I was a good employee never a great one.
    I am tired of jealous petty people picking on people who make big. Even athletics the very best who spent more hours training and working harder make the most money.
    The Democratic Party is all about making people dependent on government to hold power. Eight of the top ten richest members of congress are Democratic and none are self made. They inherent it or married well. Thry also give the least to charity and seem to have trouble paying their taxes like our Treasury Secretary and former head of Way and Means committee Congressman from NYC Charles Rangle.

  6. kurt.lorentzen October 31, 2011

    Both parties want to protect their political power core. The Democrats think the best way to hold ont power is to make the 99% dependent on the government. The Republicans want to make us dependent on Wall Street. Neither is acceptable to me. We need to get government out of our lives and Wall Street out of government.

  7. AlBkr October 31, 2011

    / Ryan says Obama is using “divisive rhetoric”; Is That Not The GOPs strategy for Ensuring Obama One is a one term President? They have for the past three years done everything they can to see he fails; most often at the expense of Tax Payers and Americas recovery! They have twisted, manipulated and falsified stories confusing Americans and creating failure in Washington.
    . Ryan also claimed Obama is not “working with us on … common-sense reforms,” Very few will accept that as most believe Obama has compromised too much. What Ryan should have been saying is the Tea Party Objectives are out of time with the needs of America and their efforts to redirect Congress’s efforts to their objectives has stalled America’s recovery efforts.
    . Typical – create problems then try shifting the fault onto someone else! When Congress separates itself from Tea Party distractions and starts addressing our current and by far more significant issues we may have a chance of fixing America. Once we have returned America to its pre-Bush qualities we can look at the Tea Party concerns but priorities dictate we have no time for Tea Party games now!

  8. Indy 60 October 31, 2011

    Ryan has a lot of nerve to say the President won’t work with them on “common sense reforms”. The Republicans have not “worked together on common sense reforms” for quite some time. Refusing to pass anything on the President’s current job bill (even things they agreed with – which of course was only the part giving business more breaks) is common sense? Where is the common sense in extending unemployment to pay people for not working rather than paying the same people for working on infrastructure? Where is the common sense in paying teachers, firemen, policemen for being unemployed rather than paying them for working at their respective jobs? Common sense? I think not! More like Party sense: if they’re not working, they can’t afford to buy, if they can’t buy the economy remains down, if the economy’s down, blame President Obama. How long will mainstreet Republicans go on supporting the TeaParty and it’s un-American, job-killing plans in the attempt to make President Obama a one-term president? When will they open their eyes and see Republican leaders/politicians could not care less about them except to get their votes and forget about them on Nov. 4th?

  9. AlBkr October 31, 2011

    Here we go again; another round of bickering over a budget. I anticipate the same arguments and poor response of a lame congress to get this thing finalized without far too much off subject arguments.

    I applaud President Obama’s Presidential Proclamation stand and I would STRONGLY suggest he delvers another placing a temporary halt on ANY attachments to bills going before Congress and the Senate that does not have a direct and substantial attachment to the primary reason for the bill. It seems the efforts to get anything done in Congress always stems from some totally insignificant attachment to the bill. Often, congressmen and senators who would normally vote for a bill vote against it due to the attachments.
    President Obama could speed up, simplify and clarify things with a Declaration restricting riders!

  10. dave hutch October 31, 2011

    Just getting to know about the National Memo. It is good to listen to both sides; even if at times I force myself to read a column by E.J. Dionne.

    I’m also from Wisconsin but unlike myrna (above) I don’t approve of name calling by either side. I’m looking forward to the recall of Scott Walker! Because it will not be successful and a big waste of Democrat time and money.

    I think Republicans are making a mistake by not considering a tax hike for the rich and famous. But it would have to be tied to a balanced budget amendment.

    When this country gets control of its spending and balances the federal budget it will usher in an era of growth and prosperity that we’ve never seen before.

    If that happens, Paul Ryan will go down in history as its principal architect.

  11. in.the.flood.zone November 8, 2011

    Some time back I read an opinion column that described Obama’s seeming passivity and overreadyness to accommodate the House GOP as another version of Mohammad Ali’s tactic of “Rope-A-Dope.” It has always seemed to me that Obama has been several steps ahead of the pundits and the skeptics and he has had the strength and patience to withstand the punching he has taken, because he in fact does have an end in view.
    Rope-A-Dope is working, right now!


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