The Paul Ryan Pick

Two things:

1. It’s really the best Romney could do. If it sounds like faint praise, well, it is, but the fault is neither Romney’s nor Ryan’s.  It’s the GOP’s, because its current bench of viable national players is pretty thin at this point. I mean, I looked at the list of VP prospectives and, with the exception of the possible positive optics of Marco Rubio, didn’t see a whole lot of there there. Pawlenty? Portman? I’m just going to go over here and take a nap. Governors Christie, McDonnell and Jindal are probably happy to sit out 2012 and prep for 2016 instead (or 2020, if it actually rolls that way), and other than that, who really is there for the GOP?

Some folks hinted toward Condi Rice, who, to be honest, I think would probably be an excellent VP. But she’s got the stink of the Bush Administration still on her, and anyway, the fact that she’s not safely married off to a man would probably freak out a lot of the GOP base. Given the field of whackjobs and dimwits that contested against Romney in the primaries, he couldn’t reasonably expect to tap one of them and not scare away every independent voter in the land (the one exception to this, Jon Huntsman, is a fellow LDS Church member, and I’m pretty sure an all-LDS ticket would sorely test those across the political spectrum for whom all they know of the LDS Church is what they saw on Big Love and that Broadway musical). So no love there.

With Ryan, Romney does himself no damage with GOP voters, and indeed quite the opposite: Ryan is well-liked in the party in general and also in Washington (where as I understand it even people who don’t share his politics find him to be a pleasant fellow to work with and be around). He has no major personal skeletons in the closet, and has solid conservative credentials. As the House Budget Committee chairman, and the author of a number of proposed budget plans, he is what passes for a serious thinker in the Republican Party these days. Ryan can help deliver Wisconsin to Romney, which is 10 electoral votes he’s going to need, and I suspect the thinking is that he might be able to put other parts of the Midwest into play as well, including Ohio, which right now is leaning Obama. And it signals to GOP voters that Romney — former Governor of the gayest commonwealth in the Union, who socialized medicine while he was in office there — is solidly behind the current conservative blueprints for the future of America. After all, Ryan is the architect of those blueprints, and those blueprints really do offer a solid contrast against what Obama has to offer (Romney maintains he is going to put together his own budget plan rather than run on Ryan’s, and I wish him the best of luck convincing anyone of that).

So, yes, Ryan really is the best Romney could have done. Now a substantial number of GOP voters will be voting for him (or at least for the ticket), rather than simply against Obama.

2. Ryan is the fellow that Obama’s used as a rope-a-dope punching bag at least a couple of times now because of his economic plans, and if you’re under the impression Obama’s not going to do it again, bigger and better than ever before, just you wait. There’s also the question of whether Ryan does anything to bring in independent and undecided voters in any way. I don’t think he does directly because generally speaking VP candidates don’t really do that except possibly in their own state, and he’ll only do it indirectly if voters twig to his economic plans, which will now be pressed to the forefront. That’s going to be a matter of selling, and of selling a vision that someone else (read: Obama and all the SuperPACs on his site of the divide) will be spending the next three months punching at, hard.

It’s going to be a challenge, in part because I suspect there’s a growing belief that the rich aren’t in fact holy job creators, nor would it invoke the end times if they were taxed a bit more, and partly because at the end of the day Obama is like Clinton and Reagan before him: A charismatic leader blessed with a leaden opponent. Nor is Ryan much help in that department. He may be likable but he’s not exactly charismatic; he comes across as the overly earnest sort who really believes what he believes and is sad and hurt when you don’t believe it with him. I suspect Biden is going to eat him alive in their debate. And in any event, even if Ryan had the charisma of Brad Pitt, he’s still not the fellow in the big chair; that’s Romney. Romney’s biggest problem is still Romney.

On a personal level, while I believe that Ryan is the best Romney could do under the circumstances, I think this suggests something not very good about the circumstances. I don’t think Ryan rises to Newt Gingrich levels of “a dumb person’s idea of a smart person,” but I have to admit being flummoxed by the amount of regard the GOP and conservatives have for his economic blueprints. Ryan has publicly distanced himself from Ayn Rand, whom he reportedly admired, which I think speaks well of him (if you consider Ayn Rand a serious political thinker rather than a philosophical and economic dilettante with a flair for potboilery prose, you get put into the “hasn’t quite grown up” category in my brain). His economic thinking, however, still bears the smudgy marks of the pseudo-objectivist doctrine that modern conservatives have, with its belief in the inherent malignancy of government and the inerrancy of private enterprise. His economic plans strike me as naïve at best and disingenuously meretricious at worst. That they are now the guiding star for the GOP’s plans for the US makes me want to get the lot of them into a doctor’s office to see if they are, as a class, suffering from hypoxia. Ryan would be the first into the examination room. I don’t doubt his sincerity, but I do doubt his good sense.

That said, I don’t see Ryan’s brand of economic thinking going anywhere anytime soon. More to the point, there’s nothing about Paul Ryan being elevated to Vice Presidential candidate that is anything but good for Ryan. If Romney wins, then quite obviously Ryan is going to have a nearly clear path to put his economic vision into effect. If Romney loses, no one in the GOP is going to blame Ryan or his economic plans for it; everyone will blame Romney for being a weak candidate and his team for not selling Ryan’s economic plan to the nation the way it should be been sold. Ryan goes back to the House (he doesn’t have to give up his seat unless Romney wins) a tragic conservative hero and positions himself, and his economic plan, for 2016. There’s not a whole lot of downside to this for Ryan.

At least on paper. It’ll be interesting to see how it works out for him, and for us, in the real world.

403 thoughts on “The Paul Ryan Pick

  1. To get ahead of this:

    Guys, if your immediate response to my comments to Ryan’s budget plans is some variation of “Yeah, but OBAMA’S IS WORSE” then please spare yourself the typing, because the subject isn’t Obama’s economic plan, it’s Ryan’s, and aside from that, Obama’s economic plan being crappy (if it is so) is no real excuse for Ryan’s being crappy, independently and as well.

    If on the other hand you want to say something along the line of “Scalzi, your characterization of Ryan’s economic plan is COMPLETELY WRONG and here’s why,” well, of course, that would be fine.

    Shorter version: The subject is Ryan, not Obama. Stick to the subject. Thank you.

