So, it’s Paul Ryan.
Color me not particularly surprised.
I’m reminded of Gene Hackman’s line to Will Smith in Enemy of the State:
You’re either incredibly smart or incredibly stupid…
In preparation for Tampa, Mitt Romney announced that he was tapping Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan as his running mate.
In requisite conservative Chicken Hawk fashion they made the announcement in front of a war machine to the sound of crackling American flags and martial music. Hooray! I can think of no more appropriate setting than to make the announcement in front of the battleship Wisconsin.
If that’s not the very epitome of the modern GOP, I don’t know what is.
Two men who never served themselves, who have never ever put themselves in harm’s way, standing in front of a symbol of military might. They represent the very face of a political apparatus that embraces the proud tradition of sending other people’s kids off to fight and die in foreign lands – and then denigrates their service when they come home, because they don’t happen to belong to that same ideology. People like me, for instance. Oh how Republicans love the trappings of war, tanks and battleships and patriotic music and the roar of fighter jets overhead. They love the words, strategy and tactics and battle. They love to put targets on their enemies and they love to talk about returning fire. They love guns and they love to drive Humvees and they love to declare war, war on this and war on that. They just don’t like going to war themselves. Funny how neither Romney or Ryan, standing in front of the World War Two battleship, Wisconsin, made mention of how Mitt managed to avoid military service during Vietnam by taking the Mormon to France or how Ryan went into politics in high school and has been firmly lodged there ever since. Neither of these men served a single day in their entire lives, and yet there they were, beating the military drum.
Yes, how utterly appropriate.
If they could have dug up Dick Cheney and his five draft deferments, they would have had a complete set. The men who came from across the nation, republicans and democrats in equal measure, and crewed that warship during our nation’s darkest hours should be disgusted. But I digress.
Mitt Romney, the man born with a golden spoon in his mouth and who increased his fortune a hundredfold by liquidating American businesses and sending American jobs overseas, standing in front of the nation and telling us that we need to buckle down, stop sucking off the government teat, get jobs and get to work.
Paul Ryan, the man who started out as a high school class president and who has never had an actual adult job outside of government, a man who as a boy would have been on the street after the tragic death of his father but for Social Security and government safety nets, loudly embraces the selfish screw you philosophy of Ayn Rand and thinks other people should get real jobs and stop sponging off the government.
Oh yes, making the announcement in front of the battlewagon Wisconsin was absolutely appropriate.
I can think of few other settings that would so perfectly summarize the hypocrisy of the modern GOP.
Today, the media is hyperventilating into a paper bag, all full of excited and feverish speculation about what the addition of Paul Ryan means to this election year’s monkey fest. What does it mean? Oh, America, what could it mean?
I’ll tell you what it means: Mitt Romney is doubling down.
He’s embracing the failed tactics of his predecessors, only more so. Exactly like his party goes to war.
He’s pulling a John McCain.
Romney was faced with a simple choice, go big or go home. Polls in recent weeks clearly show President Obama with a distinct and and increasing lead. CNN Opinion Research has Obama up by seven points and Fox News itself has Obama leading by a full nine percentage points. Fox’s hysterical Chicken Little panic is obviously designed to terrify conservatives into action, but it’s telling that even a unashamedly biased mouthpiece like Fox News gives Obama the lead.
Now it’s a sucker’s bet to call an election this far out, but it would appear from both liberal and conservative perspectives that Romney is lagging.
There’s a reason for this.
The simple truth of the matter is that nobody likes Mitt Romney.
Face it, he’s a stiff. He looks like he popped out of his mother’s womb at a precisely scheduled time with a full head of perfectly coiffed hair, wearing a perfectly pressed Armani suit, and toddled off to a board meeting before his eyes were even focused. HIs idea of looking like a regular Joe is to don a pair of brand new thousand dollar designer blue jeans ironed with military creases by the help – he looks like a CEO awkwardly trying to mingle with the peons at a company picnic. His spontaneously unscripted moments are scripted. He’s the kind of guy who relaxes by reading Forbes and quarterly earnings reports. Those robots in Disney’s Hall of Presidents are more lifelike and have more personality than Mitt Romney. Romney is a guy who was born rich and made himself richer by liquidating American businesses and putting working class folks in the unemployment line. He’s the guy who lives in the big house. The economy tanked and regular folks lost their homes and shirts and livelihoods, Mitt Romney bought a vacation house with a car elevator in the garage and his wife took her horse to London. No matter how you slice it, that’s who he is.
