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October 26, 2016

Who Is Paul Ryan?

FRESNO—Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is visiting the Central Valley to attend a VIP fund-raiser for David Valadao’s Congressional campaign against Emilio Huerta. With the country turning against Donald Trump’s message of hate, fear, anti-immigrant nationalism and sexual assault, the Republican leadership that previously endorsed him is now afraid of the public broadening its dissatisfaction to the rest of the Republican candidates. That is why Ryan is coming to the Central Valley.

“Ryan’s visit to the Central Valley is a last-ditch effort to salvage a Republican Congress in the wake of the gargantuan Trump disaster,” says Michael D. Evans, chair of the Fresno County Democratic Party. “But Ryan is a deeply flawed messenger as economist Paul Krugman has documented repeatedly.”

In recent weeks, Ryan has tried to position himself as the leader of a faction of lukewarm opposition to Trump within the party. In this, he is aided by the “brand” he convinced the media to create for him of a sensible conservative policy wonk. However, the truth is that Ryan is an empty showman just like Trump, but with less of a taste for gold leaf decorations. That is why the Nobel Prize–winning economist Krugman calls Ryan a “con man—someone playing the part of Serious, Honest Conservative, but never doing a very good job of it. His budgets were always fraudulent in obvious ways, full of trillion-dollar magic asterisks and spectacular evasions” (New York Times, May 6).

Ryan became a media darling back in 2010 with his “Roadmap for America’s Future,” a plan of massive spending cuts and reduced taxes for the richest Americans that he claimed would halve the deficit, that is, if you only accounted for the spending cuts and not his tax cuts. Since then, all his supposedly “brilliant” proposed budgets have followed the same formula: massive tax cuts for the richest few, like Trump’s family, and smaller yet still dangerous cuts in services provided to less well-off Americans.

The prospect of Ryan continuing to lead an obstructionist Congress led Krugman to ask, “So how will basic business like budgeting get done? Some observers are already speculating about a regime in which the House is effectively run by Democrats in cooperation with a small rump of rational Republicans. Let’s hope so—but it’s no way to manage a great nation” (New York Times, Oct. 24).

The Republican leadership that chose Trump is now trying to back away from him to save the rest of their hold on power. Ryan is wavering in limbo, disgusted by Trump to the point he can no longer pay him any compliments but not brave enough to denounce him. The Republican leadership lacks “any moral backbone,” says Krugman, and “they will do whatever it takes to guarantee their own political survival” (New York Times, Oct. 24).

“Every time [Ryan is] held up as an example of seriousness,” notes Krugman, “remember that when it mattered, he backed Donald Trump” (New York Times, Oct. 21).

The Fresno County Democratic Party has endorsed Emilio Huerta for Congressional District 21. The official Coordinated Campaign headquarters is at 1035 U Street in downtown Fresno. To volunteer or for more information, contact 559-495-0606 or


Media Inquiries:
Michael D. Evans