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Paul Ryan is teflon. The responsibility of horrendous consequences of the Speaker’s bad judgment and lack of leadership easily slide off of him like bacon fat slips off a coated frying pan. We have seen wages stagnate, guns proliferate, and education debt propagate, and yet nobody in the media has asked about the Republican Congress's responsibility in enabling the now deadly combination.

speaker ryan

Paul Ryan, Teflon Man—Mario Solis-Marich

This week Ryan will be on CNN in a desperate attempt to save his currently vulnerable congressional seat. While it is clear that this is a free reelection commercial from the perspective of the Paul Ryan campaign, CNN’s motivations are yet to be seen. The muddiness of the cable news network intentions comes from the fact that up until now it has given a free ride not only to the Speaker but in fact the entire House GOP caucus. The CNN coverage of policy matters has been so singularly focused on the White House that one often has the urge to send them a copy of the Constitution or at least the Schoolhouse Rock cartoon that shows how a bill becomes law.

The media, now trained to accept right wing radio type answers from Republicans to even the most serious questions of policy and civil society, are impressed that Ryan has been able to thwart those in his party that would for ideological reasons shut down the government and not pay its creditors.

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In today's environment the once minimum requirement of ensuring the good faith and credit of the United States is seen as a feat of great vision. Paul Ryan’s heralded leadership skills are in fact no greater than those exercised by a 13-year-old who masters his younger siblings. The skill level displayed by Ryan is certainly deserving of a pat on the head now and then but it does not qualify an individual for a place on Mount Rushmore.

On Tuesday night, we will discover if CNN is ready to demonstrate that it knows how our government works. Will CNN moderator Jake Tapper allow Ryan to blame the country's woes solely on the executive branch? Will Tapper ask him why Ryan cannot build a coalition of representatives that move our labor policies into the economic system of the 21st century? Will Tapper ask Ryan why our nation's education system is redlined against African American and Latino children and what that means for our collective future?

The media has been fooled into believing that the sole responsibility of racial relations, the economy, gun safety measures, and the national student debt crises are President Obama’s. Will Tapper press Ryan on why during a time of the worst racial unrest since 1968 he is supporting a candidate for President who Ryan himself has decried for making racist statements and enabling anti-semitic postings?

The media has also been conned into believing that the relationship between the Congress and the White House is a one-way street and that the 8-year-old sourness between the two equal branches of government is solely Obama’s creation. Will Tuesday’s CNN forum continue the inaccurate narrative at a time when every institution in the nation needs to take responsibility for our crumbling social pacts and political failures?

The CNN event is scheduled for Tuesday and while staged as being of national interest is surely a local re-election bid in the eyes of Ryan’s sputtering congressional campaign. Ryan and his handlers know what outcome he needs on Tuesday. The question is will CNN and Tapper demand answers on behalf of our country from Paul Ryan or simply put him on the air and apply another coat of easy off spray.


Mario Solis-Marich