The problem with Mitt Romney is that Mitt Romney looks and acts exactly like a cliché of what he actually is, a rich white guy.
He’s a bored rich guy who doesn’t have to work for a living and has run out of things to do, he doesn’t have the chops to be Batman so he decided to run for President.
Mitt Romney is literally the rich preppy asshole upper classman from every single John Cusack 80’s teen movie.
This guy has absolutely nothing in common with ninety-nine percent of America – most especially the light beer swilling, tractor-pulling, NASCAR watching, gun humping, Jesus worshiping, tea partying GOP base.
So why is he the GOP nominee apparent?
Seriously, out of all the choices, why is the average out of work, down on his luck conservative going to vote for the guy least like them? Why? Because (leaving aside the obvious color issue) twenty years ago they were told that a rising tide raises all boats, that’s why. A bunch of rich white guys from Wall Street, people just like Mitt Romney, relieved themselves on the American public and told them it was a summer rain shower. Oh they gave it a nice official sounding name, Trickle Down Economics, but warm whiz is what it was.
Mitt Romney is the poster child for Reaganomics.
See, here’s the thing, a rising tide is great – if you happen to be a member of the yacht club.
But if you don’t own a boat and you can’t afford a ticket as a passenger, well then your only hope is to get hired on as crew otherwise you’re left treading water. And that’s fine, not everybody is a Captain. As long as there are enough boats you’ll stay above water. Problem is, Mitt Romney and the other captains did what a lot of rich yacht owners do, they registered their boats overseas for tax purposes and got themselves some cheap foreign deckhands. It’s twenty years later, but a lot of conservatives still seem to think that sooner or later the rich folks sailing past will throw them a lifeline. Instead, those same rich folks are standing at the rail enjoying the view with a glass of tax free champagne, and they’re pissing over the side – and if we all shuffle together down here between the waves, well we might be able to enjoy a brief warm trickle in the cold, cold ocean. Thanks rich people. Thank you, Ronald Reagan.
The problem with trickle down economics is one of proportion. Without some very specific regulations and enforcement, the rich folks benefit enormously from a booming economy, the middle class does all the deck work and gets a modest lifestyle on credit, and the poor get put away down in steerage with the rats where they’re out of sight and out of mind. Every once in a while, if they behave, Mitt Romney will put on his thousand dollar jeans and ladle them out some soup – because not only is that tax deductible it buys rich people a place in Heaven.
And then when it all hits the iceberg, well then the rich bastards jump in the paltry few lifeboats and motor away, leaving everybody else to drown.
When John Thain, the last President of Merrill Lynch, crashed his company and lost his job, he got a multi-million dollar golden parachute. Everybody else, employees and investors and the American public, got screwed and left to go down with the ship. That’s exactly what I’m talking about, people like John Thain take risks with our entire economy and when their greed and lousy leadership result in a massive economic collapse they just get richer while everybody else ends up broke and swimming for their lives. And if that isn’t enough, Thain, after he destroyed Merrill Lynch and sold what was left off to Bank of America asked the board of directors to give him another ten million.
Mitt Romney and his boy wonder along with every other member of the Republican Party keep telling us that people like John Thain shouldn’t pay taxes because they create jobs. Seriously? You have to wonder what these people are smoking. Thain destroyed hundreds of thousands of jobs, literally hundreds of thousands of jobs, directly like those at Merrill Lynch and indirectly by contributing to the economic collapse though careless and unscrupulous business activities. Thain made hundreds of millions of dollars in salary and bonuses doing it and that money came directly from people who are now paying off hundreds of thousands of dollars in bad mortgages and will be for the rest of their lives.
Thain literally bought himself a gold plated toilet with that money. You want to talk about pissing on the rest of us?
People like John Thain have enjoyed Bush Era Tax Cuts for ten years now, so where are the jobs?
No seriously, where are they?
And now? Now Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan want you to believe that we somehow owe John Thain more money.
