Tuesday, August 14, 2012

More Paul Ryan Commentary: Death's-Head Budget, Media Fluff, and Wife Janna

Wise words from Peter Laarman at Religion Dispatches about the GOP "death's-head budget" and how Ryan (as opposed to Romney) makes absolutely clear what the GOP death's-head plan for the nation really is:

Unlike Romney, Ryan is anything but a cipher in respect to concrete policies. We know exactly what he thinks, and his entire party’s backing for his death’s-head budget means Obama doesn’t have to stretch at all to say, "This is their plan, folks. More for them, less for you. And the idea that this will grow the economy is just fairy dust."

Meanwhile, just as I predicted yesterday, the mainstream media are kicking into high-gear spin doctoring of the death's head.   At centrist Catholic blog sites, I've begun to read comments (these from Catholics who profess to be moderate to liberal, it's important to point out) about what a gee-whiz nice all-around kind of guy Ryan is, the kind of guy who wrestles catfish with his bare hands, knocks back beer and eats brats with the guys, a hard-working self-made man, a good, faithful Catholic, an intellectual (!) who will look just so darned nice along with his wife and children in the v-p's office.

On and on.  Ad nauseam.  And I do mean the nauseam part of the phrase.

John Stewart is already on the media's back about the fluff.  And I say good for John Stewart.

It will be interesting to see how willing the mainstream media will be to delve into the interesting background of Ryan's wife Janna Little Ryan.  We out in the sticks, to whom the important people who run things rarely want to listen, have been talking among ourselves recently on various local blogs about this after Chris Casteel at the News OK (Oklahoma) Politics blog reminded us a few days ago that Little's grandfather, who once ran for the gubernatorial seat in Oklahoma, was a supporter of rabid segregationist George Wallace.

But as Eleanor Clift counters at the Daily Beast, at least Jana Little Ryan has her "devout Catholic" faith to help her soldier through as people look into stories like this one.  (And what have devout Catholics in cultural power centers like the beltway to do with the legacy of raw racism that is still alive throughout the U.S. and on full display in the reaction to an African-American president, for pete's sake?  Catholics racist?  Unimaginable!)

And now it's coming out that, though GOP spinmeisters (and the fawning, dishonest media) want to spin Janna Little Ryan as just a stay-at-home mom and model Catholic mother, she has lobbied for the cigar, nuclear, and pharmaceutical industries, in her alter ego as a corporate lobbyist (who also happens to be a high-powered attorney).

It's trite to note this, but the media have created a legacy of great shame for themselves in recent decades, as they grovel before the rich and famous and forget about their commitment to telling the truth and defending the rights of all citizens, especially the disempowered.   And I don't expect them to  reverse the groveling they've exhibited from the Reagan era forward as they vet the candidates for the fall elections, no matter how much damage their abdication of their journalistic responsibility does to American democracy.

Addendum, later: See TheraP's very good comment below linking to her blog's analysis of Shakespearean "smiling villains."

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