  2. ” . . no one in the GOP is going to blame Ryan or his economic plans for it; everyone will blame Romney . . ”

    Yet another example of individuals failing conservatism, but conservatism never failing.

  3. I think Ryan is a good pick if for no other reason than the fact that there is now a higher probability that the focus will be on the economy and the nations economic future.

    And Ryan has a terrific ability to make the case for limited government, individual freedom and capitalism. He did a great job in that regard today and I expect more of the same in the future.

    Further I think Biden will be no match for Ryan in the debate(s).

    All in al I agree with the judgement proposed by scalzi but not the opinion.

    Ryan I believe will make clear the distinction between the two opposing visions and make a good case for my side.

    Then it’s up to the voters to decide what they want.

    That’s all one can ask from an election

  4. I know the subject is Ryan but I have nothing to say about him.
    My comment is about your blog. I love your blog and love how by opening it today I found out who Romney picked. :) I subscribe in email.
    You didn’t say when he picked Ryan. Did I miss news last night or this morning?;) I wish them luck but if I vote, I’m still going to vote Obama.

    I like your books on audible.com and Will Wheaton is a great narrator.

  5. I actually disagree slightly with how this affects the ticket: I think Ryan’s presence puts his economics front and center and will thus increase the level and intensity of the virtiol directed at Republicans beyond where it is now (all justified of course). Romney won’t be able to get out from under ‘The Plan’. He’s just given the oppostion another club (nails stuck through it) to beat him with.

  6. But the subject by choosing Ryan *IS* the Obama economic plan – which is “borrow money until our eyes bleed and don’t worry about the consequences”. I will note that this was also de facto the Bush 43 plan. The doubling of the Federal gov’t. spending since Clinton left office is the real concern (US inflation since then is about 40%). I agree with John that the “taxes are the devil” is unrealistic – but if given the choice of voting for the group that says they will try to control spending and the group that doesn’t I lean toward the group that says they will – even when I believe that Obama will still win and that Congress will keep spending money they don’t have. I would rather see Ryan saying “let’s freeze spending”.

  7. While I haven’t agreed with everything in any of Ryan’s budgets, I like the fact that he tried to start having a conversation rather than just pointing elsewhere and saying, “Not that!” It seems that so much of what passes for discourse in the political arena these days (on both sides) is simply posturing and saying why the other side is wrong, but fewer and fewer leaders appear to be willing to expose themselves by putting what they believe to be a viable option out for discussion. Even fewer seem to be willing to actually discuss, let alone (God forbid!) negotiate. Whether I supported his proposals or not, I admire the fact that Ryan was at least willing to put himself and his ideas out there, was willing to risk being the punching bag that you describe, rather than just saying, “Not that,” and moving on.

    That having been said – yeah, he’s not setting the world on fire to be sure.

  8. Well, it locks in the Ayn Rand fanatic vote, but also locks out people who think Ayn Rand is about the worst thing since sliced things. Expect to see a lot of Randites bandied back and forth, which is a total distraction from the way Ryan wants the economy handled. He’s really further along from where Bush or even Cheney was on the budget, in terms of destroying anything like welfare for the poor. He’s much further on record than Romney is in pushing the “Cadillac driving welfare mom” meme that conservatives loves so much

    Nuns dont like Paul Ryan either. Heh.

  9. Geez, why does the GOP hate Paul Ryan?

    “Once there were two brothers. One ran away to sea; the other was elected Vice President of the United States. And nothing was heard of either of them again.” – Thomas Marshall, 28th Vice-President of the United States, under Woodrow Wilson

  10. As our host brought up on twitter, who announces a VP pick on a Saturday at 9 am? And during the Olympics? What’s the logic here? Why not wait until the convention?

    I would have gone with one of the other dull white guys. I think Ryan puts some fear into the AARP set and they’re one of the few segments of the population who is sure to vote.

    I have started noticing some Bash Obama on the Budget ads, so maybe they were prepping us for the Ryan plan.

  11. I have to admit, this pick is a surprise to me: I expected him to pick Mike Huckabee. Setting aside the issue of religion (which I think many GOP voters in swing states won’t), Huckabee would have been a charismatic contrast to Romney in the way that Sarah Palin was, but is seasoned enough to interview and debate well, and not “go rogue”.

    “More to the point, there’s nothing about Paul Ryan being elevated to Vice Presidential candidate that is anything but good for Ryan.’

    I think that this is true to the extent that there is not a lot of INHERENT downside to the pick. Ryan is now going to step onto a very large public stage, and very earnest intelligent people don’t always do so well in that situation. “Gaffe-prone” is Washington-speak for “accidentally says what he thinks from time to time” and while Romney’s campaign is going to insist on some discipline from their VP candidate, I think he’s going to have a very hard time not sharing whatever clever thing just popped into his head. I think that there’s inherently a limit to the damage that can be done by being merely gaffe-prone, but we’re looking at fairly slim margins for victory here, and the Ryan pick seems intended to deepen rather than broaden appeal: he’s going to be under a lot of pressure to stay safe and sober and not make waves.

  12. John, if this science fiction thing doesn’t work out, you really should go into political commentary. I think you articulated exactly what my personal thoughts were on Ryan.

    Personally, I think this really hurts Romney in the long run for exactly the same reasons why the GOP wanted him on the ticket…to make this about an ‘issue’ rather than just a personality test (which if latest polls were to be believed, Romney is losing). The GOP desperately wants this to be about the economy and about the way forward spending, taxation, and deficit wise..and frankly I do not fault them for it. It is the conversation that we all should be having this cycle. The problem is that the majority of Americans (independants and Dems, the medicare/medicaid changes are not going to play well with Seniors regardless of which party; this is going to be a huge issue in Florida, a state that the GOP cannot afford to go Dem – the Dems are currently leading there poll-wise) are not going to want what they are selling (i.e. The Ryan plan which Romney now owns lock stock and barrel).

    More than anything else, this is the true ideological blind-spot of the GOP this cycle is that they are preaching the right thing but in such a no compromise take no prisoners fashion, that they ignore the obvious problems with their plan and thus turn off people that would otherwise be allies. They are incapable of seeing anymore how anyone could possibly disagree with their solution unless they are a liberal socialist secret Muslim. All in all, I think they would have better off going with Rubio and play the electoral strategy shoring up game rather than turning this campaign into an idea which is ultimately going to cost them the Election.

