WASHINGTON, D.C. — Newly-minted Speaker of the House Paul Ryan took a break from watching his daughter’s soccer game in the early afternoon of a work day to address criticism of his seemingly hypocritical stance on paid family leave.
Speaker Ryan’s critics came to the fore when he made his list of demands for accepting the Speakership. Ryan insisted to his Republican cohorts that should he run and win the election to replace former Congressman John Boehner (R-OH) as the second in line to the presidency behind Vice President Biden that they fall in line behind him. But what set off his opponents is when he made his “family time” a strict condition of his speakership. Ryan said that he didn’t want to spend as much time fundraising as Boehner had because his family time was so important to him.
Critics of Ryan said that his demands for family time when most other Speakers would be doing what would be called the the work of their job directly cast him as a hypocrite. Over the weekend, NBC’s Chuck Todd asked Ryan about paid family leave on “Meet The Press” and Ryan said answered his critics. “Because I love my children and I want to be home on Sundays and Saturdays like most people,” Ryan said, “doesn’t mean I’m for taking money from hardworking taxpayers to create a brand new entitlement program.”
“Sure,” Ryan said later Sunday afternoon as he exited his gym and saw reporters standing there, “I’m not most people because I’m an elected official who literally is paid by the taxpayers to do a job unlike anyone else’s job, but still, as a rich Republican I have zero problem pretending to be an Average Joe to elicit sympathy from my supporters.” Speaker Ryan then told the media on hand that he knows “the American people understand a different set of rules apply to members of Congress, but those rules don’t make me any different than anyone else.”
Congressman Ryan, who openly admits that his father’s Social Security death benefits paid the way for his escape from the lower middle class, also told reporters that “as a Republican” he “only talks about family values when [he is] implying that gay people shouldn’t have the same rights as straight people or when [he is] saying that women shouldn’t control their own reproductive decisions.” The Wisconsin Republican told reporters he thinks “it is absolutely not hypocritical to insist on getting something many Americans literally cannot afford or cannot get from their employers.”
“Just because I get to do it, that doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone,” Speaker Ryan told reporters. “Remember when Mitt and I were telling everyone that just because Romneycare worked fantastically in Massachusetts that didn’t mean we could make a similar thing happen with Obamacare,” he asked, evoking memories of his disastrous 2012 Vice-Presidential run with Republican nominee Mitt Romney, adding, “Same shit, different rhetoric, guys.”
As the impromptu press conference was wrapping up, Ryan said to reporters, “Look, at the end of it all, as a Republican the only time I really want or need to bring up family time is when I’m blowing a racist dog whistle about why black people on average live in and deal with poverty more than white people. As a Republican, I only need to even care about the ‘traditional nuclear family’ when I’m trying to get more votes from evangelical Christians. You can be mad about that all you want; but it’s not going to change any time soon because a whole lot of people vote for my party strictly because they truly believe I look out for the little guy, even when I very clearly and hypocritically don’t. See ya guys, I need to go work on my pecs in home gym.”