He's either the perfect formula for reuniting the Republicans’ fractured coalition or a recipe for disaster at the...
Watching Republicans grapple with their historic drubbing last Tuesday is progressives' new favorite pastime.
There is the Karl Rove meltdown.
And now, there's "numbers guy" Paul Ryan, trying to spin the election results to local TV and newspaper reporters in Wisconsin by explaining that Obama won thanks to massive turnout in "urban areas" (read: places where poor people of color live).
The trouble with Ryan's analysis is that, besides being racist, it's just plain wrong.
"Democrats rejected Paul Ryan and his radical plans in key swing parts of our state -- not what he might call 'urban areas,' and not because of where they lived but because of what they believed," Wisconsin Democratic Party communications director Graeme Zielinksi points out. "Places like Rhinelander and Tomahawk, Eau Claire and Superior."
"These theories about 'urban areas' might comfort Paul Ryan as he confronts the embarrassment of losing not just his home state but also his hometown, but the fact is that Democrats won the war of ideas," Zielinski adds,
So resounding was the defeat for Republicans -- and Budget Committee Chairman Ryan in particular -- there is reason to hope that President Obama and Democrats in Congress won't fall for Ryan's biggest lie: the need to cut entitlements (while maintaining massive tax cuts for the rich) in order to avoid a "fiscal cliff."
"It isn't really a fiscal cliff, it's an austerity crisis. And it is a political creation, not a product of the economy or deficits," Laura Dresser, an economist at the Center On Wisconsin Strategy points out. "The real problem with going over the 'cliff' is that to do so requires too many cuts in too many programs too quickly, throwing water on the small fire of recovery that we have."
"There are times to take on deficits, but in the midst of an anemic recovery is not that time," Dresser adds.
Let's hope Ryan's definitive loss -- in the nation, in Wisconsin, in Janesville, his hometown, even on his home block -- gives the Democrats the strength to hold the line against the rest of his misleading and dangerous fictions.
If you liked this article by Ruth Conniff, the political editor of The Progressive, check out her story "Tammy Baldwin's Victory Caps Historic Night."
Follow Ruth Conniff @rconniff on Twitter.
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