Press "Enter" to skip to content

Tim Ryan Challenges Pelosi; Trump Builds Bridges to Corporate Profits

Congressman Tim Ryan [D-Ohio-17] with South Dakota State Legislative candidates Nikki Bootz and Cory Heidelberger, Democrats from Aberdeen, SD.
Congressman Tim Ryan [D-Ohio-17] with Aberdeen Democrats Nikki Bootz and Cory Heidelberger, at McGovern Day, 2016.04.30.

If Democrats need a distraction from the real work of retaking their state legislatures, they can spend Thanksgiving debating who should be House Minority Leader, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-California) or Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio). The National Republican Congressional Committee snidely endorsed Pelosi last week, crediting her for the Republican majority. I can’t recall Pelosi ever visiting South Dakota, but Ryan did last April, giving the kind of speech about working-class values is becoming the politically correct code we are allowed to use to explain how Trump beat Clinton and how Democrats can win aggrieved voters back (it is the economy, stupid, but Trump didn’t win by being king of economic empathy; he won by dog-whistling racial resentment). I’ll back Ryan just for having visited South Dakota and for the pleasure of all the confusing headlines that will ensue when Minority Leader Ryan battles House Speaker Ryan (“Ryan Fryin’ Ryan for Lyin'”).

Ryan says he’s willing to work with Trump, but he seems no pushover. Ryan says Trump’s infrastructure plan “looks like a bunch of smoke and mirrors and corporate giveaways.” He’s got that right:

First, Trump’s plan is not really an infrastructure plan. It’s a tax-cut plan for utility-industry and construction-sector investors, and a massive corporate welfare plan for contractors. The Trump plan doesn’t directly fund new roads, bridges, water systems or airports, as did Hillary Clinton’s 2016 infrastructure proposal. Instead, Trump’s plan provides tax breaks to private-sector investors who back profitable construction projects. These projects (such as electrical grid modernization or energy pipeline expansion) might already be planned or even underway. There’s no requirement that the tax breaks be used for incremental or otherwise expanded construction efforts; they could all go just to fatten the pockets of investors in previously planned projects.

Moreover, as others have noted, desperately needed infrastructure projects that are not attractive to private investors — municipal water-system overhauls, repairs of existing roads, replacement of bridges that do not charge tolls — get no help from Trump’s plan. And contractors? Well, they get a “10 percent pretax profit margin,” according to the plan. Combined with Trump’s sweeping business tax break, this would represent a stunning $85 billion after-tax profit for contractors — underwritten by the taxpayers [Ronald A. Klain, “Trump’s Big Infrastructure Plan? It’s a Trap,” Washington Post, 2016.11.18].

Trump isn’t interested in building bridges for America; Democrats shouldn’t pretend they can build bridges with Trump. If Tim Ryan differs from Nancy Pelosi on accommodating Trump, if Ryan will offer more vigorous resistance to the fascist and fiscally dangerous regime, then let’s back Ryan.

Related Reading:

  1. Trump’s ascent “is not a triumph of the working class. It is a proclamation of white supremacy.” —Lena Afridi, “The Working Class Trump Will Suppress,” Al Jazeera, 2016.11.13.
  2. Fascism, as defined by Black revolutionary and assassinated political prisoner George Jackson, is the complete control of the state by monopoly capital. Fascism is the last stage of capitalism in the heart of the US imperial center where the relationship between the state and corporation becomes indiscernible.” —Danny Haiphong, “Is the U.S. a Fascist Society? Fascism is a Political Economic Structure Which Serves Corporate Interests,” Global Research, 2014.04.08.
  3. The overseas business deals from which President-Elect Trump refuses to separate himself include eight deals inked during the Presidential campaign tied to “a potential hotel project in Saudi Arabia, the oil-rich Arab kingdom that Trump has said he ‘would want to protect.'” —Drew Harwell and Anu Narayanswamy, “A Scramble to Assess the Dangers of President-Elect Donald Trump’s Global Business Empire,” Washington Post, 2016.11.20.