  13. Rice and Rubio, however good they would have been as VP picks, were never going to happen because there is no real upside. The number of Romney voters who would approve of either choice is much smaller than the number who would faint in horror at the idea of One Of Those People on the ticket, and independent voters would likely see it as pandering.

    Which is pathetic, because Rice is probably more qualified to be POTUS than, well, anybody on the current 2016 slate I can think of offhand. But she’s not safely attached to a man, she’s black and she’s a woman. That does not play well to the base.

  14. i was reading the wikipedia entry on Ryan (yeah, yeah, but have a heart — I live in the east coast and as a 24 year old with two jobs it’s kind of the best I can do to stay up to date) and I have to say, last night talking to my guy about it, my reaction was pretty much “This guy is the best they can do? The guy known only for what appear to be (to me) ragingly silly economic plans? I mean, really, basing everything on stripping spending to the bone and still raising taxes and that wouldn’t even balance the budget because of the tax cuts to the rich… leave aside the fact that it’s kind of morally wrong, it won’t work! You’ll never get congress to get rid of Medicare.”

  15. @ Chris – my thoughts were the same as yours, on both our Gracious Host’s possible future as a political commentator (hey, John, I hear that Time may have an opening coming up…) and in your thoughts about Rubio.

  16. @ mythago – I’m with you there. Condi seems to me to have been one of the strongest, best-qualified people for the Big Chair. It’s sad that the things you point out make her easy to demagog when you would think that they SHOULD make her a stronger candidate.

  17. It reminds me of the “lesser of two evils – vote for Cthulu” meme that goes around. Overall, I find Ryan a cosmically huge step up from Sarah Palin. But the only thing I really know about him is his proposed economic plan, which I think you nailed: naive. It also, to my mind, alienates the older vote with the dramatic changes to Medicare.

  18. @Frank:

    …there is now a higher probability that the focus will be on the economy and the nations economic future.

    Not really. Not only was that the only focus of this election already, but adding Ryan to ticket now maens the focus will be the Ryan Plan, which is a much easier target than Romney’s “common sense business experience” plan, which hasn’t exactly been working great for him so far.

    Ryan has a terrific ability to make the case for limited government, individual freedom and capitalism.

    I don’t know that you or I are good people to judge this, since you’re already behind the idea, and I think Ryan’s ideas are Objectivist nonsense. :-)

    I think Biden will be no match for Ryan in the debate(s).

    Again, not really. Joe Biden’s debating skill has never really been called into question. He’s been around the block quite a few more times than that. It’s Biden’s extemporaneous speaking that has made for late-night TV fodder. And Ryan seems to have an unfortunate ability to get easily blind-sided. Scalzi retweeted a profile of Ryan recently where it seems to have happened to him at least 3 times in the last 5 years.

    Ryan I believe will make clear the distinction between the two opposing visions and make a good case for my side.

    I thought the role of the VP candidate was to reinforce the distinctions already made by the Presidential candidate. I realize that a not-insignificant number of people voted against Sarah Palin in ’08, but would that have truly mattered if McCain had run a more compelling campaign for himself?

  19. Ironically, I could have voted for a Huntsman/Rice ticket. But I agree that neither one are the sort of modern iconoclastic celebrity the GOP and Democrats alike float as Executive Office material.

    @ John P. Murphy

    I have to admit, this pick is a surprise to me: I expected him to pick Mike Huckabee.

    Huckabee’s got more name recognition, but the GOP wants to make this election as much about the economy as they can, and Ryan helps them do that.

    All in all, Ryan’s a good pick for them if he and Romney can do a better job of selling his economic plan. What I suspect will happen, though, is that Romney will answer every criticism of the plan with a harp on Obama’s economic track record, which will only really preach to the Republican choir. Romney just isn’t much of a convincer. Republicans nominated him because he’s safe to run, but safe won’t unseat a reasonably charismatic incumbent unless said incumbent does something phenomenally stupid in the next three months.

    Re: Ayn Rand

    I had a conversation with the roommate of a friend in college about Ayn Rand. When I discovered we’d both read Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, I mentioned that she had a gift for characterization and was the only author I knew that make a soliloquy tens of pages long readable. The other person expressed his disgust with Ayn Rand. I asked him what exactly he disliked about her writing. He replied that Objectivism was amateur hour philosophy, to which I responded something to the effect of you mean you took her philosophy seriously?!

  20. @Jack Lint. My personal theory on why they released it now is they are trying to sneak it into the mainstream quietly so no one notices the change. Everyone comes back from the Olympics, or whatever summer vacation they’ve got going, and the news is talking about this average looking guy in a suit as VP-candidate, so they just thinks its part of the regular political landscape without having noticed the freaky stuff in his background. Trying to make new news become old news in a hurry, so pre-empt political satire shows. Although, frankly, if you have to sneak in the second most important member of your team then that says something pretty bad in itself.

    I think the real reason that Condi Rice wasn’t chosen is just out and out racism, with a side order of misogyny though. They’ve fired up the base about getting rid of Obama because of his race (yeah, they’ve not come flat out and admitted it, but that has been the implication in a lot of their stuff), and they are putting a black woman as VP? Never going to happen. A lot of the right would balk at the thought of another black president, if something happened, and this one would be a woman too (when Hilary was trying to get the Democratic ticket, the narrative was going to be anti-woman President)! They are trapped by their own narrative against Obama on this one.

  21. I love it when a writer sends me clicking to the dictionary. I should have known the word hypoxia before this. Thank you for dropping it into my vocabulary.

  22. I’ve heard Ryan speak many times in the past and every time he has been an affable and articulate speaker who is quite able to communicate the principles of economic conservatism. I haven’t known him to be a gaffer and he also manages to explain things without getting folks lost in the weeds.

    If he does what I think he’s capable of doing, then my position on these matters will be well represented and I’ll feel I’ve had my say in public discourse. I also happen to believe that it is the winning argument but we’ll let folks decide that in November.

    I look for the president to try harder than ever to change the subject and more scurrilous personal attacks will be forthcoming.

    But I could be wrong

  23. As a supporter of Obama, I’m incredibly happy with this news for many of the reasons you pointed out and a few others, especially Ryan’s deficit, big government hypocrisy.

