Once again, a Republican presidential candidate has had to resort to picking a far-right VP to save his candidacy. McCain did it in 2008 by picking the unqualified and barely articulate Sarah Palin. McCain lost by almost 7%.
Now Mitt Romney, unliked by the GOP base and desperately trying to change the subject from his tax returns, weighed down by his klutzy and embarrassing trip overseas and the latest Fox and CNN polls.....has picked another darling of the extreme right to be his running mate. Paul Ryan, Congressman from Wisconsin and author and proud daddy of his name sake, the Ryan Budget.....passed twice by a Tea Party House without one Democratic vote.
Even casual observers knew that Romney had to pick a running mate who would stir the passions, as well as the prejudices, of the Tea Party-driven GOP base. The Teas were never excited about the former blue state governor. Mitt is the ex-governor formerly known as pro-choice. Mitt is the guy who signed Obamacare into law for his state....before Obamacare was even....well....Obamacare. And then there's Mitt's Mormonism.....defined as a cult by the far-right evangelical base voters.
So, picking a darling of the extremes....was a given...for Mitt. Paul Ryan's ideas, his solutions to national economic problems and his voting record in Congress.....illustrate just how extreme Mitt's running mate is.
Today, I want to focus on Paul Ryan's alleged fiscal responsibility, his deficit hawkishness. If you listen to conservative media, you will hear it said, repeatedly, that Paul Ryan is a courageous idea man who is very, very Serious about getting those pesky deficits and national debt under control.
Words are cheap....whether they are the words of cult members at Redstate and Fox...or whether they are the words of Mr. Ryan himself. But actions tell the true story.
Paul Ryan has been in the House for 14 years....which means that he was present in the House, not just talking....but voting....during the Bush Regime. So how did the Serious protector of the federal budget, Mr. Fiscal Responsibility, vote during the Bush years?
Ryan voted for both the 2001 and 2003 unpaid-for, deficit ballooning, Bush tax cuts. The same tax cuts which are still helping to balloon the deficit under Obama today. Paul Ryan also voted for both the Afghan and Iraq military adventures without a mechanism to pay for them, apparently demonstrating how hawk-like he really was about the deficits and debt.. To boot, Ryan, the fiscally responsible conservative that he is, voted for the Big Government, and unpaid for, Medicare Plan D program.
For good measure, Ryan voted for TARP and the auto-bailout.
Yes, that's Paul Ryan's deficit and debt bonafides. Like I said....don't simply listen to what the very Serious Romney running mate says....look at what he DID. During the Bush Regime, Ryan voted, along with virtually all rubber stamping, yet Serious, Congressional Republicans to double the national debt in 8 years. Taking a $5 trillion debt and making it almost $10 trillion.
Four short years later, Ryan, and Romney, are hoping America's short attention span disease will flare up blocking any recollection of those votes by Serious Paul and his Deficit Hawks. The Villagers, no doubt, will pooh-pooh any talk of Ryan not really being a Serious...also too, "wonky"....fiscally responsible deficit hawk because......well....blue eyes and he's, you know, young and handsome.
But the one thing that Paul Ryan is not.....is a serious caretaker of the national debt and deficits. "Deficits don't matter", The Dick famously said....and Paul Ryan is the living proof. Deficits and debt did not matter to Paul Ryan during the years 2001-2009......why in the name of Hercules would deficits and debt matter to Paul Ryan in 2012? Answer: they don't.
Instead, Ryan, like many modern Randian conservatives, is simply using the occasion of the deficits and the debt as an opportunity to remodel Medicare and Medicaid as we've known those programs. Radically cutting government spending domestically...and entitlements....while increasing defense spending.....all for the goal of reducing tax rates on flush corporations and the top 1% of income earners. Ryan's budget would put Mitt's tax rate on last year's $21 million income at a whopping .82%. That's eight tenths of one percent.
When Paul Ryan actually introduced his extremist conservative Budget agenda in the House.....the Budget that every Republican in the House voted for and not one Democrat.....I found it hard to believe. No longer were these faux-hawks going to settle for chipping away at the safety net around the edges. No longer were these radicalized conservatives going to hide their desire to tear down the popular programs of FDR and LBJ.
Nosirree.....when Ryan called for a GOP vote to dismantle Medicare and remake it in the image of Ayn Rand....so that billionaires could keep more of their tax money.....a new boundary was crossed by the GOP.
Modern conservatism, the modern Republican Party....had fully capitulated to the oligarchs, the 1%. Now there's no more shame associated with pitting the desires of the filthy rich against the needs of the rest of us.
And Paul Ryan is the living personification of that new conservative shamelessness.
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