If you read that New Yorker article about Paul Ryan, you will notice that the zombie-eyed granny starver considers James Pethokoukis a confidant.
That’s what Ryanmentum is all about: turning up the Nuge and rocking out to Ayn Rand and Red Dawn.
GOS’s Laura Clawson is getting here before me, but there’s an overwhelmingly obvious truth unsaid within the now-notorious Politico piece on Republican campaign operatives’ despair over the Ryan pick.
The piece channels keening over the fact Ryan plan screws up what was presumed to be the Republican’s best tactical approach to winning the White House, by shifting focus from Obama’s record on the economy (however distorted or outright BS-ed the Romney characterization of that record was and would be) to one in which we will confront a choice between to sharply distinct policy and moral visions for the future.
That is: the Politico folks take the usual horserace approach to the latest twist in the campaign.
But that approach buries the
lead lede. Yes, the economy ain’t that great and Romney could build traction there, again, however disengenously. But the real story here is something that we’ve been talking about more or less overtly for the last several days — and that’s the bit Politico and its GOP sources really want to avoid talk about.
“I think it’s a very bold choice. And an exciting and interesting pick. It’s going to elevate the campaign into a debate over big ideas. It means Romney-Ryan can run on principles and provide some real direction and vision for the Republican Party. And probably lose. Maybe big,” said former President George W. Bush senior adviser Mark McKinnon.
Another strategist emailed midway through Romney and Ryan’s first joint event Saturday: “The good news is that this ticket now has a vision. The bad news is that vision is basically just a chart of numbers used to justify policies that are extremely unpopular.”
Republican consultant Terry Nelson is hoping that a big debate on the presidential level will make it tougher for Democrats to mischaracterize the debate down ballot, where many Republican candidates in the House and Senate have already taken votes in favor of the Ryan plan. The more Romney and Ryan have to defend Ryan’s plan in the presidential race, the more they’ll provide air cover for other candidates.
But if that “defense” forces voters to think hard about what the Republican approach to America’s future actually means…well that’s Obama’s job, and ours, isn’t it?
Images: Edgar Degas, Race Horses in a Landscape, 1894
Pieter Breughel the Elder, Portrait of an Old Woman, c. 1564
There is the one bit of conventional wisdom coagulating around Romney’s Veep selection that is absolutely true. We face a stark — really an existential — choice this November.
There are any number of ways to characterize the two branches that split from that decision, but for me it boils down to a commitment to the idea of society — that we exist as both individuals and as members of groups, with all the enhancement and constraint of experience that comes with such associations. One side honors that concept; the other derides it.
All this is to say go read Benjamin Hale’s very thoughtful piece up at The New York Times‘ The Stone blog.
Hale offers a much more measured argument than anything I find myself capable of composing right now, channeling his inner John Rawls to provide a framework for understanding just how literally anti-social Ryan and Romney are. His restraint makes his conclusion all the more potent:
The question of fairness has widespread application throughout our political discourse. It affects taxation, health care, education, social safety nets and so on. The veil of opulence would have us screen for fairness by asking what the most fortunate among us are willing to bear. The veil of ignorance would have us screen for fairness by asking what any of us would be willing to bear, if it were the case that we, or the ones we love, might be born into difficult circumstances or, despite our hard work, blindsided by misfortune. Society is in place to correct for the injustices of the universe, to ensure that our lives can run smoothly despite the stuff that is far out of our control: not to hand us what we need, but to give us the opportunity to pursue life, liberty and happiness. The veil of ignorance helps us see that. The veil of opulence keeps us in the dark.
Do go read the whole thing.
The modern Republican Party can’t be reformed, I think; it can only be unmade, till not one brick stands on the next.
Factio Grandaeva Delenda Est.
Image: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Potsdamer Platz,1914.
Oh for fuck’s sake, Politico:
Overlooked, understandably, in Saturday’s analysis and news that Rep. Paul Ryan will be Mitt Romney’s vice presidential nominee was one mostly — but not entirely — unimportant aspect: Paul Ryan is kind of hot.
Upon hearing the news of Ryan’s nomination, TMZ was quick to declare Ryan “the hottest vice presidential candidate ever.”
In 2008, Ryan was included in The Hill’s 50 Most Beautiful list with the following write-up: “Let’s face it, the reform of entitlements like Social Security is an important topic for members of Congress to debate. But listening to lawmakers speak about it on the floor does not exactly cause the heart to race. Unless, that is, the speech is being delivered by the tall, handsome and fiscally conservative Rep. Paul Ryan.”
One of the suggestions offered by Google when you search for “Paul Ryan”? “Paul Ryan shirtless.”
Number of Google results for “Paul Ryan is hot”? 1,350. “Paul Ryan is sexy”? 311.
And then there’s the “Hey Girl” meme that pits Ryan as a wonkish seducer — or the commentary about his “sexy” eyes.
Even P90X’s Tony Horton — whose workout has been a hit with Ryan — admitted how buff he considers Ryan based on their private workouts.