The rich are always outraged when the ship of state springs a leak. Sure. Of course it wasn’t their fault, never is, right? Bad crewing is what it was. It was those parasites down in steerage, yeah, those bastards. Funny that the rich aren’t outraged when there aren’t enough lifeboats for all, costs must be kept to a minimum and profits maximized after all – just as long as there’s enough lifeboats for them.
What people like Mitt Romney want is to convince you that being beholden to the government is bad, but being beholden to rich people is somehow desirable. The reason, and what those folks never tell you, is that the government is answerable to the people, the rich emphatically aren’t, QED. If you’re depending on the largess and compassion of people like Mitt Romney and John Thain, well, you’re an idiot.
Case in point, Saturday morning, Romney hired himself a First Mate who wants to increase profits by getting rid of the life preservers.
Mitt Romney needed somebody who can carry that message, somebody who can convince the slaves to fight for the Confederacy, somebody who can convince the crew to help the rich folks into the lifeboat and then go down with the ship with a smile on their faces. He needed somebody young, dynamic, pretty, and – and given the lessons learned from McCain’s mistake – intelligent and well spoken. In short, just like McCain he needed a running mate that would offset his image as an old stodgy rich white guy pissing on the rest of us. What he really needed, was somebody who could look the crew and passengers right in the eye and convince them that lifeboats are just for the owner of the shipping company and anything more is really just a waste of deck space. Trust me, the ship will never sink.
What you’re seeing here is the same philosophy that these same folks use to wage war. We’ll never lose. They’ll cheer us in the streets. It’ll be over in a month. We don’t need body armor. God loves us best of all, he’d never let us down so we don’t need a backup plan or safety nets. Besides, we could stand to shed some of the riff raff. Trust us. More champagne? It’s imported.
Somebody managed to finally convince Romney that Latinos aren’t going to vote for him no matter what – not even the ones that conservatives think can’t tell the difference between Mexicans and Cubans. It’s just not possible for the GOP to court the Latino vote when every conservative worth his genuine Ben Franklin powdered wig is loudly blaming immigrants for everything from acne to the price of lettuce and demanding to see their papers. When you’ve got Joe Arpaio stomping around the Southwest in his hobnail boots, there’s no point in bringing onboard Marco Rubio.
The GOP is already chock a block with loud corn-fed white guys who hate minorities, gays, the poor, non-Christians, and Barack Obama. They’ve got that part covered in detail. Chris Christie would have been redundant. Besides, Christie would have had to start watching his mouth, and even if he wasn’t from New Jersey that’s just not going to happen.
Rob Portman was too damned boring. Romney’s already boring, adding Portman to the ticket gains him exactly nothing except another stiffy in a tie. If you don’t live in Ohio, you don’t know Rob Portman from Natalie Portman. Conservatives, despite their recent glum show of enthusiasm, are already not excited. For them, this isn’t about putting Romney in the White House, it’s about getting Barack Obama out. Then once they’ve righted the world and fumigated the Oval Office, like the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt they’ll go around chipping the stinky black guy’s image off of everything. Given that the school books are printed in Texas, I figure it’s only a matter of time until Obama’s name, like that of Chuck Darwin and Marty King Jr, will disappear from our history. Remember, Folks, the only science that matters is creation science and the only true blue oppressed civil rights leader you need to know is Dan Cathy. Once a Republican is back in the White House the economy will magically rain down sugar coated happiness and manly non-gay rainbows, the tide will come in, the boats will rise … and all the undesirables will drown just like Jesus intended. Amen.
And the guy with the plan, the plan that rains down magic sugar frosted rainbows, is Paul Ryan.
Fox News hailed the selection of Ryan as evidence that Romney is focused on the economy.
Heh heh, right.
If Romney was focused on the economy, if Romney actually had a plan that he could sell to the masses, well then he wouldn’t need Paul Ryan now, would he?
Bringing Ryan onboard lets Romney claim to be focused on the economy and jobs while spending all of his time talking about conspiracy theories and how Obama sucks giant liberal donkey balls. Right from the start, Romney and his former competitors have attempted to make this election into a referendum on Obama, selecting Ryan as his running mate lets Romney continue to do so.
You’re either incredibly smart, or incredibly stupid.
If Romney plays the staid conservative game, he will certainly lose.
And if he takes a big risk, which is what Ryan is, he just might lose even bigger. But he just might win too.