    That is, Ryan’s a conservative socially (and hammered by Catholic organizations that, you know, care about the poor), but his brand is economic conservatism–which makes his lifelong work in government bringing home earmarks to Janesville all the more hypocritical. (By contrast, we could make fun of Palin’s Bridge to Nowhere, but she had this whole other social conservatism to fall back on. With Ryan, all he has is the economics and he voted for everything that expanded the deficit in the last decade, from Medicare Part D (which no one likes but pharm companies) to TARP.)

  24. Although I plan to cast my vote for Romney and Ryan, I wouldn’t characterize your analysis of Ryan’s economic plan as being entirely inaccurate. I think, though, that it will play well in an election year in which there is so much concern about the deficit and government spending. Also, it’s important to remember that even if Ryan were the presidential nominee, he wouldn’t be able to implement a pure form of his grandest ideas. Whatever form of them might eventually emerge (say, in the case of President Ryan in 2021) will be significantly watered down. The welfare state is not going away anytime soon.

    @Mythago: “The number of Romney voters who would approve of either choice is much smaller than the number who would faint in horror at the idea of One Of Those People on the ticket…”

    Appealing to the race card in order to smear Republicans is not only intellectually lazy and trite, but transparent and inconsistent with the facts. Hermann Cain, Kenneth Blackwell, Condi Rice…All of these GOP African-Americans have broad support among the Republican faithful. Based on his polling numbers at the time, there is strong evidence for the argument that Herman Cain would have taken the GOP nomination had his campaign not imploded.

  25. @Todd

    Define “broad support”, because this:

    there is strong evidence for the argument that Herman Cain would have taken the GOP nomination had his campaign not imploded

    isn’t particularly compelling insofar as it was true of every candidate in the GOP field, with the exception of Mitt Romney.

  26. The Ryan pick shores up the extreme right wing (the base of the GOP these days), whose muttering against Romney in the past few weeks has been getting louder and louder. The costs to the Romney campaign are higher, over the long run. Romney has been running a campaign that was meant to be a referendum on Obama, and not a campaign of policy differences. Romney has been up to this point very careful to not mention specific policies at all, where he could get away with it. The Ryan choice forces policy to the forefront, since Romney is now saddled with the ridiculous Ryan budget proposals. It also leaves the Republicans with the weakest foreign policy ticket since War II.

    The Village will be astonished and delighted with Romney’s “bold choice” for a few weeks, just as they were with Palin. Just like Palin, though, there’s no there there when it comes to Ryan. He’s a Republican policy wonk who has a thin skin, no real experience on the national stage, and has been in politics all his life. That last point is one of Romney’s criticisms of Obama. Is he just going to elide that?

    This isn’t a good choice for Romney: all it does is help cover his ass with a party that seems more and more to be suffering buyer’s remorse prior to the convention.

  27. Paul Ryan will energize the Republican conservative base far better than Romney can, and will bring in libertarians into the fold. I’m not convinced that he’ll help any with moderate independents, although I’m sure many moderate independents are worried about the $1 trillion/year deficit. Romney and Ryan’s economic plans are both “cut the federal government”, but both avoid naming specific parts of the government to get cut because they know that once they get specific, they’ll get hammered on the details. Of all the potential VP candidates, Ryan is one of the few that is likely to guarantee that he will switch his swing state to go definitely for Romney.

    I took a quick look at Ryan’s own summary of his “Path to Prosperity” plan, and the Medicare / healthcare portion seems to be rather simplistic and naïve. Ryan wants to switch from the current partly single-payer Medicare system to a voucher system because somehow the free market system with lots of small risk pools can keep the costs down better than one large risk pool. He also makes a big deal about the Obamacare “Independent Payment Advisory Board” (IPAB), which is recommending which procedures are cost-effective is going to provide worse, less effective and costlier care than letting us layman decide what medical care is appropriate. Personally, I think the recent trend of outcome based fees (as opposed to the usual fee for service) will do more for keeping healthcare costs down than any voucher system. Oh, and going to the free market voucher system just means that instead of a single IPAB publicly deciding what’s covered, you’ll get hundreds of insurance companies making the same determinations, in private, and they’re not going to tell you up-front what those decisions were when you choose them to be your insurance company.

  28. I disagree with the assertion that Ryan intended ‘to start a conversation’ with his budget proposal. He had a chance of having a conversation before he bailed on the budget commission and created a Randian dog whistle of a document that was never designed to be serious or fiscally responsible. It was never meant to be seriously considered. It was an opportunistic play to advance his career at a time when the Tea Party types seemed assendent. Like Romney he’ll flip as it meets his immediate needs.

  29. @Todd: Wait, I thought one plays the race card. Now one appeals to the race card? Did it gain sentience when nobody was paying attention?

    Also, I’m a Republican. Break that down into little pieces before you feed it into your gearbox; you’ve got such a nice output of “our team GOOD! their team BAD!” flowing, I’d hate to create a jam.

    You really want to argue that the idea of a racist demographic in the GOP base is a myth? That takes a certain balls-out willingness to ignore the facts. Protip: that willingness is great for an intellectual circle jerk; not so great at convincing anyone other than the faithful that you’re right.

    *And other bigots; I note that you slid right past all of the other political objections to Dr. Rice.

  30. Todd, I would agree with the race card being distasteful and really not super pertinent to the conversation at hand, but it is not necessarily intellectually lazy. I would argue that Cain, West, Blackwell and the rest of the GOP African Americans are more accepted because of the ideas that they espouse (which in the case of Cain and West were from the deepest reaches of the far right pysche). Rice on the other hand who has preached moderation on a number of issues has not been immune from some racist fun-time arguments from the Tea Party types. I have many GOP friends (I am more of a center-left type with notable divergences on Capital Punishment and other issues) that are socially progressive types that would never dream of denigrating a person for race or creed, but unfortunately I do think that as long as the GOP focuses on it’s base of the Rich and the White Working Class – primarily southern, in the background racism will always be a factor. Demographically, this will present a problem over the long haul for the GOP.

    But back to the Ryan optics, I actually think that the Obama campaign is going to love this turn of the events. Poll-wise, much like Palin, there will be a poll-rise as the base gets energized about the choice. But drawing someone from the ‘ideological warrior’ caste of one of the most despised institutions in America (Congress) was a poor move, particularly when the cutting edge of GOP politic class right now is at the State Level (Bobby Jindal, Scott Walker, Mitch Daniels, Marco Rubio).