The hottest vice presidential candidate in history? Seriously? What, no love for this guy?
I don’t see it. I like my vice presidential candidates a little less zombie-eyed and a little less willing to starve my grandma.
But if you’re into that sort of thing, I guess Ryan might be “hot.” Certainly Romney’s look-of-love facial expressions indicates that Paul Ryan is his one and only.
Look out, Anne. You might have some competition.
[cross-posted at ABLC]
Mitt Romney is still lying about Medicare — no surprise there. Also it is no surprise that Romney is now dog whistlin’ while he does it. It’s the southern strategy updated for the twenty-first century:
“What Paul Ryan and I have talked about is saving Medicare, is providing people greater choice in Medicare, making sure it’s there for current seniors. No changes, by the way, for current seniors, or those nearing retirement. But looking for young people down the road and saying, “We’re going to give you a bigger choice.” In America, the nature of this country has been giving people more freedom, more choices. That’s how we make Medicare work down the road.”
Get it? He is “robbing” Medicare. The black guy is stealing money from seniors! He is coming for your wallet!
Loath as I am to cite Politifact, they clearly explain why the current talking point about Obama cutting $500 billion from Medicare is a steaming pile of horseshit:
There’s a small bit of truth here. The Affordable Care Act does reduce Medicare spending by $500 billion over the next 10 years. But here’s the catch: Those dollars aren’t taken out of the current budget, they are not actual cuts, and nowhere does the bill actually eliminate any current benefits.
The $500 billion is all in future spending reductions and come through the law’s attempts to slow projected growth, not cut spending.
PolitiFact National has highlighted the biggest bits of savings: About $220 billion comes from reducing annual increases in Medicare payments to health care providers. Another $36 billion comes from increasing premiums for higher-income beneficiaries. Administrative changes land another $12 billion in savings. A new national board is set to come up with $15.5 billion in savings — but can’t get those savings from a reduction in benefits. The last big chunk of $136 billion comes in changes to the Medicare Advantage program, which has become more expensive than initially anticipated.
If all those numbers make your eyes glaze over like they do mine, the bottom line is this:
The $500 billion in cuts is not “robbing Medicare.” The cuts make an effort to end corporate welfare, which Republicans should like because Republicans hate welfare. (Oh wait… Republicans hate welfare only when Cadillac-driving baby-mamas are sticking their ashy hands into the white man’s pocket. When it comes to subsidies for insurance companies, Republicans look the other way. Typical.) The cuts also increase premiums for people who can afford it.
Contrary to Romney’s lies, the ACA does not steal money from seniors. In fact, there are no cuts to Medicare benefits. The cuts are on the provider side. So, for example, Michele Bachmann’s husband can no longer bill Medicare to cure people of The Gay.
The ACA ends unnecessary subsidies to insurance companies through a program called Medicare Advantage. Moreover, it wasn’t even an idea that just popped up during the Obama Administration. Democrats, specifically Henry Waxman, have been trying to expose this waste for years — since the Bush days. And at the time, Republicans complained that it would end up costing seniors through higher Medicare Advantage premiums, but it hasn’t. In fact Medicare Advantage premiums have gone down, as Ezra Klein explained last year.
[full-post at ABLC]
So Paul Ryan, eh? That’s who Romney is going with? Alrighty.
The Obama campaign is, of course, all over Romney/Ryan 2012 like brown on rice:
Jason Easley at PoliticusUSA nails it:
The interesting thing about Romney and Ryan’s speeches this morning is that they both tried to avoid talking about what Paul Ryan is famous for. They didn’t specifically mention the Ryan budget. They talked about preserving Medicare, while hoping that voters wouldn’t realize that they plan to save Medicare by killing it and turning it into a voucher system.
The Obama video and Messina’s statement both use Paul Ryan to tie Romney to the unpopular House, the policies of George W. Bush, the war on women, and privatizing Medicare and Social Security. It also reinforces the Obama campaign’s messages about Romney’s stance on the middle class, and his plan to give tax cuts for the wealthy while raising taxes on everyone else.
Instead of separating their candidate from the very unpopular congressional Republicans, the Romney campaign married them. The Romney campaign gave Democrats a message to deliver to those voters who are concerned about the Republican desire to gut Social Security and Medicare. The Ryan budget might be even more well known than Paul Ryan himself, so it a ridiculous for the Romney campaign to try to run away from the it.
After the Villagers stop wetting themselves about how Serious Paul Ryan is, it’s going to sink in that more than half the country hates Paul Ryan’s Serious Budget. and the GOP is going to realize they can’t win the election with the 27 percenters — unless…
The Republicans are going to have to set their Voter Suppression Phasers to eleventy in order to even have a shot. I mean, when Fox News is forced to report that Obama is up 9 points over Romney, you know shit is about to go down and the Romney campaign is not ready.
[via PoliticusUSA][cross-posted at ABLC]