Inarticulate, inelegant, inner-city, it's not the "in's that are the problem. It's what comes "out" of their mouths that keeps hurting Republicans.
It's easy to attack and demagogue those who don't have a voice. It's easy to blame others when you fail to provide true leadership. And it's easy to reinforce stereotypes and misconceptions to win elections, or to win over your party's base. That is precisely what Paul Ryan did last week.
This presumption that some people -- "in inner cities, in particular" -- are lazy isn't just insulting, it's a premise used by Paul Ryan and others to justify great cruelty while ignoring the actual sources and causes of poverty.
Since there is currently a rather large amount of poverty around that ideally would be rapidly alleviated, you could legitimately expect that the proposals that each side brought to the table might significantly erode the poverty under review. Sadly, however, neither set of proposals do.
Paul Ryan's politics dictate that those who are down on their luck -- even children -- are soulless, not the Wall Street bankers who continue to crush the American middle class, necessitating such assistance in the first place.
Last week, my colleague on the Budget Committee, Rep. Paul Ryan, put out a report: "The War on Poverty: 50 Years Later." Let's be clear, this report is nothing more than an ideologically bankrupt battle plan to attack the poor.
It is a sign of how far right the Republican Party has moved that New York Times columnist Ross Douthat describes Rep. Paul Ryan as a "moderate." In any rational look at the spectrum of American political views, it is hard to imagine attaching the word "moderate" to Ryan on any issue.
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and his staff have reviewed whether President Johnson's "War on Poverty" has been effective over the last 50 years. There are at least five major problems with the report and the subsequent conclusions that are reached.
The result of the Republican budget would be opportunity only for those who already have money. So, of course, the GOP had to try to kill a budget conceived under the proposition of opportunity for everyone.
Ukraine erupted in crisis during the past week, as Russia's Vladimir Putin essentially grabbed Crimea in his own hissy fit. President Obama, of course, has very limited options for dealing with Russia.
For too long, reporters have been bamboozled by Ryan, who claims to be a both a budget expert and something of a social philosopher. But he's just a slick talker who appears to have flunked basic math in high school or college, because his budget numbers never add up.
It's a detailed, serious look at the issue but is beset with misleading evidence and conclusions. There's also something that I found fundamentally odd about the report.
The American dream is in crisis. According to a recent nationwide poll by American Viewpoint, by overwhelming margins, American voters believe that the lives of children have gotten worse rather than better over the past decade.
Rather than have substantive discussions on how we can increase wages for millions of hard-working Americans without losing jobs, both sides will cherry pick the data they want to accentuate and dismiss the rest. This sort of tribal nature of politics is partly to blame for the lack of action in Washington these days.
Republicans want a strong, upwardly mobile middle class and a weak government, but the two cannot coexist. Given the party's obsession with cutting government spending, "mobility" will remain a hollow mantra, nothing more.
The elitism of the right wing -- personified by Tom Perkins and his "system" -- makes me sick. More than that, it makes me angry, and anger is a powerful motivator. We have to understand what progressivism is up against.