Paul Ryan Decries Tribalism as His Super-PAC Spreads It

A Republican leader’s crocodile tears.

House Speaker Paul Ryan lamented the increasingly personal tone of American politics at a National Press Club event Monday. “I worry about this a lot,” he said. “The incentive in politics is invective; it’s outrage; it’s hysteria.”

He ought to know. Ryan’s super-PAC, the Congressional Leadership Fund, has spent the run-up to the 2018 midterm elections churning out attack ads—some featuring barely disguised racism—that rely on those exact ingredients. 

In his statement, Ryan blamed social media and cable news for our tribalized politics, but for another source, he need look no further than the CLF tweets below.

One especially transparent set of CLF attack ads targets Antonio Delgado, the Democratic House candidate for New York’s 19th District, painting him as a “big-city rapper” who “gave voice to extreme New York City values.” One ad features decade-old photos of Delgado, a black man running in an overwhelmingly white swing district, wearing a black hoodie. Another closes with “not our values.”

To cite Mother Jones’ Tim Murphy:

Delgado did release a rap album, in 2007, under the pseudonym AD the Voice. In a July story about his race against incumbent Republican Rep. John Faso, the New York Times reported Delgado’s songs “criticize capitalism and America’s history of racial injustice…include frequent use of a racial epithet common among black rappers, and criticize some of the founders as ‘dead presidents’ who ‘believe in white supremacy.’” It sounds a lot like the kinds of political views, in other words, you’d expect from a young, politically active black progressive.

Another CLF ad says Ohio Democrat Aftab Pureval, who is of Indian and Tibetan heritage, “can’t be trusted.” The ad accuses the candidate of “selling out Americans,” explaining that “Pureval’s lobbying firm made millions helping Libya reduce payments owed to families of Americans killed by Libyan terrorism.” Pureval did not yet work at the company at the time of that settlement, which was blessed by none other than George W. Bush.

Yet another series of ads goes after Abigail Spanberger, a Virginia Democrat running for a House seat. CLF used information obtained from an improperly released security clearance application to target Spanberger for her brief stint as a teacher at a Saudi Embassy school the ad calls “Terror High.” Spanberger went on to work as an undercover CIA operative, and spent years fighting terrorism. 

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

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Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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