Paul Ryan is indeed a Zombie-Eyed Granny Starver


I told the following story about two years ago. It bears repeating for a different reason:

When I was 18 years old, my father died of a brain tumor. 

A few weeks after the funeral, I left for college at Michigan State University. Freshmen were required to room blind, so I had no idea who my roommate would be. When I met him, a tall blonde guy named Brian, I was still wearing the Kriah ribbon--a small torn piece of black cloth.

We shook hands, introduced ourselves, and then Brian asked me what the torn ribbon was for. I explained that my father had recently passed away, and that Jewish custom was for mourners to wear torn black cloth as part of the mourning process.

His response?

"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that he's burning in hell right now."

I should note that this was less than 5 minutes after we had met. I was assigned to live in the same room as this guy for the next 9 months.

Needless to say, between the death of my father and having to live with this jackass, my freshman year at MSU doesn't exactly hold fond memories for me.

Over the next few days, while getting to know the other guys on our dorm floor, I found out more about Brian. It turns out that he was a sophomore, and he had utterly trashed his reputation right out of the gate, acting like an utter douchebag, being obnoxious to women and so forth, to the point that he had earned the nickname "Scrotum".

Over the summer between his freshman and sophomore years, he had supposedly become a born-again Christian. However, judging by his initial response to me, as well as his words and actions over the following days, it seemed pretty clear that "born-again Christian" was simply a new persona he had decided to try on for size in order to repair his image with fellow students. It didn't take; he was still Scrotum, just with a new schtick.

I was thinking of this incident last night when I watched the clip above of Paul Ryan talking about how he's been "dreaming of" kicking poor people off of Medicaid "since...drinking from a keg".

In a conversation with the National Review’s Rich Lowry on Friday, Ryan bragged about how conservatives now have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to take health coverage away from the most vulnerable Americans.

“So Medicaid,” Ryan told Lowry, “sending it back to the states, capping its growth rate. We’ve been dreaming of this since I’ve been around — since you and I were drinking at a keg. . . . I’ve been thinking about this stuff for a long time. We’re on the cusp of doing something we’ve long believed in.”

Ryan is 47 years old, which means that, if he started “drinking at a keg” early in his college career, he’s fantasized about all the poor people who could be stripped of health care for nearly three decades.

Now, aside from the callousness and cruelty of kicking millions of vulnerable people off of their healthcare coverage, this is just...creepy.

I wasn't much of a drinker in college, but when I did go to a house party, I was mostly concerned with stuff like working up the courage to talk to woman I liked, or with not spilling beer all over myself. When I actually did get into a serious conversation with others students about politics, the economy or other real issues, I'm sure I talked a lot about cleaning up the environment (the hole in the ozone layer was a big deal at the time, and the ban on CFCs was going into effect around this time), racial tensions (the Rodney King beating and L.A. riots took place my senior year) and so forth.

I guarantee you that "capping the growth rate of Medicaid by turning control of it over to the states" was not remotely on the list of topics I was thinking about, mainly because "rip away healthcare coverage for millions of people" never struck me as being a good idea.

But not Paul Ryan. This is what he's been "dreaming about" for 30-odd years. This is what he apparently gets off on.

Back in 2013, Charles Pierce described Ryan thusly in Esquire:

I swear, it is harder to get the members of our courtier press to give up their fairy tales than it is to get someone off smack. By all reasonable measures, Paul Ryan, the zombie-eyed granny starver from the state of Wisconsin and first runner-up in the most recent vice-presidential pageant, should be a spent force in our politics. Every time he produces a "budget," actual economists collapse in helpless laughter and other Republicans hide behind the drapes. As a vice-presidential candidate, Joe Biden made him look like a child, and Ryan was unable even to carry his own precinct for the Republican ticket. 

That about sums Ryan up.