Dave Begley: Live from Council Bluffs

Our occasional correspondent Dave Begley was on hand when Rep. Tim Ryan — Tim Ryan? whodat? — brought his newly minted presidential campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination to Iowa on Friday (photo of Dave with Ryan courtesy of Dave). Dave is a Nebraska attorney practicing elder law and estate planning in Omaha. Dave posed a pointed question to Ryan from the small group gathered to hear him and filed this report:

If the Dems were serious about beating Donald Trump they’d nominate Congressman Tim Ryan rather than the current frontrunner, SlowCreepyJoe. Ryan is much younger than Biden, he doesn’t have Biden’s baggage, and he’s seems smarter than Joe. He has the energy and athletic appearance of the former high school quarterback that he was. He’s an unabashed FDR New Deal Democrat updated for modern times. He’s all in on climate change, Medicare for all, and unions while at the same time sympathetic to the illegal aliens who suppress union wages. His administration would also subsidize artists like the old WPA did during the Depression.

The reason I think Ryan would have a shot at President Trump is that he has borrowed many of Trump’s ideas and formulations. Ryan spoke of the forgotten people in the Rust Belt and rural areas. In his inaugural speech and many times on the stump, so has President Trump.

Like President Trump, Ryan professed his love for the voters of Council Bluffs several times. He also referred to the people who take showers after work, a phrase Steve Bannon used years ago. Ryan said he nearly cried that morning when he read the USA Today report about a dramatic increase in teen suicides. I didn’t interrupt the speech to point out that it happened during the Obama-Biden years.

Ryan is a tax-and-spend Democrat who wants to pick winners and losers. He wants a higher capital gains and marginal income tax rates to fund things like mental health services and paying farmers to sequester carbon. (How would that work?) He wants to “partner” with venture capital firms (and probably give them tax breaks) to distribute the locations of new tech business. He wants to steer investments into “left behind town.” In other words, he wants to empower central planning and all that it entails.

Since he announced his presidential campaign, I have frequently seen Ryan on television talking about building more electric cars in America. I thought that was a very odd item for a core campaign issue but it turns out it is key to his strategy to beat the Chinese and dominate the next generation of manufacturing. He complained about the ancient tech used in the steel plants of Ohio, but he conveniently omitted the success of Nucor, which has a big factory in Norfolk, Nebraska.

In the interviews of Ryan that have seen there was no pushback on Ryan’s interest in electric vehicles. This is typical. With the help of Power Line’s Steve Hayward, I had a question for him:

DDB: Congressman, I’ll put aside the massive tax breaks that electric vehicles get at this time but in Ohio 80 percent of all electricity is coal-powered. So what’s the point in building all of these electric vehicles?

TR: Well, I mean at the same time you’re moving towards – a lot of the older coal plants are being displaced by natural gas…. So natural gas in and of itself has knocked out a lot of the coal. And my goal would be how do you move to wind and solar in order to make this happen.

DDB: I mean wind and solar are massively inefficient and expensive. We’ve been hearing for 10, 20 years how it is going to get cheaper and cheaper and it doesn’t.

TR: Well, this country has not made the kind of commitment, I think. I’m also not opposed to nuclear. I also believe that we should continue to do research and development around nuclear as a clean energy source. And that’s the direction we need to move in. I don’t think you don’t build electric vehicles because you don’t necessarily have the energy where you want it yet… I think you go full throttle on electric….

In other words, we’ll figure it out later. All those important details like completely re-ordering our economy will have to wait because we have to save the planet and beat the Chicoms.

The Congressman had one idea that I liked and – although he didn’t phrase it as such – it was a classic Drain the Swamp move that President Trump might consider. His idea is to move some government employees out of DC. For example, I could see the Department of Agriculture moved to Omaha or Des Moines or the Department of Energy moved to Texas or Oklahoma.

Keep your eye on Ryan. If Biden melts down, the man from Ohio could fill his lane.

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