A few days ago, as you may have heard, Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul went off-script while trying to make the case that her boss is a real human being, with… you know… a heart. She reminded Fox News viewers that Romney was responsible for bringing universal health care to the the people of Massachusetts when he served as Governor. While, in a sane world, that would have been a great point to bring up, in today’s through the looking glass world of Republican politics, what she said was greeted with blood-curdling screams. (Given the vitriol directed at Saul, you’d have thought that she’d revealed something truly terrible, like that Romney had systematic outsourced thousands of American jobs to India and China, while at the head of Bain Capital.) And the campaign has been in a tailspin ever since. Well, in an attempt to contain the damage, and change the course of the weekend news cycle, Mitt Romney, early this morning, announced that Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan would be his running mate. The following comes from Talking Points Memo.
Via smartphone app Saturday morning, GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney announced he’s selected Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) to be his running mate.
In a later press release, the Romney campaign named the two men “America’s comeback team.” News of the Romney pick leaked late Friday night, ahead of Ryan and Romney’s first appearance as running mates in Norfolk, VA Saturday morning.
Ryan, and the budget plan that has come to define him as a politician, offer the ticket serious risks and rewards: Ryan can galvanize conservatives and offer a substantive alternative to President Obama’s vision for improving the economy, but that vision involves enormous tax cuts focused on the wealthy — a fact that could cement Romney in the minds of voters as the rich man’s candidate.
Ryan is a staunch conservative and one of the most high-profile Republicans in Congress. As chairman of the House Budget Committee, Ryan is the architect of the party’s contentious policy platform, which includes radical restructuring of popular programs like Medicare and the eventual eradication of some of the government’s key functions.
Ryan represents the Wisconsin’s 1st District — a region that includes the small city of Janesville, where Ryan was born and raised. An Ayn Rand acolyte, Ryan worked as an aide for Sens. Bob Kasten (R-WI), Sam Brownback (R-KS) and for GOP vice presidential nominee Jack Kemp, whom he identifies as one of his professional role models. He was first elected to public office in 1998, when he was only 28 years old.
Though he’s now identified as the GOP’s small government standard-bearer, Ryan rose through the ranks of the House GOP conference supporting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, an unfunded Medicare prescription drug benefit and TARP, the 2008 bank-bailout bill…
Here, if you’re interested in knowing more about Ryan, is some great footage of him being booed by his constituents for proposing that social programs be eliminated in order to make further tax cuts for the wealthy possible.
It’s also worth noting that Ryan, who now crusades against Social Security, paid his tuition at Miami of Ohio using the Social Security survivor’s benefits he received after his father passed away. (How’s that for hypocrisy?)
And then there’s this, from Esquire.
One day, some years from now, I’m going to figure out how Paul Ryan, the zombie-eyed granny-starver from Wisconsin, managed to fool so many people for so long. He’s a garden-variety supply-side faker. His alleged economic “wonkery” consists of a B.A. in economics from Miami of Ohio — which he would not have been able to achieve without my generosity in helping him out with the Social Security survivor’s benefits that got him through high school after his father kicked. (You’re welcome, zombie-eyed granny-starver. Think nothing of it. Really.) Whereupon he went to work in Washington for a variety of conservative congresscritters and think-tanks, thinking unremarkable thoughts for fairly unremarkable people. Once in Congress, however, he has been transformed into an intellectual giant despite the fact that, every time he comes up with another “budget,” actual economists get a look at it and determine, yet again, that between “What We Should Do” and “Great Things That Will Happen When We Do” is a wilderness of dreamy nonsense, wishful thinking, and an asterisk the size of Lake Huron. At which point, Republicans who’d like to have careers in five years take to hiding behind the drapes when he comes down the hall. Then, a few months later, he’s at it again. And even some putatively liberal commentators shrug and tell themselves that, at least, Paul Ryan is a Serious Person. He gets credit for sincerely wanting to “reform” entitlements, when his entire career makes it quite plain that he doesn’t believe in the concept of entitlements, let alone the ones we actually have. He gets a pass on obvious mendacity that none of us would buy from, say, Herman Cain. (In a way, it’s not dissimilar to all those valentines to the mighty intellect of Newt Gingrich that we read back in the early 1990′s, until everybody figured out that Newt’s default position on almost everything was being a thoroughgoing creep.) Outside of the very real possibility that it’s all being done to give Paul Krugman a stroke, I don’t get it…