Democrats are often accused of not being as fiery or as ballsy as their Republican colleagues. There’s the ever-brave Squad, plus some new congresspeople who’ve followed in their footsteps. But by and large they tend to stay low-key, hoping — often unsuccessfully — that they’ll guilt trip those on the other side of the aisle to do the right thing. Then there’s Tim Ryan.
You may not know who that is. He’s not a household name. He’s just some Democratic representative from Ohio. But on Monday — as the House was giving a second vote on Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package, which received few of their votes — he had enough. After they raised a stink about bills seeking to raise the minimum wage to support unions, not to mention being more worried about culture war grandstanding over the Muppets, over Mr. Potato Head, over Pepé Le Pew, and over Dr. Seusss, he took them all to the woodshed.
“Mr. Speaker, one of the earlier speakers said this is the most dramatic change in labor law in 80 years, and I say, thank God,” Ryan averred. “In the late 1970s, a CEO made 35 times the worker, today, it’s 300 to 400 times the worker, and our friends on the other side running around with their hair on fire.”
But he was truly only getting wound up:
“Heaven forbid we pass something that’s going to help the damn workers in the United States of America! Heaven forbid we tilt the balance that’s been going in the wrong direction for 50 years. We talk about pensions, you complain. We talk about the minimum wage increase, you complain. We talk about giving them the right to organize, you complain. But if we were passing a tax cut here, you’d be all getting in line to vote yes for it. Now stop talking about Dr. Seuss and start working with us on behalf of the American workers!”
Ryan’s rant was a long time coming, and people loved to see it.
I am Tim Ryan’s inflamed rage duct.
— Scottacular (@Scottcrates) March 9, 2021
"Stop talking about Dr. Seuss and start working with us on behalf of the American workers."
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) March 9, 2021
Zero fucks Tim Ryan is my favorite Tim Ryan https://t.co/lkV4xm98EO
— Dara Diligently Does Deep State (@daralynn13) March 9, 2021
Angry pro-worker Tim Ryan is one of my favorite things to watch on the floor. https://t.co/56FGRwGJcL
— Katy Shanahan (@KatyAShanahan) March 9, 2021
And they wanted to see more Democrats do the same.
More Democrats need to channel Tim Ryan's righteous rage. It's about time and the people demand it. Use it as fuel to get stuff done against an obstructionist GOP.
Maybe…use it…to…weaken or end the filibuster?
— Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) March 9, 2021
Hallelujah! This is the fire I want from the Dems. https://t.co/wp7FFss7wf
— Jean Dunn 🐈 (@jeandunn52) March 9, 2021
Will it work? Will it inspire Republicans in both chambers of Congress to stop misrepresenting the Dr. Seuss Foundation’s decision to yank a few books from circulation, only due to racist imagery, and start cooperation on legislation that could actually help struggling Americans during a once-in-a-century pandemic? Probably not! But it may inspire other Democrats to grow a pair. And it may show more regular folks where Republicans’ priorities lie, which is to say with a cartoon skunk, not them.
You can watch Ryan’s rant in the video above.