  31. Looks like Mitt’s unashamedly solidifying the greedy white guy vote. Which seems like a questionable election strategy, to me. Demographically speaking, said dudes are way outnumbered. Surely, they can’t be counting on Obama hatred and voter suppression alone to carry the election?

  32. @Mythago: There are also gays in the GOP. (Ever heard of the Log Cabin Republicans?) But I think we can agree (and I believe that John will back me on this one) that the Log Cabin Republicans don’t represent the GOP mainstream.

    There are individual racists who vote Republican…and there are also individual racists who vote Democrat. (Check your history: Most of those Klansmen who you see in movies like Mississippi Burning were *Democrats.*) So what’s your point?

    The GOP mainstream is arguably socially conservative, fiscally conservative and (to nod to Scalzi’s point) reactionary in their opposition to government. But racist? Where does that appear anywhere in the GOP platform?

    And having read your posts here over the years, I have a *very* hard time believing that you’re a Republican…But I’ll stop short of calling that gambit an opportunistic falsehood.

  33. Hmm? You think Ayn Rand had a flair for prose? …err. Her politics make a lot more sense to me than her droning polemics, but suit yourself.

    Can’t see anyone but Obama winning this round, regardless of your feelings about the Demopublicans and Republicrats, but your writing is generally entertaining.

  34. Oh, Todd…

    Are you suggesting that the number of gay Republicans is equal (or even similar) to the number of racist Republicans?

    Have you really never heard of the Southern Strategy? Are you completely unaware of how the Republican and Democratic parties swapped positions on the liberal-conservative spectrum over the course of the 20th century? Have you really never heard of “Dixiecrats”?

    Are you suggesting that no one can be racist unless they say “Hey, everybody! I’m racist!”?

    And finally, who do you think you’re fooling? You did, in fact, just unambiguously call Mythago a liar.

  35. I see two downsides to Ryan.
    1. Romney has been trying to make this a referemdum on Obama (“He tried really hard, but failed. It’s time to give someone else the job”). Now it will be about differing future visions (“We want the government out of everything, shrink it until you can drown it in the bathtub. Tax cuts for the rich. Who’s with me!?”)
    2. Romney has been able to be extraordinarily vague in his proposed economic/financial policies, the entire basis of his campaign to date (“I’m going to cut taxes and shrink government and spend boatloads more on defense. And also balance the budget and shrink the deficit. I don’t need to get into that numbers thing, though. Trust me on this–it’ll work.”) With Ryan–generally acknowledged to be the preeminent Republican budget wonk, their head numbers guy–it will be impossible for him to avoid getting into specifics. The overheard quote earlier this year that’s been at the heart of his message, something along the lines of “I can’t say what I would cut because then people wouldn’t vote for me” just won’t play when standing besides him is the master of Republican budget numbers.

  36. I tend to agree with the notion that this selection just wrote off Florida and much of mainstream America.

    It will increase the dialogue about just how fiscally irresponsible we can be before extremely bad things happen which is needful (read “Our Big Fat Greek Habit” here for some pointed facts: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443659204577575002944563574.html) but in terms of a viable ticket, this team is weak. The greatest weakness is, and has always been, Romney himself as he is “Democrat-Lite” and in no way a fiscal hawk.

    The Republicans need to do two things: first, they need to stop playing the Democrats’ game. They can’t run on “Obama is weak” and they can’t run on “We’re not socialists” because neither is true. Republicans need to develop excellence on their own, not by comparison to anything the Dems do because that only emphasizes that the Dems are, in fact, trying to do things.

    The second thing they need to do is get out of peoples’ bedrooms. A lot of Americans see the parties thus: one wants to get into their wallets, take cash and throw it around to buy votes, and the other wants to get into their bedrooms to regulate personal behavior to get votes from the fundamentalists. Judging from recent elections, one of these is less repugnant than the other, but if the Republicans simply got out of peoples’ bedrooms, their message regarding our imminent financial ruin would be much clearer and harder to ignore. Then the Dems would be on the defensive and would no longer be able to claim they are champions of personal freedom. The dialogue could be shifted to: just how much is okay to take from people? That would rock the Dems back on their heels.

    Also, Mr. S suggests by implication that government is not “inherently malignant.” I am curious about this notion. Hasn’t every government in history ultimately failed and collapsed? Haven’t most of them done so at great expense and harm to their people? While government is a necessary evil to solve the infamous “problem of the commons” wasn’t this country founded upon a system of checks and balances to try to prevent the inevitable expansion and transformation of government into an overlord?

  37. What surprises me so much is how incredibly stupid the press is in relation to the Ryan budget. I was watching CNN and they had a conservative commentator defending the plan saying that if we don’t do something about Medicare, it will be bankrupt in 12 years and some are even predicting 4 years and not one person pointed out that the Ryan plan would not take effect for 10 years! Since anyone older than 55 stays in the current system, about 1/2 of the baby boomers, who are the main problem, will be in the old system, anyway. The day it takes effect, only a tiny percentage of senior citizens will be on the plan and it will take years before it makes a dent.

    Medicare and Medicaid need fixing. That takes hard decisions that will not be popular. The Republican strategy has been to block grant money or give vouchers and let someone else make the decisions. How is that courageous?

  38. Doc RocketScience: “Have you really never heard of “Dixiecrats”?”

    As in Strom Thurmond? Sure…I also know that most of the Dixiecrats are either in old-age homes or dead at this point, considering that the movement goes back to 1964, when the most virulent opposition to the Civil Rights Act was to be found within the *Democratic Party*.

    Based on this post, as well as your previous one, you seem determined to promote the groupthink/DailyKos mantra that Republican Party = racism, without any regard to those troublesome lithe things called facts. You assert this despite the *facts* that a.) no such plank appears in the GOP platform, and b.) the GOP hierarchy includes numerous African-Americans, including those named above and others.

    I suppose your next argument will be along the lines of “yes, but Herman Cain isn’t a *real* African-American”

    Please, spare us….

  39. “I don’t doubt his sincerity, …”

    Well, I do. This is a man who ordered his aides to read Ayn Rand but jettisoned her the moment his lifelong admiration for her (problematic in itself, for the reasons you adduce) became a liability. This is the man who wants to get rid of the Social Security safety net that he himself used to get his education after his father died. That’s called “pulling up the ladder after yourself” — or perhaps “selfish ingratitude” is a better phrase. I might have more respect for him if he offered to repay me and the other millions of taxpayers for his education, according to his own stated ideals of not “mooching” off the sweat of others, but I’m not holding my breath.

