Why Is the Left Attacking Paul Ryan?
This is what comes from trying to change a political narrative. Paul Ryan is learning that there is a price to be paid for (a) trying to spark a serious debate about poverty and (b) posing an intellectual and political threat to the "poverty-industrial complex."
More than a week after Ryan made his comments about the culture of poverty on Bill Bennett’s radio show, the fall-out – including suggestions he was rooting for the Irish famine -- continues. On one level, the anti-Ryan backlash can be explained by his status as a potential 2016 presidential contender. But as Mark Thiessen argues, the left has other reasons for launching a pre-emptive strike on the Wisconsin congressman.
Thiessen starts by posing a quite interesting question: "Why are Democrats so threatened by a Republican congressman trying to find new ways to help the poor and vulnerable? Wouldn’t it be better if there were two parties competing to find the best ways to alleviate poverty?"
The answer: even though such a debate would be better for the poor, "it would not be better for the Democratic Party."
Ryan’s attackers worry that if Republicans follow his lead, it will expose the failure of the left’s approach to poverty. For decades, Republicans gave Democrats a near-monopoly in the fight against poverty. And like most monopolies shielded from competition, the Democrat-led war on poverty failed. We have spent trillions of dollars on anti-poverty programs, and today the number of Americans living at or near poverty is higher than it was in 1964.