Ryan’s cynical flip-flop-flip alienates pundits who had seen him as an intellectual leader
Last year, much of the mainstream media were willing to dismiss Paul Ryan’s flip-flop from his previous position on Medicare cuts as mere campaign rhetoric calculated to make President Obama look bad among seniors.
But now Ryan has flipped back again on that issue, and the acrobatics seem to be hurting him, as Noam Scheiber EXPLAINS:
The problem with Ryan’s new budget—in which he reverts to his pre-campaign position on Medicare cuts — is that it more or less concedes the whole campaign, with its righteous defense of Medicare, was a charade. Among the Washington press corps, this is a major no-no. Depending on the circumstances, reporters may be happy to enable these reinventions, but they are loath to acknowledge their role in them. Ryan basically rubbed their noses in it. Even Politico, whose coverage most resembles ends-justifying scorekeeping, seemed to bridle at the transgression. The last five paragraphs of its main Ryan budget piece catalogued his history of Medicare flip-flops. The closing riff quoted a centrist budget wonk—the kind of person Ryan has made a career of courting—essentially outing him as full of it.
There’s a lesson in here for pols on the make: You can commit all manner of policy sins. If you’re earnest and charming, you can even attack your opponents for ideas over which you share paternity. But do not—I repeat, do not—show up the political media. Hell hath no fury like my fellow hacks spurned.