  40. Oh hey, Ryan ditched Rand after he discovered she was an Atheist? Golly. That’s loyalty for you. So it looks like ti’s not the economics hat bugs Ryan about Rand, but the atheism. Looks like in Ryan’s world, atheist = bad horrible no good person.

    He’s keeping the economics and hared of government programs to help the poor, though.

    But he is clean and articulate.

  41. I had never heard the name Paul Ryan before. In reading up on him, he’s ultra pro-life. Which, while I respect that point of view, means that I will be actively voting against him. When it’s just Bob on the street who feels that way, I’m good with it. To each their own. When it’s a guy who wants to – and can and will – legislate away my choices, I am no longer good with it.

    I’m meh on Obama after being a big proponent of his 4 years ago. I was almost equally meh on Romney. Now? This is one woman who will be in line as soon as the polls open. So, mission accomplished as far as getting out the vote goes, I guess.

  42. when the most virulent opposition to the Civil Rights Act was to be found within the *Democratic Party*.

    And when the Civil Rights Act was signed, all those virulent racists happily moved into the Republican Party and took the South with them. Thus the racism of the current GOP.

  43. Folks, let’s not drift into discussions about the politics of half a century ago, please. Let’s keep it focused on the subject, which is Paul Ryan.

  44. Todd, you’re trying to generate a false equivalence by pointing to the Dixiecrats and the pre-Southern Strategy Democratic Party as evidence that the modern Democratic Party is just as racist as the modern Republican Party, where all the Dixiecrats ran to in the 1960s and ’70s. That position’s not really a winner.

    And you’re still suggesting that unless and until a politician gets in front of a microphone to exclaim “I hate darkies!” no one is allowed to point out said politician’s racist positions and actions. Bullshit.

    You have managed to name three Black Republicans, but your choices are odd. Ken Blackwell I’ll grant – he is in a position to influence policy directly. The question becomes, what exactly will he do to change both the perception and reality of GOP racism (which would be a good thing), and how will that go over with the party’s rand-and-file? Michael Steele had even more power than Blackwell (or at least, a higher profile), but that didn’t exactly pan out particularly well for him. Dr. Rice, on the other hand, has largely removed herself from an active role in the Republican Party of late, which is curious, don’t you think? As for Cain, he’s absolutely a “real African-American”. He’s even a real Republican. What he is not is a real politician.

  45. *sigh* I wish the Preview button could refresh the comments page, too. I also wish I had a pony.
    Sorry, John, dropping it now.

  46. Folks, let’s not drift into discussions about the politics of half a century ago, please.

    This seems to me, to pick a universal example, like wanting to discuss the current state of Canadian federal politics while frowning on discussion of the Trudeau years. Since the second led directly to the first, it seems almost inevitable that the second would come up in discussions of the first.

  47. The logic seems to be that Ryan will help win Ohio more than Rubio would have helped win Florida.

    But I don’t see it. I think that with this choice Romney has sacrificed Florida, a state he needs much more than Obama does. If Obama takes Florida it may not matter whether Romney takes Ohio or not.

    Throw in Rubio’s charisma and Ryan is an odd, odd pick, assuming, you know, that they want to win.

  48. If some football programs kept playing by the old playbook while others used more advanced and proven techniques, who is going to come out on top?

  49. The whole appeal of Republicanism these days is a flat-out mystery to me. “Remember those policies we followed from 2000-2008? Yes, the ones that crashed the economy. We want to go back to them and — you’ll love this — do them EVEN HARDER!”

  50. If this moves the conversation to concrete plans and serious proposals, I’m all for it. I’m so sick of the Go Team! brand of political discourse.

    Also, i’m probably one of the greedy white guys and there’s little chance me voting for Romney.

  51. “inherent malignancy of government and the inerrancy of private enterprise” – this kind of exaggeration and misrepresentation is so typical. Libertarians simply prefer the voluntary to the compulsory. People in government aren’t inherently malignant, but the means – the monopoly on violence – is. Private enterprise isn’t inerrant – not even close – but nobody is forced to buy & what works will tend to rise to the top. It is entirely rational to prefer the voluntary to the compelled.

  52. If one believes that the mountains of cash that companies have been sitting on over the last 1-2 years have not been used to hire new employees because of things like Obamacare, then electing R&R is just the ticket, since Ryan is committed to repealing Obamacare, privatizing Medicare, cutting corporate income tax, and cutting federal spending.

  53. I agree with the earlier comment “there goes Florida” and not just for the issue with Ryan’s re-work of Medicare. People near or at retirement are not interested in Wall Street doing to their Social Security what it did to the economy in 2008 if that is privatized. No upside for women here either; he’s the guy who put forth the ‘person-hood’ amendment which basically criminalizes some forms of birth control and I’m not referring to abortion. He may be attractive to some Independents (if he weren’t so hellbent on taking personal freedoms away). I think even a Libertarian would look at Gary Johnson before Ryan because although Ryan has fiscal Libertarian leanings, his social opinions are a disaster.

  54. One of my Twitter follows said something like (I can’t find it now) “Better double down on that voter-suppression strategy, Mitt, because you just lost any moderates who might have voted for you.”

    I would say that anyone who endorses the Ryan budget plan cannot be reasonably called a moderate, even if they profess themselves undecided on the POTUS race.

    John P. Murphy, while Ryan is a bad man in many, many ways, Huckabee is actually a bona fide fascist. I do not use that term lightly: he has said he wishes all Americans could be forced at gunpoint to listen to…do you even care what? But it’s to David Barton’s lies about Jefferson etc. Huckabee is on the whacko-loonie list, too obviously.

    Louann: The whole appeal of Republicanism these days is a flat-out mystery to me. “Remember those policies we followed from 2000-2008? Yes, the ones that crashed the economy. We want to go back to them and — you’ll love this — do them EVEN HARDER!”

    I have nothing to add to this. I just wanted to see it again.

  55. James Davis Nicoll:

    And yet, a discussion of Dixiecrats is completely inessential to this conversation! So there you have it. Also, you know. My house, my rules.

  56. Bruce: If one believes that the mountains of cash that companies have been sitting on over the last 1-2 years have not been used to hire new employees because of things like Obamacare, then electing R&R is just the ticket, since Ryan is committed to repealing Obamacare, privatizing Medicare, cutting corporate income tax, and cutting federal spending.