  1. mike from iowa 2016-11-21 07:24

    Yeah, but, Hillary’s a CROOK!

  2. barry freed 2016-11-21 08:49

    Yes, she is a crook, but what has that to do with the crooks in the R Party?.

  3. Rorschach 2016-11-21 09:14

    Nancy Pelosi will turn 77 in March. Think about that for a moment. Elderly people clinging to power distracts from the Democratic Party developing a new message and persona to resonate with younger people.

    Pelosi has had her day. She shouldn’t be forced to step aside; she should do it voluntarily and of her own volition. But if she is too self-centered and/or dense to understand that newer, younger leadership will help the Democratic Party rebuild then by all means force her out of leadership.

  4. mike from iowa 2016-11-21 09:25

    HRC is not a crook. Seriously. Being constantly accused of but never being charged with or found guilty of a single crime means she is not a crook. Pay attention.

  5. mike from iowa 2016-11-21 09:29

    Dem leadership is getting old. I am afraid the younger ones have less ties to the greatness of the party-the civil rights wins, Medicare/Medicaid, equality for all etc, and will be more willing to kowtow to fascist wingnuts. Wingnuts are getting younger and even more virulent, violent and plain loco en la cabeza.

  6. bearcreekbat 2016-11-21 11:22

    For years now intellectuals have been rationalizing how the rise of the middle class undermined Karl Marx’s economic theory of dialectic materialism. Marx predicted that Capitalism would continue to create inequities between the working class and rich owners of the means of production. But after WW2 the middle class rose up and the tensions between workers and owners settled into a relatively comfortable, non-revolutionary, mode.

    With the rise of Trump and Brexit perhaps old Karl’s theory was written off a bit early. This new movement appears much more consistent with the theory of economic dialectic materialism than with a stable capitalistic economic system. Hang on as we might be in for quite a ride after all, especially since the Marx economic theory is based on historical determinism rather than any political desire for change or stability.

  7. Greg 2016-11-21 12:10

    Mike, if Hillary is not a crook why does Jesse Jackson want President Obama to pardon her?

  8. Roger Cornelius 2016-11-21 12:12

    What would you call a person that settles a $40 million fraud case for $25 million?
    I don’t know about you, but I would call him a self admitted fraud or maybe crook would fit better.

  9. Roger Cornelius 2016-11-21 12:15

    Paul Ryan defeating Nancy Pelosi would be a feather in the republicans hat as they gloat and cheer her defeat.
    Trump will naturally claim credit for her demise.

  10. Chip 2016-11-21 13:26

    I disagree Cory, I was very upset when Hillary came out and blamed her loss, in part, on Comey. Democrats have nothing if they don’t have working class Americans on their side, and to discard them as having bought into Trump’s racial mantra is really playing with fire, to put it very nicely. Especially in the historically blue states that Hillary lost or didn’t do well in. There’s no doubt that Trump’s rhetoric resonates with his base and really turns out the vote, but they didn’t lose her the election. Trump said two things that won him the election. He promised a shakeup in Washington and to bring jobs back to America.

    I think very few people will disagree that a shakeup is in order in Washington. Partisan politics has made Congress dysfunctional for quote some time, and during his campaign at least Trump showed true willingness to go after even those in his own party. That willingness appears to be fading quickly though as he is choosing his key people.

    I say, as I’ve said before jobs are #1 on people’s minds, even for minorities themselves. That is made painfully obvious by the fact that minorities that had no business voting for Trump did anyways. Jobs, jobs, jobs, that’s it. Even the desire to shake up Washington boils down to jobs. Democrats have to get a stronger economic message, even if things are improving economiclly, this is one of those cases if it ain’t broke, fix it. And if you are fixing it concentrate on that message. Don’t let it get lost in a sea of gay rights, and transgender bathrooms, and xenophobia, and, gun rights, and voter suppression, and as Ryan said the Zika vurus. Not that these things aren’t important, but people’s pocketbooks need to be out front at all terms.

    Another thing is Obamacare. It didn’t help that a new wave of cancellations popped up right before the election. This again hits people’s pocketbook.

