Sunday, December 29, 2013

What should Pope Francis do about Paul Ryan?

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Not the pope.
Honestly, just who the fuck does Paul Ryan think he is?

Oh right, an Ayn Rand devotee, trickle-down ideologue, and Republican leader of all things fiscal, as he towers over the ignoramuses of his party and holds court like some wizard in the land of Oz. But, really, he's a sham, his expertise a mirage, his concern for the poor utter bullshit, his Catholicism a self-aggrandizing joke. As Salon's Joan Walsh writes:

When 1.3 million Americans lose their unemployment benefits on Saturday, they can thank Rep. Paul Ryan. He took the lead in negotiating a bipartisan budget deal with Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, and on behalf of his party, held the line against continuing extended unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless.

Sure, a lot of Republicans share blame with Ryan. But he deserves extra-special (negative) credit for the deal, because he has lately had the audacity to depict himself as the new face of "compassionate conservatism," insisting Republicans must pay attention to the problems of the poor. Friends say the man who once worshipped Ayn Rand now takes Pope Francis as his moral role model. Except he can't help treating his new role model with arrogance and contempt.

It's true that while knuckle-draggers like Rush Limbaugh attack the pope as a Marxist, Ryan has praised him, which I guess takes a tiny bit of courage since normally Republicans don't like to buck the leader of their party. "What I love about the pope is he is triggering the exact kind of dialogue we ought to be having," Ryan told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. "People need to get involved in their communities to make a difference, to fix problems soul to soul."

But he couldn't suppress either his right-wing politics or his supreme capacity for condescension for very long. "The guy is from Argentina, they haven't had real capitalism in Argentina," Ryan said (referring to the pope as "the guy" is a nice folksy touch.) "They have crony capitalism in Argentina. They don't have a true free enterprise system."

Pope Francis isn't just triggering dialogue and isn't just promoting good-hearted communitarianism, he's taking a stand against the very sort of capitalist brutality that Ryan espouses. And I suspect he has seen more than enough shit both in Argentina over the decades and throughout his long pastoral and ecclesiastical career to give him a certain credibility when discussing capitalism and its horrors. (Besides, how exactly does America have a "true free enterprise system" -- what with its corporate welfare and plutocratic politics? It's also cronyism, of a sort, and if Ryan really thinks America has real capitalism, he's as much of an ignoramus as his blind followers in the House.)

Sure, Ryan isn't quite as odious as Dear Leader Rush, but the two aren't all that far apart, and where they differ it's more in style than substance. The media blowhard is just more forthcoming with his extremism, whereas the politician tries to pass himself off as a caring individual, wrapping his, and his party's, extremism in a neat little package that he hopes a gullible electorate will lap up with glee.

Pope Francis has many more important things to concern himself with than Paul Ryan's political games, but is excommunication out of the question? Seems to me it might send the appropriate message.

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1 Comments:

  • 99% of what the Pope does is political. And as long as the Pope's politics are conservative (anti-gay, anti-abortion), the media play this game that he isn't political. But the moment he focuses on liberal things (inequality, poverty), it is labeled political. I'd also like to add that the last two popes said exactly the same things as Pope Francis is saying. They just didn't emphasize it. What's different about Pope Francis is that he scares the conservatives because it seems like he means it. Recently in Slate there was an article about how if you are an atheist, you can't be a Republican. I agree with that. The GOP is anti-science and anti-fact. But it is also true that if you are a Christian, you can't be a Republican. The GOP is anti-Christ. About the only people who can reasonably be Republicans are the greed rich. Slowly, Americans are waking up to that fact.

    Just give them three more elections. That's all we need...

    By Blogger Frank Moraes, at 2:51 AM  

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