It depends on whether the Ryan Budget Plan will galvanize the Tea Party and the undecided vote in favor of Mitt Romney to a larger degree than the threat of Ryan’s Ayn Rand Utopia will goad disillusioned democrats and independents into getting off their teary asses and going to vote for Obama again.
And Ryan should scare the bejebbers out of both sides.
Conservatives have been shitting themselves blind for the last three years, gibbering in black panic over what, exactly, Obama meant by “change.” As Chairman of the House Budget Committee, Ryan’s plan outlines nothing short of a complete reordering of the national tax code and a massively radical change in federal spending priories for the next century. Ryan’s plan would drastically shrink the US Government and would, for all practical purposes, remove almost all of the safety nets ninety-nine percent of Americans, the entire middle class, i.e. pretty much the entire Tea Party among others, depend on.
For example, Paul Ryan’s plan will convert Medicare into a voucher program.
What that means is that every middle class senior citizen, and the others who depend on Medicare, will be given government checks so that they can go buy privatized health insurance.
Think about that.
No. Stop. Really think about that and what the implications are.
First you’re basically looking at government subsidized health insurance. Oh you can whore it up all you like, but that’s what it is, and it’s something that Ryan’s Tea Party pals and conservatives denounce as hated socialism.
Second, for a voucher system to work you have to implement some pretty strict regulations on the insurance industry. We’re talking about old people here, right? That’s who uses Medicare. Old people usually have a lot of pre-existing medical conditions, they usually require increasingly expensive prescriptions, lots of them. Hundreds of dollars a month. They need expensive procedures and treatments and hearing aids and eye glasses and physical therapy. Old people are expensive, they cost a lot of money when it come to healthcare and they typically can’t pay much in the way of premiums and deductibles.
Private health insurers hate old people the way auto insurers hate drunk drivers. That’s why we ended up with Medicare in the first place and why it costs so much.
Now, how are you going to guarantee that private health insurance will cover old people?
What’s that you say?
Why there’ll have to be strict government regulation?
Yes, there will. Insurers will be forced to take people with pre-existing conditions. They’ll be prevented from dropping people with increasingly serious medical conditions and people who are absolutely guaranteed to develop serious medical conditions. There will be strict limits on what insurers can charge and what they must cover. And so on.
That would be sort of exactly like Obamacare, wouldn’t it?
Because if you don’t don’t have those kind of regulations in place when Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan get rid of Medicare, well then you’ll looking square into the face of actual de facto no shit death panels, aren’t you?
That’s just the start. You run into the same problems when you start talking about the privatization of Social Security and other government safety nets which were put into place specifically because private businesses can’t or will not cover the problem. The Ryan budget plan, if implemented, would cut roughly six trillion dollars from projected federal spending for the next ten years and it would also cut revenue by another four trillion dollars. It will radically change the government more than anything Barack Obama or the democrats have ever attempted in any fashion whatsoever.
And where exactly do you think that money is going to come from? Out of the Koch Brothers’ pockets? Out of the defense budget?
No, it’s going to come from people just like us.
Now, don’t get me wrong here, something must be done. Federal spending and the federal deficit must be brought under control. But when the ship is taking on water you don’t burn the lifeboats.
As the Tea Party’s fair haired accountant and as the head of the House Budget Committee, Representative Paul Ryan wields considerable power and influence – far more than he should.
But, and here’s the really ironic part, if Romney wins the White House this fall, he effectively takes Paul Ryan out of the picture and strips him of all his power.
The US Vice President has little influence and no authority when it comes to executive policy.
The Vice President has no authority when it comes to legislation, other than maybe casting a tie breaking vote in the Senate should it come down to it.
Right now Paul Ryan is a member of the club, one of the movers and the shakers, but should he change from legislative to executive, he’s persona non grata on the Hill. There is nobody less influential than the Vice President (Well, OK, sure, there was Dick Cheney, you’ve got me there).
But no matter how you slice it, for the next several months, until November at least, Paul Ryan is effectively out of congress or at best working part time – i.e. during one of the most critical budget negotiation periods in recent memory the conservative Chairman of the House Budget Committee is out on the campaign trail instead of wielding the gavel.
Romney is either incredibly smart, or incredibly stupid.
Time will certainly tell.