Special Report

Paul Ryan, the Catfish-Wrestling Cult Leader

The New York Times' latest smear of America's leading conservative Republican.

By 4.30.12

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How nice of the New York Times to start their latest front-page Republican hit piece, this time against House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, by describing him as something like an anarchist, OCD, catfish-grabbing redneck cult leader, with other Republicans following his "marching orders" to destroy America's entitlement systems.

In case you weren't sure of the laugh-out-loud bias of Times reporter Jonathan Weisman, get a load of this belly-slapper: "[Ryan] also strongly favors a repeal of President Obama's health care law, even though his own prescriptions for Medicare…are similar to the Obama plan's for insurance expansion."

Meanwhile, the House Budget Committee's website has a detailed page on the differences between the Ryan "Path to Prosperity" and the Obama path to entitlement insolvency.

A GOP aide, responding to The American Spectator's inquiry, offered this: "The contrast between the two approaches couldn't be clearer - the President's health care law puts 15 unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats in charge of Medicare through the Independent Payment Advisory Board; the House-passed Path to Prosperity empowers 50 million seniors by making them and their doctors the nucleus of the health care system. True choice and competition is incompatible with a centralized government agency setting prices."

Ryan's September, 2011 speech at the Hoover Institution also makes plain that his view of rational health care policy could not be more different from Obama's.

But the facts be damned! I have a story to tell, and it includes catfish and weight-lifting and Lunchables!

Apparently, it is also "not…clear whether [Ryan] has in interest in compromising or whether his sole goal is a Republican victory that is sweeping enough to enact his own vision."

So, Paul Ryan is, according to Mr. Weisman, not just a wannabe Olympic weight-lifter and political version of David Koresh, but also a tyrannically-oriented narcissist. One can't help but wonder whether Weisman noticed that his description of a single-minded focus on winning fits the current resident of the White House to perfection.

Weisman continues on this line about Ryan: "He does not drive stakes into the ground, he said, but he also made clear that compromise should come on his terms."

Anyone remember Nancy Pelosi? From Roll Call magazine in January, 2009: "Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) parried GOP assaults on Democrats' $825 billion stimulus package Thursday and refused to slow the bill down to give more time for Republican input. 'Yes, we wrote the bill. Yes we won the election, but that doesn't mean we don't want sustainability or Republican support,' Pelosi said. "

Anyone remember Barack Obama's plea to Hispanic voters in 2010 to "punish our enemies"?

So much for Democratic "compromise."

Back to the cult leader characterization: when talking about Paul Ryan's vote against the Simpson-Bowles Commission plan, Weisman says Ryan "voted no, taking every House Republican on the panel with him and preventing the guarantee of a vote in Congress." But of the seven commission members who voted against the plan, four were Democrats, including two of the three Democrat members of the House represented on the Commission. (In other words, Jonathan, in case your math skills are as challenged as your reporting skills, the majority of House Democrats on the commission voted against the plan, and the majority of votes against the plan came from Democratic commission members.)

In March of this year, when Congressman Jim Cooper (D-TN) offered an amendment to the Ryan Budget which would have "utilized Simpson-Bowles recommendations for establishment of the budget for FY 2013 and to set forth the appropriate budgetary levels for FY 2014 through FY 2022," the measure failed on a vote of 38-382, with only 22 Democrats voting in favor.

Then Weisman gets (even more) personal, noting with obvious disbelief that "those who know [Paul Ryan] cannot seem to dislike him." The evidence he offers for such goodwill toward Ryan is a scathing attack from former Congressman David Obey (D-WI) who says that Ryan is "oblivious…to the pain his policies would cause people."

Of course Mr. Weisman, being the good liberal that he is, buys into the liberals' notion that the actual results of redistributionist government policy must be ignored; it is only the Nanny Statists' claimed Big Rock Candy Mountain intentions that matter. And those Republicans are just so damn mean…the repeatedly-demonstrated positive results of such things as tax cuts, welfare reform, airline deregulation -- and the concomitant failed "we're doomed" predictions by Democrats every time -- notwithstanding.

It's not just Ryan who Weisman targets. He describes the work of Nobel laureate Friedrich Hayek as "bootstrap economics." However, Hayek was not wildly opposed to a limited welfare state, but rather to the intrusions on freedom that such a state was morphing into.

From his 1960 book "The Constitution of Liberty": "…we must recognize that, as a service agency, [the state] may assist without harm in the achievement of desirable aims which perhaps could not be achieved otherwise." (Hayek goes on to explain that "many of the new welfare activities of the government are a threat to freedom" is because "they really constitute an exercise of the coercive powers of government and rest on its claiming exclusive rights in certain fields.")

But of course, Weisman wouldn't know any of this because Hayek is to Weisman what zombies are to my four year-old son: a mythical creature to be hated and feared, understood only through horror films or their political equivalent. And unlike President Obama who got his Nobel Prize for a result to be named later, Hayek actually made a lasting and positive impact -- not just on Paul Ryan but on humanity itself.

And then it's back to the ultra-fit knuckle-dragging cult leader that is Paul Ryan: "Among Republicans in and outside Mr. Ryan's immediate circle, the admiration verges on infatuation. They gush about his athleticism… They laud his bowhunting…"

Even the DailyKos wouldn't allow "reporting" as juvenile and unprofessional as this. Well, they probably would, though I doubt such schlock would get past your local high school newspaper's editor.

But Weisman saves the most damning charge for last: Paul Ryan, the Great White Hope of the GOP, is a barefaced liar. Yes, it's true. The wailing and gnashing of teeth can be heard in country clubs across America. To wit:

Ryan claims that "he never drove the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile." But in a bit of investigative reporting sure to garner the admiration the Pulitzer committee, we learn that "As for the Wienermobile, one summer as he was pressing Oscar Mayer Lunchables and turkey bacon on meat buyers in rural Minnesota, two 'very nice young ladies' who were driving the hotdog-shaped vehicle did let him 'take it for a spin,' he confessed." How he got that out of Ryan without training by the CIA in enhanced interrogation techniques will ever be one of the great questions of modern journalism.

And there we have it: Paul Ryan's political future, done in by luncheon meats and the intrepid reporting of Jonathan Weisman.

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About the Author
Ross Kaminsky is a self-employed trader and investor and is a senior fellow of the Heartland Institute. He is the host of The Ross Kaminsky Show on Denver's NewsRadio 850 KOA on Saturday mornings from 6 AM to 9 AM. You can reach Ross by e-mail at rossputin(at)rossputin(dot)com.