Paul Ryan for Veep: The "Right" Choice
In the lead-up to Mitt Romney’s announcement of Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan as his vice presidential choice, ABC’s announcer solemnly assured the audience that Ryan was a good choice because he would be very low-key and that he wouldn’t “demonize” the opposition.
It took Ryan all of six minutes to make a liar out of the ABC announcer and even his new boss, promptly trouncing Obama as an economy destroyer. Conservatives all across the nation were cheering Romney’s selection, gleefully anticipating the first vice presidential debate.
The 42 year-old Ryan was born and raised in Janesville, Wisc. His father died of a heart attack when Paul was 16. Ryan was the one who found his father lying in bed dead. His father, grandfather and great-grandfather all died from heart attacks at ages 55, 57, and 59, respectively.
As a result, Ryan became involved in health and fitness training. Take that, Michelle Obama. You can be sure Ryan will lead by example not excoriation when it comes to fitness. A fitness enthusiast and Green Bay Packers fan, Ryan promotes fitness as a daily routine for young people. Ryan is careful about what he eats, performs an intense cross-training routine known as P90X (Power 90 Extreme, a home exercise program that involves nutritional and dietary planning and an exercise program called “muscle confusion”, which essentially keeps muscles from getting bored and lazy) most mornings, and has made close to 40 climbs of Colorado's “Fourteeners” (14,000-foot peaks).
Ryan graduated from Miami University in Ohio with a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science. After graduating in 1992, at his mother Betty’s urging, Ryan accepted a position as an aide to U.S. Sen. Bob Kasten. After Kasten was defeated by Russ Feingold in 1992, Ryan became a speechwriter and a volunteer economic analyst with Empower America, an advocacy group formed by Jack Kemp and others. Eventually, Empower America and Citizens for a Sound America emerged in 2004, becoming Freedom Works.
Successively, he worked as legislative director for Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas, and speechwriter for Congressman Jack Kemp. In 1998, Ryan himself won election to the House of Representatives. Once in Congress, he offered various economic budget plans, most of which did not pass the Democrat Senate, but drew notice from Conservative members of the GOP. He is now head of the House Budget Committee, no small matter for a vice presidential nominee.
Ryan’s acceptance speech this morning was outstanding, and put even the best of Obama’s speeches to shame. Here’s a guy who knows how to deliver a well-written speech with energy and enthusiasm. Not bad for a numbers-cruncher.
Romney accidentally introduced him as the next president of the United States. Someday that may actually come true – and it certainly won’t be a “mistake.” Ryan’s critics predict that, as he’s been in Congress for 14 years and thus “an inside,r” that he’ll succumb to deal-making and promise-breaking.
CBS News notes: “As a 28-year-old, Ryan entered Congress brimming with idealistic views about forcing government to become leaner and less intrusive, principles he thought even fellow Republicans were abandoning too readily.
“’One of the first lessons I learned was, even if you come to Congress believing in limited government and fiscal prudence once you get here you are bombarded with pressure to violate your conscience and your commitment to help secure the people’s natural right to equal opportunity,’” Ryan wrote in a 2010 book.” CBS’ report doesn’t mean he became one of them. He doesn’t seem to have lost his limited-government vision at all.
Critics question Ryan’s own consistency. They note that he backed a costly prescription drug benefit during Republican George W. Bush’s presidency that added strain to the Medicare budget, which Ryan touted at the time as “one of the most critical pieces of legislation” enacted since he joined Congress. They also pointed out that he voted in favor of TARP. He said in a June interview with The Associated Press that he took a “defensive” vote to ward off a more expensive Senate version. More recently, Ryan served on a bipartisan presidential debt commission but balked at its report because a tax increase was on the menu of options.
ABC News noted these five “problematic items” about vice presidential nominee Ryan:
“1. His budget plans include big cuts, and there's ample room for Democrats to continue with their “Romneyhood narrative.” The nonpartisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates 62 percent of Ryan’s cuts are to programs for the poor.
2. Ryan’s budget proposals have included big changes to Medicare - including gradually replacing the program with a voucher program for private health care, and gradually raising the retirement age. That could scare older Americans, a crucial voting bloc.
