The question that pervades only Tea Party minds is, "Is Paul Ryan playing the good cop to John Boehner's bad cop in order to ensure his acquisition of the Big Gavel, after which he'll flip over and screw us worse than the orange Ohioan ever did?"
Naw, I'm just joshing with you - Tea Partiers have no doubt about it:
The presumptive new House speaker is bashing outgoing Speaker John Boehner, Senate leaders and the White House for their backroom budget deal, declaring the "process stinks."
Wisconsin-1 GOP Representative Paul Ryan lashed out at the deal Wednesday — the same day the GOP caucus is expected to nominate him for House speaker — and promised a change in direction. The full House votes on its speaker Thursday, Politico reports.
"This is not the way to do the people's business," Ryan said. "And under new management we are not going to do the people's business this way. We are up against a deadline — that's unfortunate."
"But going forward we can't do the people's business this way. As a conference we should've been meeting months ago to discuss these things to have a unified strategy going forward," he said.
Whatever you think about Paul Ryan and his becoming House Speaker, you have to admit the man knows precisely who his target audience is. But nobody has any grounds for believing that he's lying and as soon as he's sitting in the Big Chair he'll automatically morph into John-boy - or, you know, somebody who isn't conservative.
But then absence of evidence never stopped at least some Tea Partiers:
“I was really surprised that the head of the Heritage Foundation, Jim DeMint, was making calls telling conservatives to back off their conservatism and back the guy for Speaker that doesn’t just have a D, he has an F under the Conservative Review analysis,” Gohmert said.
Supporting Paul Ryan as what he is - the only possibly consensus Speaker candidate - is not "backing off of one's conservatism," a bilious slur that Gohmert can hurl when he's taken the entitlements reform arrows that Ryan has.
Oh, and just to bolster Gohmert's credibility as a source of reliable information....
And this guy wanted to be Speaker himself back in January? Yeesh.
And get a load of precisely the kind of grassroots Tea Party jihadists to which I make such grievously frequent reference in reaction to a large majority of the House
Representative Mark Meadows (R-NC11) has been able to count on his Facebook page for stalwart support during his long-running battle with the House Republican leadership.....
“Keep up the great work,” read a comment posted last week. “We the people thank you for ridding us of John Boehner!”
Which is BS, because it was Boehner who rid you of Boehner; Meadows and friends didn't force him into or out of anything.
But in recent days, the tone of the comments on Meadows’s page, and those of the other members of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus, have changed significantly.
“You truly should be ashamed,” one commenter wrote Thursday. “The people in the caucus will be held responsible come election day.”
“You should all be replaced,” a critic told Representative Barry Loudermilk (R-GA11). Another called Representative Raúl R. Labrador (R-ID1), one of the most persistent thorns in Boehner’s side, “a RINO establishment lap dog” and “another go-along to get along phony who will GLADLY step on the throats of the Conservative electorate.”
There are only two responses to such lunatic doggerel: One involves the use of considerable profanity; the other is to say that if this is representative of the "conservative electorate" - and I pray to God it's not - then I will gladly take the "RINO establishment" any day of the week and six times on Sunday.
Fortunately - and I'm still amazed I can say this - there are voices of reason in the House Freedom Caucus itself:
“Look, I imagine that there’s theoretically a chance that [we] all went from being radical extremist crazies to Washington sellouts in twelve hours,” said Representative Mick Mulvaney (R-SC5), a Freedom Caucus leader. “But maybe a more likely narrative is that we really think that this is a good step for the conservative movement. And it’s up to us to try to explain that to people, and that’s what we’ve been doing.
And your people, Mick, clearly are not listening. Honest to God, I don't even know who they want for Speaker anymore because they've pretty much consigned the entire GOP congressional roster to the "RINO lapdog" camp (and they've drained that insult of any meaning, since if everybody in the GOP is a RINO, doesn't that make conservatives "Republicans in name only"?). This runaway purity meltdown became a ridiculous parody of itself a long time ago; I don't know what to call it now other than an incipient mental illness, which is the only explanation I can fathom for Paul Ryan - who was a Tea Party superstar as recently as three years ago - being bitterly and hatefully condemned as the Devil Incarnate.
Pure, unadulterated insanity.
Speaker-designate Ryan, meanwhile, is aligning himself squarely with the developing wishes of the American people:
A majority of Americans think government spending cuts are so important that it would be worth a government shutdown to achieve them, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll. And half want spending cuts to be part of any deal to increase the nation's debt limit. [emphasis added]
I still think respondents are speaking hypothetically, and if another real-life shutdown showdown arose, the media would turn them against it and they'd blame it all on the GOP, just like they always do. and just as everybody is always for spending cuts except when it comes to the spending programs they like. In other words, "Let's target foreign aid again!"
But if there is at least theoretical public support for actual little tiny austerity steps, I suppose that technically counts as progress. But I wouldn't bet the farm on it, any more than Paul Ryan will bet his Speakership, I reckon.
UPDATE: A toe-curlingly fascinating question:
Fun thought: if House purists hadn’t pushed Boehner out [which they didn't], crap sandwich budget deal may never have happened.
It's almost as if they crave betrayal, isn't it?