Good Riddance, Mr. Speaker

Jack Walsh
4 min readApr 11, 2018


This is the face they use for every story about Ryan covering Trump’s ass, because this facial expression is the closest he comes to expressing shame.

On a good day, Paul Ryan is a traitor to his baptism. On a bad day, he’s a traitor to his country. There have been a lot of bad days lately.

To hear him tell it, Paul Ryan first came to public service out of his contempt for the poor. He made his name by proposing brutal cuts to the social safety net for the benefit of the wealthy — a common position among members of his party, but the Congressman stood out by including Excel spreadsheets with his many proposals to flay the American underclass. The supply-sider fantasy laid out on those spreadsheets was entirely baseless, but in the intellectual vacuum of the Obama-era GOP, merely going through the motions of abstract thought made you an intellectual titan of the party.

That is exactly what Mr. Ryan became. He was their “wonk,” whose earnest, aw-shucks, all-American pageant of Austrian-school economic brutalism earned him the undying respect of the press. He was spoken of as if he was some great thinker of conservative policy, all for pretending that his boilerplate punish-the-unworthy policies bore any relationship to economic or mathematical reality. The Republicans were living in the land of the blind, and Ryan’s lone, cataract-fogged eye made him a king.

Steve Bannon aptly described the Speaker as “created in a lab by the Heritage Foundation,” which is undoubtedly why Mitt Romney picked him as his running mate — who more appropriate to run with a candidate who owns a dressage horse? That profile made him the obvious (and only) choice for Speaker once Boehner threw in the towel, which was incidentally the last instance of a Republican in the House showing any political courage whatsoever. Paul Ryan embodied the infliction of the will of the few on the lives of the many, so he was a perfect choice to lead a Congress so gerrymandered that the GOP House candidates earned a million votes less than Democrats in 2012 and still maintained a 49-seat advantage.

When his parliament of Fox News whores passed his tax bill, easily the most shoddily constructed, fly-by-night major legislation enacted in the modern era, he talked about it as the culmination of a lifelong dream. He had just passed a bill that robbed Democratic states to give unneeded relief to cash-rich corporations and the wealthy, and he described it as the completion of his life’s work. Who the hell goes into public service with the fantasy of one day blowing a huge hole in the deficit to pay off your donors, hopefully forcing the government to cut services rather than raise the revenue it needs?

I call him a traitor to his baptism because of that flair for cutting services. He loves to invoke our religion while embodying the hypocrisy of American Catholic Conservatives: in their view, if you’re pro-life, nothing else matters. You can be pro-death-penalty, anti-immigrant, anti-healthcare, pro-war, anti-food-stamp, and view social justice as a cancer, but if you decry abortion, you can credibly claim that you’re more Catholic than any liberal. I had to listen to family members defend a vote for Trump with the same logic, so I’m not a fan.

“How about you try buying your own shit? Unlike you, I actually work for a living, so render unto me.”

Paulie often talks about Catholic social teaching, but Jesus never said “blessed are the poor in spirit, but they must be purified of their unworthiness in the cleansing fires of the free market.” Ludwig von Mises never wrote any of the apocryphal gospels, to my knowledge, but you wouldn’t know it to hear Speaker Ryan tell it. His love of his neighbor doesn’t hold a candle to his fealty to white wealth, nor his belief in the inherent virtue of the same.

I call him a traitor to his country because he has given cover to Trump every step of the way, apart from temporarily retracting his endorsement after Trump bragged about his vagina-grabbing abilities. Boehner was a saboteur who claimed no higher objective than crawling up a Black president’s ass for political gain, yet he is a paragon of moral courage next to his successor. Ryan won’t protect Mueller, he won’t criticize Trump, and he’s allowed Nunes to dishonor the House with his subterfuge against the American intelligence community. It’s all worth it in his mind, though, because he got his tax bill.

So now that he’s hollowed out the republic to give his pimps whatever their hearts desire, the Speaker goes on to some well-deserved rest, to take some time with his children and his beloved abdominal wall. Once he’s recharged, he’ll spend the rest of his life at the American Enterprise Institute, earning millions of dollars per year to push policy that deprives the middle class in order to lavish the proceeds on people who don’t need the money.

Enjoy the Swamp, Paul.



Jack Walsh

Unverified. Uncredentialed. Unpublished. Uncompromising.