Is Rep. Paul Ryan a Lazy White Man?


Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw) Weekend Contributor

If the title of this piece shocks you, I apologize.  On second thought, I won’t apologize for asking a legitimate question about a prominent politician who has made his proposals to harm the poor and middle class and give tax cuts to the wealthy his calling card in the conservative movement. Recently, Rep. Ryan made a statement about the people who inhabit the inner city claiming that those residents are less than motivated to work for a living.

‘ “Paul Ryan triggered a firestorm of recrimination this week. Speaking recently on Bill Bennett’s Morning in America radio program, the Wisconsin Republican and self-styled budget wonk linked poverty to “this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work.” ‘ Bill Moyers

It seems obvious to me who Paul Ryan is talking about here. What do you think he is saying here?    Of course, Mr. Ryan tried to walk back from the statements, but how can you unring this bell?

“Paul Ryan’s claim that black people have “bad culture”, may be genetically defective, and do not have “normal” “middle class” values about the merits of “hard work”, is a simple channeling of legendary Republican strategist Lee Atwater’s tactics for mobilizing white voters by leveraging their hostility to black Americans.

Atwater famously advised Republicans to:

You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.… “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”

The Southern Strategy has been the cornerstone of Republican politics for at least five decades. While former Republican National Committee chairmen Ken Mehlman and Michael Steele admitted (and apologized) that Republicans use racist appeals to motivate white voters, the Southern Strategy remains central to their party’s electoral logic and approach. Paul Ryan’s racism and embrace of the Southern Strategy is the Republican Party’s conventional wisdom in practice.” readersupportednews

It is argued by the aforementioned article that Rep. Ryan is just continuing the Republican Southern Strategy initiated decades ago. In light of Ryan’s comments, it seems like an easy argument to make.  The real purpose of this article is not to point fingers at an individual Congressman who has a history of making comments and making policy that arguably harms the poor.  What is important in this latest statement by Ryan is just how entrenched racism may be in this country and how it may still be impacting the politics of the day.

Was Rep. Ryan making an intentionally racist comment or was it just a very bad “slip of the tongue”?  Are current politics and politicians carrying on racial stereotypes of the past and making bad policy accordingly?  Is Rep. Ryan just a victim here or is he trying to take advantage of “white innocence” and “white privilege”?

It isn’t important what I think.  What is important is what you think.  Is racism still alive and well in this country?  What recent examples of racism, if any,  can you cite?  Is racism pervasive in this country and/or in American politics?  Once again, what do you think?

“The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other weekend bloggers.  As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.”

173 thoughts on “Is Rep. Paul Ryan a Lazy White Man?

  1. AuntieM: Are you related to Nick somehow?

    As someone who frequently votes Democratic, I hope Paul Ryan runs for national office; he’d be soooo easy to defeat.

    First, he has issues with telling the truth. Then there is the severe waffling. There is his ardent affection for Ayn Rand. And that’s before we get to the fact that he got to where he is today as a result of receiving social security benefits at an early age.

    There is an inherent unfairness in Paul Ryan’s plan to eliminate SS would 45-50 year old out in the cold, essentially taking away their benefits at a point in their lives when they are extremely vulnerable. It would also ensure that much of this population would have to remain in the workforce, competing with younger workers for fewer jobs.

    And if accountability and responsibility mean anything in Republican jargon, Ryan still has yet to explain why he ran out the backdoor of his office in order to avoid angry constituents gathering for a townhall meeting, rather than stay and address his concerns. The people he ran out on were farmers, retired people and the elderly, hardly a group of rabble. Ryan’s actions on that day were nothing short of cowardly.

  2. I am 56, I would gladly not take SS if they stopped making me pay today. They can have the money I already put in over the last 30 plus years. Just let me live in freedom.

  3. Dagda… Nick….

    If you are not one in the same I apologize….you sound like you’re cut from the same cord…. But hey…if I am wrong I apologize….

    • AY,
      You and RTC sound alike, too. Are you cut from the same cord? And Elaine M. and annie could be twins separated at birth? Is this relation thing a new theme??? Are we going to do Six Degrees of Separation from Barack Obama?

  4. dagda:

    You are right, Your last post, showed me you are not one of the herd. I may have misjudged you. However, why argue with Obama’s drones? Unless it is for the sake of arguing.

    Elaine: Thanks for the video on Ayn Ryan……………… I listened to the entire video, Very wise woman. I think I will read the books now. By the way, when one has to use snippets so that the complete answer to a pointed question is not heard, it proves only that the person using the snippet cannot handle the truth and does not want the full truth to be known proving only one thing. Obama has a lot of mindless drones who can’t handle the truth.

    Pete: RE: ” don’t you worry now, aunty m. now that you can get obama care they’ll get the dosage worked out on your meds real soon.”

    Does it matter that I am 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 or older? Since when does one have to reveal age to blog? For the record: I am of sound mind, don’t drink, smoke, or do drugs, legal or illegal. Never used illegal drugs, I have more respect for the body my Lord game me. Bet my medicine cabinet has less in it that yours. Mine is legal though. Better health, than most of the 30 year old generation. One good thing, I have had a very interesting life and lived thru more than most, a plus for me. I am also an Aunt dubbed the name Auntie M by a niece.

    RE: Healthcare…………….. I feel sorry for those on Obama care. You really got scammed there or are you one who is getting a pass OR are you receiving some of the Perks our self appointed King gives his minions? No need to answer, Oh yes and I believe in JESUS too, guess that makes me unsuitable for posting huh?.. I think I answered your question adequately. I already know about your age group. Sad as it seems, they are just waking up to the fact that their “Savior” stuck it to them too. Odd, this blog tells me that there are a lot more that still have their eyes closed.

  5. Inner city culture is a problem for the people in the inner city. Don’t you care about them? White or black, it is a culture that has problems And all people want to do is call other people racist rather than helping those people in the inner city who need help.

  6. Paul Ryan, Culture and Poverty

    by Charles Blow

    “But this is in part the problem, and danger, of people like Ryan: There is an ever-swirling mix of inspiration and insult, where the borders between the factual and the fudged are intentionally blurred and cover is given for corrosive ideas.

    Ryan is “one of the good guys,” a prominent Republican operative explained to me last week. Maybe so, but even good people are capable of saying and believing bad things, and what Ryan said was horrific.”

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