Wednesday, I posted an article that Paul Ryan was the one man that stood between the citizenry and the NRA. Since then, much has happened and much more will happen in the coming days. But one thing is certain, Paul Ryan and the entire Republican party are cowards. No, that is not a political statement, or a partisan statement. It is a factual statement. Like all cowards, they will deny their obscene cowardice. Regardless of how Republicans try to portray themselves, the issue deserves to be addressed because lives are at stake and the fate of a nation rests upon the actions of cowards.
Punditry will tell you that Paul Ryan is a nice guy. A stand up guy. A real patriot. Bull puckey.
I am a nice person, but my Republican friends think I am a nut case. I am a kind person, but my Tea Party friends think I am am a threat to our democracy. I love everyone, even people I don’t like, but the Right and Christians and Donald Trump supporters find me to be hateful, spiteful and anti-American. I am none of those things, but the point is perspective.
From my perspective, there is no valid reason to avoid a vote on universal background checks and “no fly, no buy” legislation. Nor is there a valid reason to avoid these policies when they are supported by 94% of Americans including NRA members, gun owners (of which I am one), or Constitutionalists (of which I am one) or of Civil Rights advocates (of which I am one).
All that being said, Paul Ryan blew it Wednesday night, and then he doubled down and he nuked it Thursday. Just like in 2000 when Al Gore lost the election. You remember, the day Gore tried to show up GWB on the debate stage. GWB turned and derisively looked at Gore and showed him to be a white color dweeb that any red-blooded cowboy could beat with a mere look and saunter across the stage. It was a decisive moment in that campaign and Gore lost the election that day. That moment happened for Paul Ryan last week. Thursday morning, he took his toys and gathered his gang and went home 2 days early instead of being a big boy and actually doing something…I don’t know…..leader-like.
Paul Ryan had one moment. One single moment to flex his “all powerful” Speaker of the House, third in line to the White House moment. What did he do? He swept into the House, gaveled it into session and brought forth a single vote. What was that all important vote after 10pm on a Wednesday night? It was a vote to overturn a veto in which President Obama protected the elderly and the common citizen from predatory investment advisers. Paul Ryan took the position that advisers should be able to rip off the elderly and the consumers and be protected from fiduciary responsibility to their clients. Republicans overwhelmingly supported ripping off Americans. Then they adjourned.
Two hours later, Ryan had a surrogate reconvene a session (he did not show his face again on or off the camera) so the House could vote on closing Wednesday’s business. Then they held a vote to start Thursday’s business. Then they adjourned and they all went home. They walked past protesters and congressmen and women and piles of faxes and phone messages and constituents. The insects called Americans trying to be heard were not even acknowledged. They were merely brushed aside like an ant on their collar. Disregarded as insignificant. Not one checkbook was visible so none of those people was visible.
Shame on you Paul Ryan. Shame on you Republicans that voted for it. Shame on Congress. Shame on all of you. Wait, the Democrats voted to support those protections for consumers and the elderly and, as usual, the Republican majority carried the day. Damn them. Again, the Democrats got it right but no one noticed. I know, it was Obama’s fault. Soon it will probably be Hillary’s fault. Change comes in really small increments in Washington. But one thing never changes…it is never, ever, ever, ever a Republican’s fault. The people are wrong, the Democrats are wrong, the media is wrong, the pundits are wrong, the candidates are wrong, but the Republicans are never, ever, ever wrong.
The scary part of this is that what should defeat a Republican coward has become media talking points that saves the Republican coward. Paul Ryan is a great dad, we hear. Ok for his kids but not for ours or and not for the kids at Sandyhook. He is a great husband, we hear. But not for the families in Colorado or Oregon or San Bernadino. He is a “true patriot” and he “really feels” the weight of his office, we hear. But not for the soldiers and students at Virginia Tech or Fort Hood. Good. No matter how “good” he is to the media, in reality he works for, represents, and promotes the NRA. Period. And if one has a checkbook big enough…well, who knows.
Paul Ryan forgot that “Speaker of the House” means the whole House, not just the NRA donors that dominate it. He forgot that being third in line to running the country means he has to represent the country, not just his tiny slice of Wisconsin or his slightly larger slice of Republicans. It means he cannot be the “lap dog of the NRA”as he is affectionately called by certain media pundits.
Pretty sad for a guy that refuses to acknowledge that he should represent the more than 90% of Americans that support common sense gun legislation. Pretty awesome for a guy who gets massive contributions from the NRA. Pretty convenient that he probably has Wayne LaPierre on speed dial to find out what he is allowed to think. Pretty inspiring to know that he appears to get his directions to pick up his talking points memo on gun legislation directly from the NRA and the Kochs.
Make no mistake. House Democrats stand no chance of beating the NRA right now because every single Republican, and Paul Ryan, belong heart and soul, to the NRA. They do not think on their own. They do not act on their own. They do not give a hoot about their constituents unless they are ordered to do so by the the NRA. The number of bodies that pile up can be relegated to “terrorists” or “fringe” or “mentally ill” people that just “accidentally” got access to guns. The NRA will “protect them.” Every single Republican probably calls the NRA to ask what they are allowed to have for breakfast. The Kochs decide lunch, and apparently Wall Street has the evening hours.
Everyone decries the influence of Citizen’s United and the Koch Brothers. These folks offer a pittance compared to the NRA when it comes to campaign influence. No one – I mean one one – not Democrat or Republican, wants to be out-primaried by the NRA. Ask Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Joe Manchion (D-WV) and Jon Tester (D-MT) how easy it is to sell your soul. No high ground for Democrats there, but these three pillars of Democrat values are not up for re-election until 2018.
We cannot hold out for 2 1/2 weeks of sit-ins because the media will get bored within 24 hours. With the Brexit vote that split the UK with the EU, a few Democrats standing on principle and trying to protect Americans, will be forgotten in the rush to understand what happened to the logical, steadfast, reliable Brits. The sleeping bags and pink striped pillows of our Congressmen and women ensconced in the well of the US House of Representatives will never make the cable circuit. Think about it: “Brexit” sounds so much sexier than “common sense gun regulation.” But it was a start. Democrats, Progressives, Liberals, Independents and even a few Republicans did notice. I am so proud of them for trying.
Democrats stood up. They fought back against the cowardly bullies. For once, the Democrats found their chutzpah. There is a real and palpable difference between Democrats and Republicans these days. There is a real and palpable difference in what we fight for, and how we fight for common sense. There is a real and palpable difference between who will stand up for average Americans, the middle class and the poor, and who will stand up for gun manufacturers, corporations and the wealthy that refuse to contribute to our great nation.
The letter “D” represents “hard work” and that is something Republicans believe is beneath them. Don’t be fooled. There is only one party that represents the people these days. Maybe it won’t always be that way, and maybe it hasn’t always been that way. But right now, this day, in this time, in this election, there is only one party that cares about the America run by citizens. They are called Democrats. The Republican party represents the NRA, corporations, and the wealthy and they are well-paid to vote against Americans. My thoughts and prayers are with them.