I can't find that old video of President Obama referring to Paul Ryan as "serious" and giving Village credibility to his corporate-written harebrained schemes to reverse the New Deal, destroy Medicare and privatize Social Security. It was one of the first indications I had after the 2008 election that Obama was in way over his head. Paul Krugman's 2010 columns on Ryan's ignorance and unseriousness helped put the lie to Obama's foolish-- and presumably now regretted-- assertion. Krugman's classic Flimflam Man OpEd:
One depressing aspect of American politics is the susceptibility of the political and media establishment to charlatans. You might have thought, given past experience, that D.C. insiders would be on their guard against conservatives with grandiose plans. But no: as long as someone on the right claims to have bold new proposals, he’s hailed as an innovative thinker. And nobody checks his arithmetic.
Which brings me to the innovative thinker du jour: Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
Mr. Ryan has become the Republican Party’s poster child for new ideas thanks to his “Roadmap for America’s Future,” a plan for a major overhaul of federal spending and taxes. News media coverage has been overwhelmingly favorable; on Monday, the Washington Post put a glowing profile of Mr. Ryan on its front page, portraying him as the G.O.P.’s fiscal conscience. He’s often described with phrases like “intellectually audacious.”
But it’s the audacity of dopes. Mr. Ryan isn’t offering fresh food for thought; he’s serving up leftovers from the 1990s, drenched in flimflam sauce.
...So why have so many in Washington, especially in the news media, been taken in by this flimflam? It’s not just inability to do the math, although that’s part of it. There’s also the unwillingness of self-styled centrists to face up to the realities of the modern Republican Party; they want to pretend, in the teeth of overwhelming evidence, that there are still people in the G.O.P. making sense. And last but not least, there’s deference to power-- the G.O.P. is a resurgent political force, so one mustn’t point out that its intellectual heroes have no clothes.
But they don’t. The Ryan plan is a fraud that makes no useful contribution to the debate over America’s fiscal future.
Has Bill Clinton been taken in too? Or is he part of the scam? Last week we saw Clinton endorsing one of the most corrupt conservatives running for Congress anywhere, Maryland multimillionaire loan shark, John Delaney. Want to feel sick to your stomach? Just watch this video on Clinton offering to help Ryan with his plans to kill Medicare the day after Democrats won a Republican seat in upstate New York based almost entirely on opposing Ryan's Medicare plans:
It's less than a minute long, caught surreptitiously on someone's cell phone... but it speaks volumes about the corporate money-driven conservative consensus that rules Washington, a consensus that allowed Clinton and Rahm Emanuel to succeed in passing George H.W. Bush's tragic NAFTA legislation and that allowed Obama to continue George W. Bush's policy of bailing out criminal banksters-- instead of jailing them. That's why Blue America is a progressive PAC, not a Democratic Party PAC and it's why you'll see us fighting against corrupt conservatives regardless of political party. Aside from Ryan, our primary targets right now, are a Republican corporate whore in California, Buck McKeon, and a Democratic corporate whore in Pennsylvania, Blue Dog Tim Holden. Corrupt members of DC's conservative consensus are frantic to save both their necks. Their constituents are having second thoughts. And as for the Flimflam Man himself... he has his very own Blue America page, Stop Paul Ryan. Have you visited it lately?
You can read the rest of this post at DownWithTyranny but, let me warn you, there are no more goofy pictures of Ryan there.