Robbing from the poor to give to the rich. That about sums them up.
I’ve refrained from posting on US politics because it is simply too depressing. Watching nutty conservatives transform the once sane if misguided Republican Party into an Ayn Rand-worshipping club of ueber-rich white men — and seeing so many Americans get on board donning their Tea Part costumes — has been a jaw-dropping spectacle. Watching all the newly minted young Tea Party Republicans oust their moderate opponents two years ago was an ominous sign of the country’s dangerous veering to the right.
Paul Ryan will undoubtedly enjoy his honeymoon, just as Sarah Palin did. But I see him as a huge red target on Romney’s back. Willard Romney’s campaign has been all about hiding what he would do to restore America’s economy. He has been intentionally vague and weasely, always changing the subject to how bad Obama is. Now he has a plan and a vision, he is joined at the hip with it, the shameless Ryan budget that offers huge tax cuts for the very richest Americans while slashing benefits the middle and lower classes have come to depend on. Now Romney has to defend this program and convince those who will be hurt by it the most to see it as the Holy Grail. Democrats should probably be rejoicing, but as H.L. Mencken once famously said, “No one ever lost money underestimating the intelligence of the American people.” Maybe they’ll be sucked in by the whacky argument that Ryan’s budget plan is “courageous” and “serious.”
James Fallows obliterates this argument.
One request: I hope that when reporters are writing or talking about Paul Ryan’s budget plans and his overall approach, they will rig up some electro-shock device to zap themselves each time they say that Ryan and his thoughts are unusually “serious” or “brave.” Clear-edged they are, and useful in defining the issues in the campaign. But they have no edge in “seriousness” over, say, proposals from Ryan’s VP counterpart Joe Biden.
…I’m making a simple plea: examine the Ryan plan, and its Obama counterpart, on their merits, and for the different values they express and interest groups they defend, without pretending that there is some bravery or seriousness gap between them. All these people are serious now. I also encourage you to snicker discreetly, or if you’re in the right setting to start a drinking game, at each pundit occurrence of “brave” and “serious.” People who say these things are revealing their non-serious susceptibility to cliche.
He also argues that the choice is good for the American public because it will create a serious debate about the two parties’ economic vision. I’ll buy that. We had no vision from Romney before, just platitudes. Now he has a plan he must defend.
I also like this:
And how does Romney say the problem with Barack Obama is that he’s “never spent a day in the private sector” and then put Ryan a heartbeat away from the presidency?
(Ryan has never had a day of private sector experience.)
Romney, ever the coward, bowed to the far right, to the William Kristols and Fox Newsies who insisted he select an Ayn Rand conservative Tea Partier as his running mate. Now their wish is granted, and Romney has to convince the public that Medicare vouchers and obscene tax cuts for people like Romney are good for them. The Ryan pick is an act of desperation. It seems like a gift to Obama, but again, there are a lot of gullible Americans out there. Let Ryan have his honeymoon, but then Obama and Biden should tear Ryan apart in a systematic, logical manner, exposing his “bold” budget plan for what it is, a steamroller that crushes a huge swath of the public while further enriching those who need it the least.
If by some bizarre quirk of fate Romney and Ryan win, I’m on the next plane out of here.
Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.