That's The Ticket
(Graphic stolen from Democratic Underground.)
Mitt Romney finally announced his running mate on Saturday morning: Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). In typical Romney fashion, Mitt introduced Ryan as "the next President," but, hey, what's one more verbal gaffe at this point?
The choice wasn't all that surprising (unless, of course, your name is Tim Pawlenty): Ryan is a GOP superstar right now. His plan to balance the budget by destroying Medicare to finance more tax cuts for the 1% qualifies him as a very serious force in the political world, especially in the eyes of the far right-wing of the party. Mitt is still trying to convince those people he's a conservative and obviously hopes his choice for running-mate will accomplish that.
So who is this superstar? Well, he's someone who thinks government needs to be small and needs to stop meddling in the affairs of individuals and businesses. Unlike Mitt Romney, he wasn't born wealthy. Nope, he made his way in the world by his own, unassisted efforts. Atrios summarized Ryan's accomplishments thusly:
Public high school.
Worked for family business.
Congressional staffer, with service jobs for additional money.
Speechwriter for Jack Kemp.
Staffer for Sam Brownback.
Member of Congress.
Capitalism, just as Rand envisioned.
'Rand', of course, is Ayn Rand, a "philosopher" that Ryan was heavily impressed by, at least in days gone by. Recently, he seems to forget that part of his bio, a lapse that fits nicely with Mitt Romney's own penchant for convenient recollection. At least one member of the press took a closer look:
Back in 2005, an up-and-coming lawmaker named Paul Ryan credited the polemical novelist and libertarian Ayn Rand as a central inspiration for his entry into public life. Ryan toiled in those days in relative obscurity, a well-respected but low-profile member of the House of Representatives.
By the spring of 2012, the boyish congressman had become a Republican star, widely named as a possible vice presidential pick. He also had become considerably less comfortable being linked to the controversial Rand, an atheist with a tartly Darwinian world view. ...
Journalists who have recently written about Ryan suggested that his infatuation with the Russian émigré author, who died in 1982 at age 77, has hardly waned. The favorite son of Wisconsin has recently been insisting that his embrace of Rand amounted to a youthful infatuation. In an April interview with the National Review, Ryan said that the reports linking him to Rand were essentially “an urban legend.”
“I reject her philosophy,” Ryan told Robert Costa of the National Review. “It’s an atheist philosophy. It reduces human interactions down to mere contracts and it is antithetical to my worldview.” He added that he had merely “enjoyed a couple of her novels,” which also included another bestseller, “The Fountainhead.”
But Ryan made no bones about his philosophical influences just a few years ago. He told the Weekly Standard in 2003 that he gave his staffers copies of “Atlas Shrugged” as Christmas presents. Speaking to a group of Rand acolytes in 2005, Ryan said, “The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand. And the fight we are in here, make no mistake about it, is a fight of individualism versus collectivism.” ...
Jonathan Chait, writing in New York magazine, suggested Ryan cannot slough off his connections to Rand’s thinking that easily. The journalist cited Ryan’s 2009 remarks about the immorality of government attacking productive members of society.
“It is not enough to say that President Obama’s taxes are too big or the healthcare plan doesn’t work for this or that policy reason,” the lawmaker said. “It is the morality of what is occurring right now, and how it offends the morality of individuals working toward their own free will to produce, to achieve, to succeed, that is under attack, and it is that what I think Ayn Rand would be commenting on.”
So, a new dream team has arisen to save the nation. Perhaps the best summary came from mp, a commenter at Eschaton.
Here you have a white male top of the ticket born into privilege, picking another white male not born into privilege, but taking advantage of the safety net he now wants to set ablaze.
Why, yes. I think that gets it nicely.
That reminds me. I need to stock up on more popcorn.