Ryan won’t be the first Rand fan to grace the Vice-Presidential ticket. Jack Kemp, who was Ryan’s mentor in politics, also described himself as influenced by her writing. In some ways, the Romney-Ryan ticket resembles the Dole-Kemp one, in pairing a Presidential candidate short on charisma and conservative credentials with a younger, more ideologically fiery sidekick. Kemp, however, was famously optimistic in his outlook. Ryan has a sterner countenance. Either way, though, while the G.O.P. may be behind when it comes to attracting female voters, in picking Ryan, who like Kemp was deeply influenced by Rand, it has added at least the imprint of an extra woman to the ticket. – Jane Mayer
PAUL RYAN isn’t only a policy advocate of Republican think tanks in Washington. He can also articulate a message and connect while doing it. Ryan’s got the most coveted political gifts all wrapped into one. His welcome in Wisconsin and his reaction to the people who came out to see him, as seen in the video above, illustrate his strengths, which are moored in a message that finally tells conservatives what the Republican Party stands for, not simply what the right continually rails against. There’s a lot being written about Mitt Romney’s running mate, which is worth combing through, as this is Paul Ryan week.
One thing first. On the original Paul Ryan Roadmap, the politician told Ryan Lizza that it “was just me, unplugged.” Everyone knows a politician doesn’t get everything he wants and he won’t with Romney either if he’s elected, which depends on Mitt Romney successfully rolling out his conservative darling and not turning off everyone else.
The first stop simply must be Ayn Rand. Ryan Lizza did a profile on Paul Ryan that included Ayn Randianism.
But Ryan is a devout Catholic, so he rejects Rand’s atheism, preferring Thomas Aquinas. How he squares Ms. Rand’s personal philosophy on women’s freedoms with his own is beyond me, because Rand would think Ryan a quack.
What was Ayn Rand’s view on abortion?
An embryo has no rights. Rights do not pertain to a potential, only to an actual being. A child cannot acquire any rights until it is born. The living take precedence over the not-yet-living (or the unborn). Abortion is a moral right—which should be left to the sole discretion of the woman involved; morally, nothing other than her wish in the matter is to be considered. Who can conceivably have the right to dictate to her what disposition she is to make of the functions of her own body?”
If that sounds familiar, but you’re not acquainted with Ayn Rand, perhaps you read my book. It’s what an independent thinking feminist political writer would offer if she was worth her soul and I offer details of why in “Is Freedom Just For Men?,” a question that is worth asking when looking at Paul Ryan.
It’s interesting that Paul Ryan can pick and pluck from Rand’s philosophy on capitalism, but miss the very notion of a woman’s own personhood. However, that’s what religious conservatives do all the time. Relegate females to fundamentalist laws that have no business in politics. In fact, because of Ronald Reagan (there he is again), religion is embedded in our politics, including on the Democratic side, because the party considers welcoming those who don’t respect women’s autonomy as “reaching out.”
Paul Ryan’s decision to embroil Congress and the federal court system in the Terry Schiavo case explains the rest, which also includes being one of 64 co-sponsors to a fetal “personhood” bill that establishes “life” at fertilization. Needless to say, Ryan is against Obama’s no-pay contraceptive order in Obamacare. Ryan also voted to defund Planned Parenthood, with there a lot more bad news for women where that came from. He’s a forced ultrasound guy for women seeking a legal abortion, just like what got Gov. Bob McDonnell in so much trouble, but at least Ryan was in the House, so he’s the vice president and McDonnell isn’t.
He’s a religious conservative, so there’s nothing good about what he wants for women. As a fiscal guy, however, you’d think he’d get the financial side of what he’s proposing for women, whether it’s reproductive health care or Medicare and Social Security. That he doesn’t think about the poor has even gotten him in trouble with Catholics, with nuns going on a bus tour against his Roadmap, while the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops lectured lawmakers when they were voting on it [source Los Angeles Times].
Ezra Klein compiles an “all you need to know” post, some of the economic links utilized below. From Klein:
For instance: Did you know that the Ryan budget includes Obamacare’s Medicare cuts? Or that it envisions a long-term spending path for Medicare exactly identical to the path envisioned by the Obama administration? Or that it would effectively zero out Mitt Romney’s tax bill? Or that it finds its main savings not in entitlement programs, but in everything the government does that’s not an entitlement program?
From Matt Miller, who used to sub for Dylan Ratigan, a voice that’s sorely missed on cable:
But on Medicare. . . I can hear the Democratic groans coming, but Ryan deserves credit here. Ryan leaves Medicare on its current outsized trajectory for the next decade, as spending soars from $560 billion to $950 billion. Because of our uniquely inefficient health-care sector, which leaves us spending twice per capita what other wealthy nations spend, the voucher he calls for thereafter would suffice to buy seniors terrific care everywhere but here. Even if his approach is imperfect, Ryan is right to challenge our Medical Industrial Complex to change. – Understanding the Ryan plan
…Seeming genuine is something Ryan does extraordinarily well. And here is where something deeper is at play, more than Ryan’s charm and winning personality, something that gets at the intellectual bankruptcy of contemporary Washington. The Ryan brand is rooted in his ostentatious wonkery. Because, unlike the Bushes and the Palins, he grounds his position in facts and figures, he seems like an encouraging candidate to strike a bargain. But the thing to keep in mind about Ryan is that he was trained in the world of Washington Republican think tanks.”
