Saturday, August 11, 2012

It's Paul Ryan: Sanpaku


Was it much of a giveaway when Romney announced last night he would be announcing his choice in Norfolk with the USS Wisconsin in the background? Did anyone think he might pick Scott Walker or Ron Johnson? As Fox warned when they confirmed the pick at 4AM this morning (minutes before that Romney VP app went off), "the announcement comes as some polls, including a recent Fox News survey, show the Republican presidential candidate losing some ground to President Obama." Will Ryan be able to deliver Wisconsin? Will Biden be able to handle him in a debate? What happens in the WI-01 congressional race? Will sales of Ayn Rand's adolescent dystopian books zoom into the stratosphere?

Dick Cheney says he worships the ground that Paul Ryan walks on-- his words (just watch the video below)-- and Paul Ryan says he feels the same way about Ayn Rand, a self-proclaimed anti-Christ (now watch the video way below). Ryan is Wall Street's dream candidate for a complete takeover of America. By forcing him down Romney's throat today-- even if it's going to turn out to be as failed a bid as it now looks-- Ryan will be set up as the GOP presidential nominee for 2016. The Big Business interests and Tea Party financiers who Ryan represents are getting exactly what they want... even if they have to sit through four more years of an ineffective neither-fish-nor-fowl Obama administration. Many GOP propagandists were beating the drum on Ryan all week-- especially since Romney's approval numbers are in the toilet nationally. But Republican columnist David Frum was swimming against the current in his own party-- even as Romney was hinting that Ryan was his man. Frum understands that the people who pushed Ryan on Romney don't like Romney, don't respect Romney and might not even care if he loses... as long as they're setting Ryan up as the next in line.

The clamor you are hearing for Paul Ryan for VP is not about helping the Romney candidacy. It's about controlling the Romney campaign-- and ultimately the Romney presidency. It's about forcing a platform on Romney, and then dictating the agenda for that presidency's first year. The platform happens to be suicidal, and the agenda impossible, but that does not matter to the Ryan advocates. They take the old Tammany Hall point of view: "Better to lose an agenda than lose control of the party."

In that sense, the Ryan proposal is a test of Romney's leadership. If he accedes, it's a big surrender of control-- and a surrender to many of those who most opposed (and who inwardly continue to dislike) his nomination.

John Nichols was, predictably, far more insightful into just what Paul Ryan is, than Frum. Like many in Wisconsin who have watched him most closely, Nichols understands that, at his core, Ryan is just a "hyper-ambitious political careerist-- who has spent his entire adult life as a Congressional aide, think-tank hanger-on and House member" who wants to keep on climbing until he's America's real life John Galt. He knows he could control a doddering fool of a puffed up CEO type like Romney as easily and thoroughly as Cheney controlled Bush. But there's a problem. As Nichols writes, "Vice presidential nominees are supposed to help tickets, not hurt them."
Romney clearly needs help. Just back from a disastrous trip to Europe and the Middle East, mired in controversies about the “vulture capitalism” he practiced at Bain Capital and his refusal to release tax returns that his dad-- former Michigan governor and 1968 Republican presidential contender George Romney-- said contenders for the Oval Office had a responsibility to share with the voters, Romney could use a boost.

But Ryan would be a burden, not a booster, for a Romney-led ticket.

Like Romney, Ryan is a son of privilege who has little real-world experience or understanding. He presents well on Sunday morning talk shows and in the rarified confines of Washington think tanks and dinners with his constituents—the Masters of the Universe on Wall Street-- but his record in Congress and the policies he now promotes are political albatrosses.

Some Republicans, perhaps even Romney, do not get this.

But the Obama campaign recognized, correctly, that Ryan’s positioning of himself as the point man on behalf of an austerity that would remake America as a dramatically weaker and more dysfunctional country makes him the most vulnerable of prominent Republicans.

Ryan scares people who live outside the “bubble” of a modern conservative movement that thinks the wealthiest country in the world is “broke” and that Ayn Rand is a literary and economic seer.

The House Budget Committee chairman imagines himself as a high priest speaking unfortunate truths about debts and deficits, the unforgiving foe of social spending who would gladly sacrifice Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid on the altar of debt reduction. Ryan has branded himself well within Republican circles, so well that he has parlayed himself into contention for the vice presidential nod. To get that nomination, however, Ryan must count on the prospect that the party that takes as its symbol the memory-rich elephant will suddenly suffer a spell of forgetfulness. That’s because the Republican congressman from Wisconsin, for all his bluster, is anything but a consistent advocate for fiscal responsibility and balanced budgets. He is, in fact, a hypocrite.

Or, to be more precise, a hypocritical big spender-- at least when Wall Street, the insurance industry and the military-industrial complex call.

Ryan has been a steady voter for unwise bailouts of big banks, unfunded mandates and unnecessary wars. Few members of Congress have run up such very big tabs while doing so little to figure out how to pay the piper. How has Ryan gotten away with his fool-most-of-the-people-most-of-the-time politics?

For the most part, he has until recently flown under the radar-- dazzling fellow Republicans with fiscal fancy footwork, while dancing around weak Democratic opposition in his home district.

Nichols, without slapping around the DCCC, also notes that Ryan has, until now, never had a legitimate reelection contest. What he's polite enough not to say is that the DCCC had no will to go after Paul Ryan. They-- or at least DCCC Chair "ex"-Blue Dog/ex-Center Aisle founder Steve Israel-- have told their big donors not to contribute to Ryan's progressive opponent, Rob Zerban. The DCCC has a long and shameful history of never opposing Paul Ryan and, in fact, of undermining Democrats in southeastern Wisconsin who wanted to defeat him in this swing district that Obama won neatly, 51-48%, and that sends plenty of local Democrats to Madison.

As we've been explaining for at least the last 5 years, there is no politician anywhere in the country more dangerous to American working families than Paul Ryan. He wants to destroy Social Security and Medicare and turn the country over to the tender mercies of Wall Street. If the DCCC had cared anything about protecting America-- or could even discern the nature of the existential danger Ryan poses-- defeating him would have been Priority #1 for them. Instead, Israel was committed to giving him yet another free pass. Blue America is a small independent PAC. Until today there were very few who wanted to work to defeat Paul Ryan. Will he run for reelection to Congress and for Vice President simultaneously, the way Lieberman did in 2000? I'm guessing we'll know pretty fast. [Yes, he's running for both positions.] We've been working to help Rob Zerban since he took the courageous step to go up against Goliath-- and we're doing our own independent work to elect him as well. You can help either or both efforts at the StopPaulRyan ActBlue page. Please do it now, before it's too late. (I know it sounds dramatic... but I'm speaking from my heart. This is the guy we need to defeat... for VP, for Congress, for 2016...

UPDATE: The Obama Campaign Welcomes Paul Ryan To The Fray

Jim Messina, Obama's campaign manager: “In naming Congressman Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney has chosen a leader of the House Republicans who shares his commitment to the flawed theory that new budget-busting tax cuts for the wealthy, while placing greater burdens on the middle class and seniors, will somehow deliver a stronger economy. The architect of the radical Republican House budget, Ryan, like Romney, proposed an additional $250,000 tax cut for millionaires, and deep cuts in education from Head Start to college aid. His plan also would end Medicare as we know it by turning it into a voucher system, shifting thousands of dollars in health care costs to seniors. As a member of Congress, Ryan rubber-stamped the reckless Bush economic policies that exploded our deficit and crashed our economy. Now the Romney-Ryan ticket would take us back by repeating the same, catastrophic mistakes.” And then they released this:

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