The “new” Paul Ryan and Republican Party

David Brooks had a column today that was so transparently wishful thinking that it was laughable.  A few pandering comments and he seems to believe the party is going to recast itself in his desired image of it.  This part struck me:

Finally, there has even been some shifting of economic values, or at least in how the party presents those values [emphasis mine]. The other speaker at the Kemp dinner was Representative Paul Ryan, who spoke about how to alleviate poverty. He didn’t abandon any of his fundamental beliefs, but he framed those beliefs in a more welcoming way and opened up room for growth and new thinking.

Ummm, talking nicely about poor people instead of calling them “takers” without actually changing any policy does not a new Republican party make.  Chait, naturally, had a much smarter take on Rubio and Ryan’s re-branding.  As for Ryan’s newfound concern about the poor:

Ryan’s speech at Cleveland State did insist that he loves the poor and wants them to succeed, but the actual policy argument he made was that he plans to help the poor by taking away subsidized health care and nutritional assistance and thereby give them the kick in the pants they need to get off their lazy butts and stop being moochers. Ryan had no policy to offer the poor other than the incentive of being hungrier and sicker, and if he has since decided to adopt such a policy, he has not informed Politico.

Talk is cheap.  Until policy proposals start changing, this is still the Tea Party’s GOP.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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