In the Arena

Some Quick Thoughts About Paul Ryan

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U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) speaks after being announced by Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney as his vice presidential running mate in front of the USS Wisconsin August 11, 2012 in Norfolk, Virginia. Ryan, a seven term congressman, is Chairman of the House Budget Committee and provides a strong contrast to the Obama administration on fiscal policy.

Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan continues a very deep strand of Republican DNA when it comes to vice presidential picks: Since World War II–with only a few exceptions–Republicans have gone for young, promising junior executive types: Eisenhower picked Nixon, Nixon picked Spiro Agnew, Bush the Elder picked Dan Quayle, Dole picked Jack Kemp, McCain picked Sarah Palin. (The two exceptions are Reagan picking Bush the Elder and George W. Bush picking Dick Cheney). These picks tend to run toward ideology as their main selling point and Ryan, of course, is no exception. 

And furthermore:

1. Romney said the other day that he wanted a campaign about issues rather than “backgrounds, business, tax returns,” and that’s probably why he chose Ryan–to change the conversation. I suspect the Obama campaign will still be about Romney’s business background and his tax returns, with a heaping dose of the Ryan budget thrown in, especially the drastic changes to old-age entitlements.

2. In 1988, the last Massachusetts governor to run for President said his campaign was about “competence, not ideology.” Romney has gone in the opposite direction. The “competent”  choice would have been Ohio’s Rob Portman, who has real experience in the federal government and would have ramified Romney’s strengths–a good manager, smart about the economy–in the same way that Al Gore reinforced the image that Bill Clinton wanted to project. Ryan is all about ideology. His budget, which will now become the central document in this campaign, is one of the most radical  proposals in recent American history. It would reduce the deficit without raising taxes, which means the federal government as we now know it would be gutted. This is where the formerly moderate Romney has chosen to take his ideological stand. Rather amazing, I’d say.

Additional Thought: Ryan has zero foreign policy or military experience. This is the lightest foreign policy ticket the Republicans have fielded in my lifetime.

3. The Obama campaign must be celebrating. For one thing, their current lead in Ohio seems safer–Portman might have changed the equation in that crucial state. Ryan isn’t likely to bring along his home state of Wisconsin…but he does sharpen the terms of the debate in ways that must have David Axelrod salivating.

4. The Ryan pick is the latest, and perhaps dispositive, argument that even the Republican establishment has now lurched hard to the right, following the trajectory of the Tea Party. Ryan was the choice of the libertarians on the Wall St. Journal editorial board and the neoconservatives at the Weekly Standard. These people are profoundly out of touch with the center of the country.

5. I love it. Ryan is smart, honorable and decent. This opens the door for a big, exciting campaign of ideas where the public gets to choose between competing philosophies. We get to see how popular Tea Party/Libertarian conservatism really is in this country. It should be very enlightening…

103 comments
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Manny Gumina
Manny Gumina

The thought that someone from a supposedly unbiased Time magazine is allowed to post an article so starkly opinionated and liberal simply makes me sick.  Ryan's plan is basically what Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker did on a larger scale:  cut government spending to balance the budget.  The election is not about Ryan attempting to sabotage the poor and elderly, but about creating a budget that does not sink our children into a debt impossible to climb out of.  Americans must do what is best for their children.

Benevolent Lawyer
Benevolent Lawyer

I am going to write this because it should be said. If it were a female that had Ryan's background and record, she would NOT be described as intelligent, solid.. blah blah.

Sarah Palin and Romney both have ONE bachelors degree. They are both ideologues. Ryan is more polished because he worked in a cosmopolitan position for a while. They both answer questions, they do not expect, in the same haphazard way that shows an inability to think quickly. Palin did not prep properly for her interviews, but Ryan is prepared to the extent that he can regurgitate material he has been provided in his cue cards. 

Yes, he was in  Congress but his dossier on the " I Made Law IN CONGRESS" part is really lean. He bumbles on interviews, not as badly as Palin, but he is not some smart and learned man. Neither is Romney. Romney has an ivy league education, however, in terms of intellect, he might be wired only for mining data.  I have watched him many times on Fox, and once he is asked a question he was not prepared for, he rambles and falters. McCain did NOT.

Well, my point is this- as we continue to see Ryan defined, it will be interesting to see where these conclusions about his strong intellect and brilliance comes from.  Palin never got that, even before she saw Russia from her window and obtained a jolt of foreign policy in her brain, as a consequence.

 

I am hoping the press gives him the rigorous review they gave Palin. It just seems so unfair to a attribute all these qualities about Ryan regarding his intellect etc., just because..??