    True. And if one believes that elephants can fly if they just flap their ears hard enough (obviously easier for African elephants than for Asian ones), then R&R are a good choice because they really are the best alternative for people who will believe anything.

    You could have picked an example that made more sense, like the uncertainties about the economy generally, the doubtful US credit rating because of the Tea Party loonies not raising the debt ceiling, etc…but those mostly reflect poorly on Congress, especially the House, and in particular Paul Ryan, and that really wouldn’t support your point, now would it?

  57. I’m not at all surprised at Romney picking Ryan. He really had no choice, in the end. I’m also not surprised that initial polls show increased enthusiasm by conservatives; this campaign has been characterized by short-term upticks every time a new actor comes on the scene, and/or cycling through enthusiasm for one actor after another.

    Ryan is young and photogenic, and has a reputation for being a “thinker” among the conservative base, but the conservative base is white, working-class men with no post-high school education. Thus Ryan’s various budgets and plans–which have been mostly notable for being short, heavily illustrated, in large type, using small words, and no actual math–went over well with that base, liberals lost their words in disbelief, right up until the mocking started. IIRC, even our host once went off on the ridiculousness of one of these docs.

    On the other hand, likely female voters already know Paul Ryan’s politics, for the most part, and we really, really don’t care for them. Those female voters who don’t know his record–on issues from fair pay, to domestic violence, to family planning–soon will. While there certainly are anti-choice, male-supremecist women in America, they are so much in the minority that they don’t count, demographically.

    In re bringing home Wisconsin for Romney, I think this is unlikely. WI voters are reporting an uptick, right now, but I give it about another 20 minutes before the shadow of Scott Walker starts to dampen the glow. VP picks arguably provide only a point or two in their home states, Reagan being the last to provide significant votes.

    Finally, unless Ryan has grown up a bit since April ’11, I expect the media to get plenty of material once the full weight of the Fourth Estate descends on him. Romney’s campaign has already come under fire for being pissy to the media, and dodging questions they don’t want to answer. Ryan has stomped out of more than one event to deliver a tantrum, and has a history of throwing constituents out of town halls–even having them arrested–for asking questions he doesn’t like. I’m sure the Obama campaign will take advantage of Ryan having a 55-year-old Veteran clapped in handcuffs for asking about Social Security. Those optics are not great.

    The VP debate will be interesting, though. I expect Biden will be entertaining, and Ryan will be earnest. Both sides will declare “our guy won, w00t!” and it won’t make a bit of difference, unless one of them sprouts wings, horns, a tail, and starts eating babies alive, on stage.

  58. @ Louann
    The whole appeal of Republicanism these days is a flat-out mystery to me. “Remember those policies we followed from 2000-2008? Yes, the ones that crashed the economy. We want to go back to them and — you’ll love this — do them EVEN HARDER!”

    To be fair to Romney though, he probably looked at the UK and realised that that was exactly what happened there and they got a Conservative administration elected. Although how he is ignoring that double-dip recession because of those policies, while the US is undergoing a modest recovery, is another question entirely.

  59. Condi is on record as not being interested in VP (not that that generally means much). Bigger problem; many folks (myself included) think she may have voted for Obama in 2008. She’s very impressive, though she was very unsuccessful in her last government job.

  60. @ KIA and (by extrapolation) Constance – amen that the GOP needs to get the heck out of everyone’s bedroom and place of worship (that last my addition). It’s frustrating to me that any talk of fiscal conservatism – and I’m not talking specifically Ryan here, but just about anyone who wants to discuss reducing any social program – can immediately be lumped in with the religious right. It totally derails any thoughtful conversation on the subject.

    And it’s frustrating all by itself that they all seem to think that they have the right to be in our places of worship and our bedrooms.

  61. Both sides will declare “our guy won, w00t!” and it won’t make a bit of difference, unless one of them sprouts wings, horns, a tail, and starts eating babies alive, on stage.

    If Ryan does that, the GOP right wing will laud him as “strong” and “making the tough decisions.”

  62. Dr. Rice’s main disqualification IMO is being associated with Bush’s political agenda. That, more than any other item, would cause me to frown at her inclusion on a GOP ticket. She has been working rather quietly of late and done nothing to pop herself onto the radar in any large way.

    Ryan, however, is noted for his association with Gov. Walker’s union-busting efforts, and trying to balance Wisconsin’s budget in large part on the backs of the public unions. Except of course for the police and firefighters, who might actually prove useful to him, rather than those second rate teachers, pfui! While union power and membership has been shrinking in recent years, they are still one of the largest blocs that predominantly votes Dem. For that reason, I can see why the GOP wants someone attached to their ticket who has a reputation for depowering those pesky Democrat voters.

  63. I would respect libertarians more if they did not come off as a bunch of white academics fighting for the corporate right to exploit workers and customers without pesky interruptions from the Government. If Ayn Rand had stayed in the Soviet Union instead of defecting, would any of them have come up with their ideas themselves, though?

  64. Two posters in a row used the word ‘pesky’, and I don’t think they coordinated with each other. I find this delightful. (NB: I have not used it in this post; I have mentioned it, which is different.)

  65. I agree with Scalzi. I think that Ryan is about the best they could have hoped for, but he will energize no one. Anyone that truly likes the pick will have already been voting for the Republican ticket. For an independent like me, it’s a non-starter. Not great; not awful. Ultimately, maybe Marco Rubio would have been a better pick.

  66. I have to say that my first reaction upon seeing this news was to say to my husband, “If Romney/Ryan wins this November, we need to be able to leave the country. Start looking for jobs anywhere else in the world. Canada, China, any Scandinavian country…almost anywhere but here.” I have always thought people who said that during an election cycle were a little over the top, but no longer. And guess what…I am a registered Republican.

    I find Paul Ryan to be absolutely frightening in his callous disregard towards the poor, the elderly and the infirm while pandering to the military/defense and far right conservatives. I also think it is very likely that in his attempt to win the Presidency, Romney has shown himself to be willing to sell his soul (if he hadn’t already put it down as his layaway deposit earlier in his political career).

