Many moons ago, I described the Congressional Retirement Plan™:
I think he’s [Paul Krugman] right in that it’s not about the campaign contributions. If their reluctance to support a public option were based solely on the electoral calculus of campaign donations versus popular support–that is, votes–the votes win hands down. Any Democratic senator in a swing state who needs independent and Republican votes can’t afford to piss off the ~50% of Republicans and ~70% of independents who support a public option. To the extent that an Evan Bayh is supported by independents and Republicans, does he really think that these crossover voters are the ones who oppose a public option? (Actually, Bayh just might think so, since he’s dumber than a fucking sack of hammers). So, if this is simple electoral politics, the obvious move is to screw your donors (of course, we are talking about ‘new Democrats’ who are the most inept politicians in recorded history, so who knows?).
So, Mad Biologist, how is this about money? It’s simple: it’s about life after politics. One of the dirty secrets about many, if not most, congressmen and senators is that they like Washington, D.C., rhetoric notwithstanding. They want to stay in town after they leave (or lose) office. Once you’ve tasted the Capital of the Free World, do you really want to go back to Pierre, South Dakota? (Tom Daschle comes to mind…). It’s funny how many politicians, having made a career out of bashing Wor-Shing-Tun, don’t…seem…to…ever…leave.
I can’t blame them: I moved to Boston, and would be very happy to stay here. Places do grow on you. The problem comes, for politicians, when they have to find a job. For an ex-politician, there aren’t that many ‘straight paths’ to getting your next job: lobbyist and corporate board member are the easiest and the most lucrative.
But if you get a reputation as someone who opposes large business interests, what chance do you have of getting either of these types of jobs? Sometimes, the quid pro quo is very crude and direct (e.g., Billy Tauzin), but the Village’s political culture makes it clear what is acceptable. One should not be ‘populist’, or, heaven forbid, liberal.
So guess who’s coming to town? (it’s not Santa Claus; boldface mine):
After making it so abundantly clear that D.C. wasn’t his cup of coffee, Paul Ryan is moving his family to the Washington area.
The former House speaker and self-reported “Wisconsin guy that came to Washington to make a difference” is leaving his home in Janesville for a new rental somewhere in the Maryland suburbs, Politico reported on Tuesday. He will also maintain ownership of his Wisconsin home, per Politico.
The move is a bit of a reversal for the congressman. During his tenure as an elected official, Ryan repeatedly took pride in not settling down in D.C., opting to sleep in his office instead and fly back to Wisconsin on weekends.
“I’m just a normal guy,” he told CNN in 2015. “I live in Janesville, Wisconsin, I commute back and forth every week. I just work here, I don’t live here.” For Ryan, staying in D.C. every now and then was “simply a factor of convenience,” he told reporters at a press briefing in 2017.
Ryan’s beef with the District stems from an apparent belief that Washington elites have co-opted the nation’s government. “We do not believe that we should be governed by our betters, that elites in Washington should make all those big decisions,” he once told students at Georgetown University….
But as it turns out, “normal guy” Ryan and his family will now have to try to blend in with the rest of us here in Washington. And only time will tell whether he can adapt to an area he once called “hostile” in an opinion piece. “I’ve tried to be civil by respecting others and showing what it means to be ‘Wisconsin nice’ even in hostile Washington, D.C.,” he wrote.
It’s not yet clear whether Ryan’s new home will be big enough for the many freezer chests of wild game meat that he is used to storing back in Wisconsin. But it’s possible the former congressman and his family may have to cut back on his consumption of pheasant, duck, and deer. “My family is used to eating wild game,” he told Deer And Deer Hunting in 2012. “But they don’t in D.C. That’s foreign to them.”
Since Ryan is going to be around, it’s worth remembering one of the myriad ways he was an asshole–states rights for me, but not for thee:
He also, however, has expressed a belief that D.C.’s local government “needs to be reined in” by Congress. “The D.C. government wants to use revenues to fund abortions in the District,” his 2016 statement says. “House Republicans will not stand for that.”
What a flimflam artist.