March 14, 2014

Joy Reid's closing comments on Thursday were a terrific lesson not only in how Paul Ryan thinks, but why he's so wrong, even after he tried to backpedal his original remarks.

Jamelle Bouie expands:

Which is what makes this comment so troubling. Our realities are shaped by a mutually reinforcing matrix of culture, civil society, law, and individual choice (among other things). If America has a “car culture,” it has as much to do with our rugged sense of individualism as it does with our sprawling geography, and a government that made highways an essential part of our transportation infrastructure. To look at our attachment to cars and proclaim “culture” is to miss most of the story, and if you’re an advocate for mass transit, you handicap your efforts to change the status quo. After all, culture is hard thing to change.

The same goes for Ryan and poverty. Inner-city poverty didn’t just happen, it was built. It’s the job of a policymaker to understand the full scope of what that means, from the blueprints of past policies, to their implementation, to the forces that drove the issues to begin with. And in the case of urban poverty, the issue was racism.

Dave Weigel insists that we're all just imagining race as a factor in Ryan's choice of words, while David Sirota uses Google analytics to zero in on why we might infer racism from Ryan's references to "inner city men."

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