Compassionate conservatism

Paul Ryan makes fun of a terrified old man as cops wrestle him to the ground for committing the crime of lese Congressman.

Paul Ryan makes jokes as a 71-year-old man, yelling about the threat Ryan poses to Social Security and Medicare, is wrestled to the ground by two police officers. The man isn’t threatening, he’s not cursing, and he’s nowhere near Ryan: he’s just yelling about why fifty years of paying in to the system doesn’t entitle him to get something out of it. As the man is being dragged away, Ryan says “I hope he has taken his blood pressure medication.”

Context here. Ryan charged people $15 to enter his sacred presence, then had five of them kicked out and three of them arrested for asking questions he didn’t want to answer.

This sort of heartless scoffing at the fears and suffering of others seems to be a speciality of right-wing Republicans. (Remember GWB’s chortling about the way Karla Faye Tucker begged for her life as he signed the death warrant?) At least, I can’t think of a comparable instance where it’s a liberal or a Democrat making fun of a terrified old man.

Footnote Were any of the Teahadis who disrupted the town hall meetings of Congressional Democrats in the summer of 2009 arrested for it?

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

11 thoughts on “Compassionate conservatism”

  1. So now a belligerent heckler is a “terrified old man” if he’s shouting at the right person.

    Man, election season makes fine minds go soft.

    1. Yeah really. What right does that guy have to expect to get the benefits he paid for his whole life? The nerve of some people.

      1. I have nothing against yelling at your congressman — but if you’re interrupting a private event, you might expect to get escorted out.

        But I saw nothing in the video that suggested he was “a terrified old man.” Sorry.

        1. Terrified?
          Last night I spoke with my sister. She is 70 and living on SS and Medicare. The platform these guys are running on is the promise to pull the floor out from under her and her adult autistic son.
          I would say she is terrified. Not in some screaminng horror movie way but in the way real adults are when they see a horrible reality materializing that could turn their lives into a living nightmare.
          There is something wrong with a man who can look at someone he plans to cut off from his lifeline, smile and crack a cheap joke as he has that person hauled away. Something wrong with people who can laugh at that too. Something way wrong.

  2. Now presenting grievances gets you arrested or kicked out. I wonder what Madison would have to say about that?

  3. Actually, I think people should be polite to officials, no matter how obnoxious they are to us.

    But if you’re going to make an appearance and you’re running for office, then having people arrested for yelling is definitely a punk move. If he hasn’t got an answer for the question, he shouldn’t be running for that office. And if he’s not taking questions, then it’s a press conference.

  4. I’ve been heckled at presentations before, and it never dawned on me that one should just tell security to throw people out. When I get heckled, I very firmly tell the person that they can ask a question or make a comment but they have to wait their turn, and then ask the moderator to put them in the queue for questions/comments. Only after they refuse and keep yelling does security get involved. And I make no claims to being a public representative. Obviously, answering constituents is something that is beneath Ryan. And Chuchundra is right: what a sense of humor — to make of the man’s medication when you are planning to cut Medicare! What a wit!

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