3. He voted for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. While a lot of other Republicans did too, and it was proposed by the Bush administration, some have viewed it as a rejection of the conservative economic values Ryan and hard-line fiscal conservatives espouse.
4. He's easily pegged as Washington insider. He's been in Congress since 1999, and before that he worked as a congressional staffer. Congressional approval ratings are abysmally low- a recent CBS News/NY Times poll showed that only 12 percent of voters approve of the way Congress is doing its job.
5. This is both a pro and a con to Ryan, depending on who you ask, but he's notably further to the left on the issue of lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender rights than the base of the party. He broke with a lot of his party to support the Employee Non-Discrimination Act in 2007. He explained his reasoning for the vote in this way: ‘They [his gay friends] didn't roll out of bed one morning and choose to be gay. That's who they are.’”
Well, here’s the problem with ABC’s “problems”:
1. The Democrats are welcome to continue with their ‘Romneyhood narrative.’ However, their narrative is problematic since Robin Hood was the hero who allegedly stole from the rich to give to the poor. Historically, what Robin did was “steal from the government” and give the taxes back to the working people who had paid those taxes. Robin couldn’t give anything back to the poor; they were already in debtors’ prisons. In a bad economy like this, with high unemployment and an increasing deficit, raising taxes will be a hard sell for Obama, which he’ll have to do just to pay for Obamacare alone. Pit a “community organizer” against a successful businessman and an economist (who delivers dynamite speeches)? Please. The bigger the cuts, the better.
2. Ryan’s budget changes to Medicare are nothing compared to Obama’s. Ryan (and Romney) have no intention of pulling the rug out from the millions of elderly who have come to depend upon this program, which initially was only supposed to support the indigent elderly, not the 83 percent of the elderly who could afford their own health care (at the time). The change is gradual and in concert with a better health care reform that will make health care more affordable. Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to depend on either the government OR your employer for your health insurance? Wouldn’t you really feel better if you only had to buy insurance for hospitalization and catastrophic illness, picking up the bills for things like check-ups, over-the-counter medications, and (gasp!) contraception yourself? If you did, nobody would be able to “check up” on you later on.
3. Ryan voted for TARP. So did a lot of damned fools. The silver lining in that cloud is that this wrong-headed move led to the birth of the TEA parties. We’ve made it loud and clear that no one is ever going to sucker us again into believing “we have to do this” or “we have to do that” or the economic sky will fall. Personally, I forgive Paul Ryan. My older brother and even my mother were dumb enough to fall for that henny-penny warning that our economy would crash. It has crashed – I’m now unemployed – and here we are, trying to pick up the pieces. Just don’t do it again, Mr. Ryan.
4. He’s easily pegged as a Washington insider. Is he? Why don’t we take a look at what Americans for Prosperity’s Taxpayer Scorecard says? Well, lookey what we have here: AFP gave Congressman Paul Ryan a 95% (A) grade for being a fiscal conservative in 2010 (the 111th Congress). Charles Rangel got 0 %. There were other Republicans who got 100 percent, but 95% is cool. If Ryan’s a Washington “insider,” then he’s the kind of insider we need.
5. Ryan has gay friends. That kind of "accusation" is so 1960, when the Sodomy Laws (which were state laws) were still in effect and the police could haul a homosexual off to jail for having sex with a consenting adult in his or her own home. Even back then, my Conservative parents felt that, while homosexuality was morally wrong, so was putting someone in jail for doing something with a consenting adult that broke no other laws in the privacy of their own home. There the Liberals go again, confusing us with Neanderthal Klansmen (who voted Democrat, not Republican in the “old” South). The Republicans wrote and supported all the Civil Rights acts, not the Democrats. Conservatives don’t have a problem with gay people. They only have a problem with Liberal gay people forcing unwilling clergymen, through feeral litigation, to marry them.
Conservatives weren’t too sure about Mitt Romney. He seems kind of moderate, but he certainly is trying, as is Gov. Christie. Gov. Romney took a giant leap forward today in guaranteeing the Conservative vote on Nov. 6th.