Paul Ryan: The Anti-Christ or the Savior?
Watching the reaction to Romney’s VP pick has been rather interesting. For those of us who read both liberal and conservative media, the nomination of Paul Ryan has been a rather schizophrenic event. To liberals, Ryan is an extremist devil. To conservatives, he’s the second coming of Christ (or at least the second coming of Romney’s candidacy).
From the Left:
- The Washington Post explores Ryan’s admiration for Ayn Rand. Yep, let’s not forget that Ryan reads her books and since she’s a “crazy extremist lunatic” (or is she?), he must be too. Nevermind that Rand would probably feel the same way about Ryan as she did about Reagan (hint: she wasn’t a fan). And also nevermind that although Ryan speaks of his admiration for Rand, he doesn’t actually agree with her most profound beliefs.
- DNC Chair Wasserman-Schultz calls Ryan Medicare plan “extreme.” Fortunately in this case, Wolf Blitzer takes on the various false assertions Wasserman likes to pump.
- The New Yorker laments Ryan’s lack of “significant private-sector experience”. It’s really funny to see this particular critique— used in 2008 by conservatives against Obama— now being used by liberals. If private sector experience didn’t matter in the last election, why does it matter now? Conversely, the same can be said of the right: if Obama’s lack of business experience was bad in 08, why is Ryan’s resume— replete with political jobs but nothing from the private sector— not as equally disturbing?
- Bryce Covert believes Ryan’s nomination is a “blow to women’s bottom line.” Because, you know, if it weren’t for government, women would be homeless and starving. More seriously, I wonder if feminists recognize the inherent moral contradiction in pushing for female autonomy and independence on the one hand…while also perpetuating female government dependence on the other.
- Over at the Huffington Post, Earl Hutchinson thinks Ryan would be “A Nightmare for The Poor and Minorities.” Hyperbole much?
From the Right:
- Fox News has an article titled “Ryan pick shows Romney is focused on solving America’s financial crisis.” I wonder why Fox thinks a guy who voted for some of the costliest bills/programs in the country’s history (TARP, auto bailouts, No Child Left Behind, Medicare part D, the Iraq war, etc) can somehow be “focused on solving America’s financial crisis”.
- The National Review’s Dennis Prager calls Ryan “The candidate of the strong citizen.” What the heck does that mean? Something about Ryan restoring the “American character.”
- The Daily Caller muses about the Ryan pick being a “Revenge of the Budget Nerds”. Interestingly, Ryan is a pretty typical DC politician when it comes to fudging numbers: although his budget is said to “cut government spending,” it actually manages to increase it until 2022.
- The esteemed Heritage Foundation (relax people, it’s a joke) also talks about how the Ryan plan is “Confronting the Nation’s Spending Crisis.” Again, not sure how a budget that increases government spending every year for the next decade (bar two small dips) is in any way “confronting” our “spending crisis.” But I guess we can forgive Heritage for this small lapse in analysis. They’re probably busy with other important things like boycotting CPAC and stuff (all because of those pesky gays).
- Rush Limbaugh loves Romney’s pick. According to him, Ryan is “us.” Again, not sure what this means but Limbaugh’s ego kind of let’s it slip: “I like the fact that there‘s somebody that’s going to be on the news every day that can talk like I do. I don’t mean to make this about me…that’s not the point,” Blah, blah, blah.
To be fair, the reactions from both sides of the aisle have been rather understandable. To the left, Ryan presents a huge problem and one that has been captured quite brilliantly in this article by…The Onion (satire or reality?): “Admit It, I Scare The Ever-Loving Shit Out Of You, Don’t I?” To the right, Paul Ryan is seen as the savior, well, because he kind of is. Remember that Romney lost the 2008 Republican nomination to none other than John McCain (not exactly a popular man among conservatives). So what does this say about the current Republican nominee? It says that he better pick a conservative poster boy as his running mate, lest the Republican base decide to stay home come November. And judging by the reactions from the right to Ryan’s nomination, I would say Romney has done just that.
For this libertarian (I hate speaking for other people), the Ryan pick is, well, just that…a “pick.” Nothing to be excited or dejected about. Paul Ryan is another establishment Republican who has voted like most other politicians over the last decade: for big government at every level.
If Paul Ryan were a liberal, conservatives would describe him as a creature of Washington who has spent virtually all of his professional life as a congressional aide, a staffer at an ideological think tank, and, finally, as a member of Congress. In the right’s shorthand: he never met a payroll.>
So there you go. Ryan is just another politician, like all the rest. And before I start hearing about the contrarian libertarians who are never happy with any candidate, I will say this: Ryan is a great speaker who can make a strong moral case for free markets and smaller government. He may not walk the walk but he can certainly talk the talk. And at this point, just having that conversation again would be beneficial for the country— especially after four years of hearing about the supposed horrors of the free market and capitalism in general.