It’s pretty obvious why the far right is thrilled over the Paul Ryan pick. He’s the poster-child of right wing extremism wrapped in a choir boy package. He’s a well-groomed and fit guy with a big smile and a polite demeanor.
But liberals are equally excited, and also terrified in case he wins. With Paul Ryan, the nation can now have a real discussion of some of the policies that Ryan, Mitt Romney and the Tea Party want to inflict upon America.
We’ll hear a lot about Medicare. It’s a complicated subject and both parties will hammer the other, but the charge that Ryan put forward a plan to “end Medicare as we know it” is essentially true. Taking away the Medicare entitlement and replacing it with a voucher system is extreme, and most Americans will not support it. The question is whether the Romney/Ryan campaign can blur the issue by hammering the President on his own Medicare cuts, which target providers as opposed to beneficiaries.
The Ryan Medicare cuts are even more stark when you consider the incredible tax cuts included in the Ryan budget. Ryan would basically eliminate taxes for capital gains, dividends and estates. Forget Mitt Romney’s absurd 14% tax rate. Under Ryan’s plan, Romney would have paid around a 1% tax rate in 2011!! It’s absurd.
Ryan is not a budget hawk. He’s an ideologue that worships Ayn Rand and is obsessed with cutting taxes and cutting entitlements. Ryan’s budget is a joke when it comes to tackling the budget or our long term debt.
But Ryan’s extremism isn’t limited to economic issues. This country is certainly divided on the abortion issue, but nobody is more extreme than Paul Ryan on this issue. He introduced the personhood amendment in the House, which would make a fertilized egg a person under the constitution, criminalizing all abortions, in vetro fertilization and many forms of birth control. This notion is so extreme that it couldn’t pass a referendum in Mississippi. He’s against abortion even in cases of rape and incest. He also sponsored the Ultrasound Informed Consent Act.
Ryan is also a hypocrite. Like many Republicans, he’s a self-proclaimed deficit hawk when a Democrat is in office, but he’s happy to spend like a drunken sailor in the name of party loyalty. Ryan rubber-stamped all of the ridiculous spending in the Bush years, including a new Medicare drug entitlement that wasn’t paid for.
Finally, he’s a neocon who supported Bush’s wars, and he’s unwilling to cut the defense budget as part of his budget.
Already, the Mitt Romney team is putting the clamps on Ryan, trying to turn him into a Mitt clone who says nothing. At least Ryan was willing to discuss budget numbers in the past, but now he hides behind Mitt’s vague plans.
As for Ryan’s character, he seems like a good family man etc. But his answers on Ayn Rand display a level of dishonesty that seems absurd. He idolized Ayn Rand and her philosophy, but when Catholic organizations criticized him for it, he suddenly disavowed her for her atheism, as if he never knew that after trumpeting her philosophy for years. At some point he’ll face an interviewing outside of Fox News who will hammer him on this (assuming the Romney campaign doesn’t hide him from the press like the McCain team did with Sarah Palin).
Maureen Dowd can be hilarious, and her take on Ryan is memorable.