Ezra Klein: Do you worry that even if you got your spending cuts, the American economy will suffer? A report released by the National League of Cities, the National Association of Counties and United States Conference of Mayors said they’ll have to lay off 500,000 people in the next few years if they don’t get some fiscal relief. That’s 500,000 people on the unemployment rolls.
Paul Ryan: I’ve always believed we need automatic stabilizers. We need a safety net. But I think it’s becoming equally important to show we’re not going to borrow endlessly. I also think it’s a bad idea to bail out states from making the necessary decisions they need to make to increase and fix their structural deficit problems. All you’re doing then is putting their liabilities on the federal books. And I assume those jobs are mostly public sector jobs. If you focus on those, that money comes from the private sector. The money isn’t free. It’s being taken out of the private economy and pumped through the private sector. The right path is to keep the money in the private sector and so they have money to invest. We should focus on growth in the private sector, not growth in the public sector.
Ryan economics, by Brad Plumer:
Ryan’s budget, recall, would raise $2 trillion less in tax revenue over the next decade than President Obama’s budget. Ryan’s plan would also spend $5.3 trillion less over that time. A big chunk of this is health care: Ryan would cut federal spending on Medicare and Medicaid for a portion of his savings. But he’d also spend $2.2 trillion less on everything else. So what, specifically, is Ryan planning to cut? (Or, alternatively, what is Obama planning to spend more on?)
[...] Over the next decade, Ryan plans to spend about 16 percent less than the White House on “income security” programs for the poor — that’s everything from food stamps to housing assistance to the earned-income tax credit. (Ryan’s budget would authorize $4.8 trillion between 2013 and 2022; the White House’s would spend $5.7 trillion.) Compared with Obama, Ryan would spend 25 percent less on transportation. He’d spend 6 percent less on “General science, space, and basic technology.” And, compared with the White House’s proposal, he’d shell out 33 percent less for “Education, training, employment, and social services.”
Paul Ryan as a strict religious conservative, via Robert Pear in the New York Times:
Though best known as an architect of conservative fiscal policy, Representative Paul D. Ryan has also been an ardent, unwavering foe of abortion rights, has tried to cut off federal money for family planning, has opposed same-sex marriage and has championed the rights of gun owners…In nearly 14 years as a Republican congressman from Wisconsin, Mr. Ryan has not only voted for legislation that would cut off federal money for Planned Parenthood and the Title X family planning program, but also backed bills to establish criminal penalties for certain doctors who perform the procedure known as partial-birth abortion. He is a co-sponsor of a bill that would define fetuses as people entitled to full legal protection, a proposal that has become the latest focus in the battles over abortion.
Paul Ryan lifts the Mitt Romneys of America, by zeroing out the taxes of the 1%, writes Alec MacGillis:
It seems hard to imagine a running mate who would jibe better with the Democrats’ Bain Capital attacks than a well-born Ayn Rand acolyte. More crucially, it is hard to imagine a running mate who will draw more attention to the matter of Romney’s taxes than Paul Ryan. Why? Because under the “Ryan plan” that made the congressman famous, Mitt Romney would pay zero taxes.
Don’t believe it? Romney himself said so, just a few months ago. The Ryan plan — formally, the “Roadmap for America’s Future” — “promotes saving by eliminating taxes on interest, capital gains, and dividends; also eliminates the death tax.” Mitt Romney’s income — more than $20 million each of the past two years — comes almost entirely from capital gains on his investments, or from “carried interest,” a cut of Bain Capital profits that are taxed as capital gains (the infamous “hedge fund loophole.”) His only major ordinary income was from the speaking fees he collected ($374,000, or “not much,” as he put it.) This explains why his tax rate was only 13.9 percent last year — because the capital gains rate is 15 percent, well below the top rate of 35 percent for ordinary income.
As for foreign policy, I’ve begun that discussion, but the election won’t be decided on national security. If anything arises that challenges Team Romney, their talking points won’t be anything voters haven’t heard from the right before. Oh, and don’t forget to double down on Iran.
The Republican Party has a direction and Paul Ryan has set it, but Mitt Romney’s the one who took it national, something that won’t be forgotten no matter the outcome this year.
There’s no one around who can confront the vision Ryan’s embedded in the political bloodstream that was approved and incubated in Republican think tanks, which means he’s got very big money behind him. That Ryan’s a disciple of supply side Reaganomics, without the tax increase angle, with money for defense and not for butter or the poor, makes November a real choice for voters.
I’m just not sure a Romney loss will stop Paul Ryan’s trajectory, which seems set. Conservatives will just blame the whole thing on Mitt Romney, then serve up Ronald Reagan’s heir in 2016, with a redrawn plan that admits overreach on entitlements, while again promising to get it done.