Newt Gingrich. Dennis Hastert. John Boehner. Paul Ryan.
What comes to mind while running through that list of individuals? They all seem to have been hiding something creepy behind their smiles.
The first two were scions of hypocrisy. Powerful men, for sure. Keen on forceful implementation of partisan ideology. Absolutely.
But Gingrich carried on affairs outside of marriage, even serving a wife struggling with cancer a directive for divorce. Harsh, dude. And Gingrich invented the brand of divisive, winner-take-all, scorched earth politics that are tearing the country apart these days.
And that was carried on by yet another tough-guy conservative speaker named Dennis Hastert. But his smile was ultimately wiped off his face by scandal.
Yet let’s recall that Dennis Hastert was Speaker of the House for a very long time. He hid his sordid past from the public while pretending to be the good-guy Coach beloved by community and country.
Yet even in that role, he was dismissive of political balance on all matters of domestic policy. He also happily trotted alongside warmongers like Bush and Cheney as they lied to the world and committed what amounted to war crimes through the torture and death of Iraqi citizens.
Then we learned that Hastert hid dark secrets about his own past, essentially bribing men that he had sexually abused as boys to keep quiet so that the lie of his legacy could be sustained. Is it any wonder he was forceful in his politics as well?
Such is the dog-whistle world of conservative politics that the legacy of John Boehner was to preside over the highly prejudiced conservative resistance to America’s first black President, Barack Obama.
Boehner acted in league with the likes of the dog-whistle king Mitch McConnell, who swore that his only goal in life was to make Obama a one-term President. Thus Boehner failed the American people in his role as moderator of Republic, whose Constitution specifically guarantees equal rights and fair treatment for all, even the President.
Boehner further compromised the American people through cynical collusion with lobbyists to turn the Affordable Care Act into a bonanza for insurance companies and Big Pharma.
Yet even Boehner was deposed for incompetency by his own party, who didn’t like the idea that he even talked with President Obama, much less tried to work with him.
And that’s how the Republicans arrived at the likes of Paul Ryan, who didn’t even want the job as Speaker of the House.
Thus Ryan sorts into the bin as yet another hypocrite who insists that he hates government while forming his entire career and wealth around the advantages it has conferred to him. Along the way of course, Ryan has spouted trippy stuff about the merits of Ayn Rand and the blessings of free market economics, but in the end he has turned to be little more than a smarmy salesman for a brand of hateful politics that even he found distasteful. He has squirmed and writhed under the thumb of Donald Trump, but he has yet to stand up to the man. And now he’s quitting so he won’t have to.
At times Ryan has tried to act sort of human, but he kept making obviously stupid mistakes. These included a claim that he ran a marathon in three hours when he’s never even come close to that time in real life. Ryan’s excuse? He was somewhere in that range.
Which about explains the lack of effectiveness and honesty in all of Ryan’s political life. Multiple efforts to gut the Affordable Care Act and replace it have failed. When it came to reforming health care, Republicans proved to be an empty vessel devoid of substantial ideas of even reasonable change. Ryan is a poster boy for that political naivete.
Now he’s “retiring” as he puts it. But in truth, he’s actually quitting for a few years to avoid the bloodbath that is fast approaching for the conservative cabal installed by ignorance of people who consistently vote against their best interests.
That dire fact is being demonstrated in real time by the impact of trade wars being barked into existence by Donald Trump, whose tariffs are predicted to have dire economic effects on farmers here in the USA. Trump has promised that “we’ll make it up to you” but nothing the President says in that sort of context ever comes true.
There’s a simple reason for that. Trump doesn’t have the moral capacity to speak the truth. That’s not how he’s lived his life. And that’s not how he got elected in the first place. If Trump started telling the truth, he’d be impeached immediately. So instead, Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller has been assigned to tell the truth for Donald Trump, and the Big Orange One doesn’t like it one bit.
So there will be some shit hitting the fan very soon. And that’s why Paul Ryan has decided that he has to leave for the moment. He’s been outstripped by a master hypocrite and liar who exceeds even the orange complexion of former Speaker John Boehner.
The line of Republican Speakers has thus proven to exemplify the worst extremes in America politics. From forceful jerks to complicit liars, the Gingrich-Hastert-Boehner-Ryan lineage is a pitiful demonstration of the conflicted, hypocritical core of conservatism as an ideology. These men demonstrate the fact that the conservative doctrine is a cobbled-together mess of competing desires that constitute neither virtues or values. The Republican Party is a gathering of neocontrarians.
It’s all about getting the money and power and keeping it. Hence the activist conservative Supreme Court rulings that favor the “free speech” of hidden political contributions. That’s a thin veneer to cover the cause of political corruption.
Because if Republicans can’t win on the merits of their results, they must excel at getting rich people to pay their way into office. Coming off the Bush era, with 9/11 taking place under their watch, a war of choice in Iraq that cost trillions and an economy that crashed under Republican rule, the GOP doctrine was proven to be a grandiose lie.
But hypocrites and conservatives without conscience (to quote John Dean) excel in the realm of cognitive dissonance. Thus the GOP strategy has been to deny that any of that happened under Bush and Cheney. Or else they disclaim those two as unrepresentative of true conservatism. Which is nothing more than lying about the past. Revisionism. And poor excuses for massive fraud.
And that’s the only reason why Republicans are sad that Paul Ryan is leaving office. He put a friendlier face on their massive disgrace. His friendly altar-boy good lucks and his smiling mug serve as the Poster Child for Republican denial. That tradition incorporates conservative denial of science and evolution, climate change and education in general. But Ryan’s smiling visage overcomes with a youngish-looking appeal for conservative dollars.
And that’s rather creepy. Because one must wonder, given the history of the sexually abusive proclivities of former Speaker Dennis Hastert, if there isn’t something a bit sketchier behind the Republican love for outgoing speaker Paul Ryan.
That smile looks mighty pained at times. Given the dire history of Republican Speakers and their propensity to avoid the truth at any cost, we can only assume that Paul Ryan must be hiding a little something behind that smile.