To me, and I have to do some more research into Ryan, he seems like a good looking affable man, who just happens to be well spoken. I am yet to see any evidence of this bright and intellectual qualities the press bestowed on him once he was selected as Veep.  

 

Benevolent Lawyer
Benevolent Lawyer

Is this an old post that has been modified? I thought I read this a while back.  

Professor Sudz
Professor Sudz

I have yet to hear of a single libertarian that supports this Dbag or his sock puppet boss. The media does its best to convince everyone that the entire possible spectrum of political thought is embodied in the 2 party system, but fewer and fewer people buy this load as each day arises

skeeterbean
skeeterbean

Mr. Klein, Paul Ryan may be smart and honorable,  but decent?!?  What "decent" person wants to remove healthcare for poor families?  What "decent" person supports a law ("Personhood") that doesn't care if women with tubal pregnancies and other life-threatening medical conditions of pregnancy can't get life-saving surgery? These and other policies he promotes are those of a cold, cruel heart.

tma_sierrahills
tma_sierrahills

"libertarians on the Wall St. Journal editorial board and the neoconservatives at the Weekly Standard. These people are profoundly out of touch with the center of the country."

(1) As opposed to liberals? Give us all a break. In fact the Wall Street Journal, the neocons and many libertarians are just as open-border utopian as the liberals. They are simply the other side of the same tarnished bent coin. 

(2) Our leftist political, media and other elites, like Joe, can never conceive of liberals as being "ideological," because they always see themselves as merely believing what more highly evolved enlightened creatures, soaring above the common flea-bitten herd of humankind, see as obviously factually and morally true.

ath716
ath716

"These people are profoundly out of touch with the center of the country."

Ha!  The closest you ever get to the "center of the country" is when your flight to the west coast has to make an emergency landing in Kansas City.

ath716
ath716

Jack Kemp was a "young, promising junior executive type?"  He was sixty-one years old when he ran!

Benevolent Lawyer
Benevolent Lawyer

While all the people on the left are rejoicing, Ryan and Romney are rushing around trying to change the tone of the Ryan plan. On 60 minutes today, Ryan stated that he was going to change Medicare ONLY for those under 55,  so older Americans need not fear.

CAN YOU HEAR THAT GRANDMA??? GRANDMA??? Oops all she heard was Medicare and change...  

http://blackrepublicanandmywor...

 

John Cantzon Foster
John Cantzon Foster

Paul Ryan is no libertarian. You should do some research before writing articles.

Dr Sam
Dr Sam

WHY AMERICA IS GOING BANKRUPT—CORPORATE RICH

BUMS AND FOREIGN ADVENTURISM, NOT THE POOR AND MIDDLE CLASS.

If all or most of the tax loopholes were to be

closed today, we save ourselves immediately more than $1 Trillion dollars. Think

about that! Funny enough, the rich and the corporations write the tax code and

get it through a corrupt American Congress. And they still manage to regale us

about the absurdity of our complicated tax laws. Yet, they made the tax code so

complicated, with so many riders and footnotes to hide their tax escapades and

malfeasance. To give you one glaring but quite popular rich people’s game on

this, Romney buys a horse supposedly to help heal his wife.  The horse is trained instead to dance at the

Olympics. Cost to taxpayers: $77,000+ in annual tax breaks. You can bet many

other rich people are doing this. Tabulate the various tax breaks for the rich

and corporations, including those that allow them to pack their money abroad,

and you are looking thousands of millions annually. The cost of privilege and

connection is truly killing this country. It includes buying the best Congress

you get and now may include buying Congress and the Presidency through a more

pervasive influence of money in politics. In fact a valid argument can be made

that America is no longer a credible democracy! The corporations and the rich

become very rich through government and military supply contracts where,

unashamedly, they can sale the government one single pencil for between $17 and

$70.Those who supply our hospitals have been caught several times in huge

frauds, and they get away often in fines instead of jail times. The new game in

time is the use of political PACS to enrich and at least sustain one’s self in

style. Thus, the likes of Sarah Palin and newt Gingrich write otherwise near

useless political diatribes as books, raise a lot of money, get their PACS to

buy much of their books and declare nearly all money spent as business

expenses. So, don’t blame the poor, the elderly and the weak for America’s

financial problems made worse by unnecessary wars (like the one in Iraq). Blame

those responsible—the privileged rich and corporations and the politically

connected!!! As you begin to hear the Tea Party, Romney, Ryan, the Koch

Brothers and the likes increase the decibel on the deficit reduction issue,

know what is at stake. They are the ones financing the loud cries of

“socialism” where there is not so they can continue their feast on the system. Tell

them we need a fair and balanced approach. Put the blame where it belongs! What

we need more than anything first is a just society and thus the revamping of

the middle class.

