So now we know who all the candidates will be in the November presidential election. It's Obama-Biden for the Democrats and Romney-Ryan for the Tea Party Republicans. Three months of listening to the Randian Ryan and the robot Romney. It's going to be a long autumn.
The two seem made for each other really. The inauthentic, espouse-any-position-to-win Romney and the phony baloney deficit fighter Ryan. Neither of them is a friend to truth.
Paul Krugman has written extensively over the last couple of years about the Ryan budget and about the phony math which drives it. He had another post about it on his blog today, wherein he opines that the selection of Ryan as vice-presidential candidate was really about "exploiting the gullibility and vanity of the news media, in much the same way that George W. Bush did in 2000."
"...it’s because many commentators want to tell a story about US politics that makes them feel and look good — a story in which both parties are equally at fault in our national stalemate, and in which said commentators stand above the fray. This story requires that there be good, honest, technically savvy conservative politicians, so that you can point to these politicians and say how much you admire them, even if you disagree with some of their ideas; after all, unless you lavish praise on some conservatives, you don’t come across as nobly even-handed.
"The trouble, of course, is that it’s really really hard to find any actual conservative politicians who deserve that praise. Ryan, with his flaky numbers (and actually very hard-line stance on social issues), certainly doesn’t. But a large part of the commentariat decided early on that they were going to cast Ryan in the role of Serious Honest Conservative, and have been very unwilling to reconsider that casting call in the light of evidence. "It's all about the inside-the-Beltway pundits who like to pretend that both parties are equally to blame for a dysfunctional government. They can't be bothered to actually sort out the story and tell the truth. They simply report "he said, he said" as though each side's statement was equally true and thus they can pretend to be even-handed. These lazy so-called journalists are one of the boils on the butt of our society.
In other coverage of the Ryan selection, Joan Walsh of Salon.com had a good column which, like Krugman's piece, pointed out the phoniness of the man. She started with a recitation of Ryan's many years as a recipient of government largesse.
"Paul Ryan was born into a well-to-do Janesville, Wisc. family, part of the so-called “Irish mafia” that’s run the city’s construction industry since the 19th century. When his lawyer father died young, sadly, the high-school aged Ryan received Social Security survivor benefits. But they didn’t go directly to supporting his family; by his own account, he banked them for college. He went to Miami University of Ohio, paying twice as much tuition as an Ohio resident would have; the in-state University of Wisconsin system (which I attended) apparently wasn’t good enough for Ryan. After his government-subsidized out-of-state education, the pride of Janesville left college and went to work for government, where he’s spent his entire career, first serving Republican legislators and then in his own Congressional seat..."Consider the hypocrisy of the man who wants "smaller government" and yet has been supported by that government for most of his life and who would destroy the Social Security system as well as Medicare. It's much like the hypocrisy of his idol Ayn Rand who was a recipient of Social Security benefits and Medicare after she became disabled. She would be so proud.
Walsh also points out that the Catholic Ryan received a rebuke from the nation’s ultra-conservative Catholic Bishops for his budget plan. The bishops, whose social consciences seem to be stuck somewhere in the Middle Ages, thought the plan so devastating to the poor and middle class that for the first time in memory they involved themselves in politics for reasons other than denying women freedom and promoting Republicans. When a budget is too draconian for these guys, you know it must be truly awful.
We don't really know much about what Romney would do as president, because he hasn't been inclined to tell us. Mostly he just gives his phony chuckle and says we should trust him because he's such a rich man and a successful capitalist. Of course, we'll never know just how successful he is because he'll never share those devastating tax returns that show him as a free-loader on society. But at last the curtain has been pulled aside just a bit and we get to see the kinds of decisions he might make as president. The selection of Ryan to be his running mate is a bright flashing warning: Voters beware!