    Another lesser factor that played a small roll IMO is terrirism. There have been some huge strides in the fight on terror especially in the past few months with heavily supported local soldiers fighting ISIS on their own turf. That message was lost in election coverage.

  11. leslie 2016-11-21 15:14

    No, republican politics has made Washington dysfunctional. We must react to scorched earth tactics.

  12. Chip 2016-11-21 15:36

    I agree with you on the Republican politics, but it seems that some overlooked that.

  13. mike from iowa 2016-11-21 15:43

    The only shakeup needed in DC would be to throw the wingnuts as far across the ocean as possible. They spent 8 solid years undermining Obama and America, trying to make sure Obama failed. Obama succeeded w/o wingnut help. This country is far better off after grownups took control of ther WH.

    Traitorious wingnuts should never be rewarded for trying to destroy their own country. Just a bunch of whiny,sappy lying little beotches who have never learned to play with others. They lie. They lie and they lie some more.

  14. mike from iowa 2016-11-21 15:45

    If the ACA was a total failure, why are they willing to save some or much of it? I know, they aren’t too interested in throwing 20 million potential voters off insurance until they master the lies about the harm it is doing to make them healthy. And they will and the people will prolly fall for it again.

  15. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-11-21 15:56

    Marxism, Bearcreekbat? Now we’re in trouble.

    Actually, if the middle class is disappearing, then we should be headed right back down the road to the collapse of capitalism into fascism and the revolt of the working class, right? In supporting Donald Trump, the working class is most certainly… revolting.

  16. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-11-21 16:03

    Chip, I don’t think I’m discarding the working class. I’m trying to bring them back to their senses.

    The working class is not some sacred class, immune from criticism. They are citizens, just like me, and we are all capable of screwing up.

    Am I really supposed to give my fellow citizens a pass on voting for a sexist, racist, rabidly lying, fraud-committing fascist (any one of those five should be disqualifying) just because he says, “I’ll drain the swamp and give you jobs”? Am I not allowed to jump up and down even harder when we can analyze one of the few “jobs” programs he’s offered and see that it might create no jobs and only line the pockets of investors four or five tax brackets above them?

  17. Spike 2016-11-21 18:24

    Christie, Flynn, Gingrich, Guialini, Sessions, Palin, various lobbyists, etc I don’t know what swamp Trump is draining.

    He conned American voters that talk about less government but want the government to fix their lives. Many whom can’t accept the fact that the days of cradle to grave big industry are long gone.

    How he funds his trillion dollar plans is up for grabs and will present numerous opportunities for wall street sharks to pass more paper. Heck what’s a little bankruptcy among friends. Looks like he will cut govt and put the cash in the bank accounts of the biggies. And the ‘working class’ will get crumbs. Anyone smell Joop Bollen, Enron or too big to fail?

  18. Laurisa 2016-11-21 22:37

    As a former Ohioan with many close family members still living there, I’d like to see Tim Ryan as Speaker now. It is time for Pelosi to go. We need new leadership, new ideas and leadership with a better understanding of what is needed to move the party forward and rebuild it. Howard Dean was starting to make real progress with that with his fifty-state strategy (in fact, I met him when he came to Rapid City in 2006 as I was living there at the time), but Tim Kaine and Debbie Wasserman Schultz disdained that and helped leave the party in ruins. Donna Brazile is no better at all; in fact, she’ll be just as bad.

    As for the working class, I’m sick to death of the kowtowing to them. They’ve voted against their own interests for decades and still continue to blame the wrong people, and continue to vote for those wrong people, for their “plight”. But as long as they have their guns and their racism to keep them warm at night, I guess that’s all that matters. Although, I will say that passing NAFTA was one of Clinton’s worst mistakes, causing a lot of economic pain and damage, and that certainly would not have endeared Hillary in their eyes.

  19. mike from iowa 2016-11-22 06:57

    No need for Dems to change. We will always be the party that is adult enough to clean up after the spoiled wingnuts trash everything. Ergo we ARE the party of the working class.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.