 

vstillwell
vstillwell

This will be a campaign of bad ideas. 

I wish one of the parties would actually have good policy ideas. China subsidizes businesses that compete with the U.S.. China is currently devaluing its currency against the dollar. Yet, there isn't a peep from either side about this. There hasn't been a substantial raise in the minimum wage in my lifetime. Today, workers are expected to work full-time jobs that don't provide enough income for the basic necessities in life. This has just become acceptable. Again, not a peep from either side. 

The housing crisis is getting ready to kick into another gear: a housing shortage. Food prices are rising, energy prices are rising, wages are falling, healthcare costs continue their march into the stratosphere. Again, nothing from either side. I admit, Republicans are the worst--by far, but this election, like most these days, is a real stinker. 

agnostic108
agnostic108

What I understand as "honorable" is the fact that Ryan chooses to concentrate on trying to solve the economy's problems rather than invent places that will serve as Obama's birth place. Whether his solutions will work or not is one question. But the first question that needs to be answered is whether his solutions are acceptable to the American public. Romney chose to put this question to the test and for that he too should be commended.

After all this appreciation, let's make sure the answer to the first question is "No way."

I'm not sure I agree with Joe's statement about the lightest foreign policy team ever. On the face of it he's right - Compared to McCain/Palin, McCain has tons of FP expertise. But Romney (despite his best efforts to show the contrary) and Ryan are no dummies and they'll learn fast. I wish McCain health and a long life, but imagine if he would have left us with Palin at the helm...

Edmund Singleton
Edmund Singleton

Foreign policy experience in this day and age means far more then most people think, it can mean the world...

Phyllist
Phyllist

Decent people who plan on solving our nation's problems on the backs of the old and the poor while comforting the comfortable--what is wrong with this picture?

allthingsinaname
allthingsinaname

 Ryan is smart, honorable and decent.

I cringed when I read that.  Do you fully understand where Ryan stands? Do you understand what his budget would do to the unfortunate? Do you understand what his budget will do to make many more of us unfortunate? Do  you understand what his budget will do to redistribute the money to the wealthy?

He may be smart but call him honorable and decent?

Pnnto
Pnnto

You are asking JK  "Do you understand what his budget would do to the unfortunate?" He does and he agrees. Others must always suffer.

You are asking JK  "Do you understand what his budget will do to make many more of us unfortunate? " He does and he agrees others must sacrifice.

You are asking JK "Do  you understand what his budget will do to redistribute the money to the wealthy?" He does and he agrees, after all he is wealthy.

ERenger
ERenger

Does anyone know what becomes of Ryan's seat in Congress? Does he stay on the ballot just in case? Or does someone else take his place on the ballot? 

Ivy_B
Ivy_B

He can run and still run for his seat in Congress. A candidate can't do that in Philadelphia - if you want to run for Mayor for example, you can't also run for city council. It might be a good idea to do the same thing for Congress, of course they would never agree to it.

Geonew
Geonew

As a working person planning to retire in ten years, a pick such as Ryan puts a lot of concern on my plate.   What would it mean to retire without Medicare and have vouchers instead?  Realistically, no private insurance company will be able to offer adequate care for the elderly at a reasonable cost.  These programs, including SS and Medicaid,  need reforming of course, but what would a retired person do without them?  One catastrophic illness means certain financial ruin or no care at all.  Like in the "Good Ole Days", old people simply died at home at a much earlier age.  If the Right is serious, then their agenda means nothing more than mass euthanasia of the elderly by default.  I hope I'm wrong.  Whichever party wins you hope they will preserve these traditional programs.  One never knows which party is truly on your "side", if any.

poptimist
poptimist

Smart, possibly.  But honorable and decent?  When rich men like Romney and Ryan try to shred the social safety net and destroy the small amount of security there is for the middle class and the poor, it is neither honorable or decent.  I have watched Mr. Ryan and I find him glib and unconvincing, hand picking his statistics, if not making them up, to support policies that can only profit the wealthiest Americans.  He will lead the charge in class warfare, and one can only hope that Americans see him for what he is - a smooth talking snake oil salesman with a poisonous concoction to sell - a dash of Ayn Rand, a spoonful of Milton Friedman, and a quart of Koch Brothers.  That he is lauded by the disgraced Rupert Murdoch should be a clue to who this man is and what he is offering to the Tea Party loonies.

apr2563
apr2563

Joe, the Catholic church doesn't think his economic plan is honorable or decent.