Kentucky has looked unique lately. Whereas in several states the Tea Party is purging itself of the establishment GOP guard in Senate primary blood baths (Indiana, Texas, Missouri), in Kentucky they are getting ready to throw a big party together in Frankfort.
While the Tea Party began in early 2009 in Kentucky to a large degree as a repudiation of establishment Republicans like Sen. Mitch McConnell — proudly hoarding earmarks, voting for the bank bailouts, and driving the country into debt (see: Paul vs. Grayson, 2010) — you’d be hard-pressed to find many Tea Partiers saying a single unkind word about McConnell in Kentucky these days (at least in public). From Rand Paul to Tea Party groups and leaders all over the state, such concerns and grievances have been thrown down the memory hole, as everyone will unite around the Obama-bashing event in Frankfort next week.
But ever since this weekend, it seems like the rest of the country has been catching up to us. The Tea Party base has serenaded Paul Ryan as the bold leader of tri-cornered hat principles, the man who will slash our federal budget into an austere, waifish future.
While it is true that Paul Ryan has much in common with the Tea Party — including contempt for women’s rights, and the desire to destroy the unconstitutional stains on our history known as Medicare and Medicaid — the rest of Ryan’s history seems to require a bad case of amnesia in order to embrace.
This is just what you have from Ryan in the past few years:
- voting for the 2008 bank bailouts
- voting for the 2008 auto bailout
- being a proud supporter of earmarks, including millions of dollars worth for his district
- attempting to direct dreaded Obama-commie-stimulus funds to his district in 2009
But most of all, what you have is a history of voting whichever way the George W. Bush-era Republicans wanted him to from 1999 on, driving America from a surplus to a staggering debt with two unpaid wars and an unregulated financial system that blew up the economy and threw America headfirst into the Great Recession.
And the Ryan Plan? As Rand Paul, Mr. Liberty himself, said, it does not balance the budget for 28 years. Why does it take so long? Because those cuts don’t go to debt reduction, they go to tax cuts for the wealthy. After all, the McConnell/Cheney breed of Republican has never cared in the least about debt, it’s all about getting their own paws on a bigger piece of the pie before the rabble can reach their grubby hands in there.
I guess the Tea Party, in Kentucky and the rest of the country, is willing to abandon their principles until Nov. 7. Or maybe this means that the establishment GOP finally co-opted them, after all.