    I am not a fan of Obama. But this year, more than any other since I had been able to vote – I might choose to vote Democrat because the alternate is just too scary for me. It makes me sad to think that a majority of people in the US could really want to support policies that hurt communities and individuals who most need help. And it also cooks my noodle to see so many people vote against their own interests (financially) when supposedly they are voting on “economics”. It just makes me think there are an awful lot of innumerate people in the US. Overall, it seems like we are living in very scary times. Very scary indeed.

  67. The Romney campaign’s biggest challenge was finding someone interesting but not so interesting that they’d overshadow Romney. Hard to tell for sure, but I think they failed. (Hilariously, Romney at first accidentally introduced Ryan as the next *President* of the United States. Maybe Romney is already feeling overshadowed?)

    And Ryan is a *polite* reactionary, but that only makes him look good in comparison to the Repub’s previous VP nominee.

  68. Ryan won’t deliver Wisconsin to Romney. House Reps generally can’t deliver their states in the prez election and Ryan is not beloved in Wisconsin besides. The pick was not to get Wisconsin, but to shore up the far right base, both religious right and neocons, so they won’t bolt and erode. It’s a desperate pick. Romney is gambling that with Ryan he’ll be able to get enough of far right voters out in numbers to win, rather than try to win the independents to swing the election. The liberatarians, however, are probably not going to be too happy — Ryan’s voting record does not please most of them. And even though Romney’s trying to distance himself from Ryan’s budget plan, he’s not going to be able to because that’s the only reason anyone has ever heard of Ryan, and that could cost him a good chunk of critical senior voters. Palin sunk McCain’s campaign on the very same sort of strategy, so this should be interesting.

  69. This was not the Vice Presidential pick I was expecting. I was going along with the conventional wisdom on this one and assuming either Rob Portman or Tim Pawlenty. Usually, you almost always can count on going wrong when relying on the conventional wisdom, but Mitt Romney seems like a conventional wisdom kind of guy, so the safe guesses seemed likely to me. So I was surprised when I heard on the news that Paul Ryan was Romney’s VP pick.

    In general terms, Ryan is a good pick. He’s bright; in fact, bright enough that the average IQ of the House of Representatives will drop a good deal when he leaves. He can also present his arguments clearly and concisely. One of my favorite all time political video clips is the Obamacare Health Summit, in which Ryan demolished the fiscal rationale behind the Obamacare CBO report in a few minutes, with a scowling Obama looking on.

    But Ryan doesn’t really bring the key battleground States, like Portman (Ohio) or Rubio (Florida) would. Romney is going for an ideological and ideas pick. With Ryan, he’s showing that the thrust of his administration is going to be to get our fiscal house in order. That’s a great thing and a vital one, but it plays into the Obama administration’s yearlong campaign strategy. The White House is probably popping the corks on the bottles of champagne. If you’re running a campaign based on demagoguery, you couldn’t have hoped for better than a Ryan pick.

    Just like on Obamacare, Ryan is right on our budgetary and fiscal issues, but as Obamacare shows, being right doesn’t mean you will win the votes.

    Looking at the race in the beginning of the year, I figured it would be Obama winning in a squeaker. Months later, with the Ryan pick, I still lean that way. But at least the battle grounds are clearly drawn, and we know what the race is about: saving our country from fiscal chaos and trying to restore the nation, or stripping the treasury of every dollar and eating our seed corn; eat, drink, and be merry, because tomorrow we may be a third rate, ruined power. I think if the American people are given that clear choice, they’ll make the right decision. The problem is, the few undecided voters will be viewing the race through the lens of the big three network nightly news programs, and they are all three firmly on Team Obama.

  70. Well said. I think this is, at least in part, setting up Ryan to run in 2016. If Romney loses, this will be his last hurrah.

  71. Mike, I’d say that the issue is not a “clear choice” like you spell it out–a lot of us happen to see the situation differently. That is, we believe that trickle down, cut taxes works. It’s not that we don’t see a fiscal cliff, it’s that we believe there is a different route away from it than you do.

  72. @ Mike. So what you are saying is that is that Ryan is a good bean counter and great with financial tricks, but really has nothing on the greater morality of those tricks? That would certainly qualify him to run a major investment bank a couple of years ago. I don’t think that worked out too good.

  73. Biden won’t wipe the floor with Ryan in debates. Ryan will hold his own, but Biden is an extraordinary debater and it will be great to watch. (See him speak live sometime and you really get to appreciate how good he is, especially when he speaks extemporaneously – counter to the conventional wisdom fueled by his occasional gaffes).

    If you’ve seen Ryan on the Sunday-morning-talking-head shows over the last 6 months or so, it’s clear he’s learned a lot in the past year+ and has dramatically improved his presentation, argument, and television skills. Will this make a difference to Romney? Nah. In the end, the VP debates are fun, but barring some incredible idiocy (“Why Am I here?” from Perot’s campaign comes to mind), it’s entertainment and not much else. People want to hear the main act, not the opening band.

    The presidential debates are really critical – Palin wasn’t the primary reason McCain started to slide in the polls – it was the second debate what done it. McCain was indescribably awful, and he practically handed 5-7 percent of viewers to Obama in a little red box with an elephant-shaped bow. So while Ryan will help Romney shore up some of the rank and file, and probably a portion of the “undecided center-right” Republican voters, I don’t think he’ll make a huge impact on the election (unless he does or did something incredibly dumb, of course).

  74. Gawker/Jalopnik are reporting that Paul Ryan used to drive the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile. I may have to rethink my position.

  75. If the emails I’ve gotten in the last 12 hours are any indication, this pick may well energize the Democratic base, especially the progressives. The various organizations such as EMILY’s List, Planned Parenthood & MoveOn.org are quite familiar with Paul Ryan, and they know they don’t want him near the White House.

  76. One of the things I love about your writing is your willingness to use uncommon words. Thanks to you, I’ve just learned “meretricious” and “hypoxia.”

    Quick question: when you say “I don’t see Ryan’s brand of economic thinking going anywhere anytime soon”, do you mean you don’t think it’s going to go away, or do you mean you don’t think it’s getting any traction?

    Thanks for your thoughtful posts.

  77. I challenge any Romney/Ryan supporters to find a significant chunk of economists not affiliated with either the campaign or a right-leaning thinktank (i.e. Heritage, Mercatus, etc) that agrees that their tax plans are a good idea. Because as it stands now, even those unaffiliated economists mentioned in connection Romney’s tax plan have–every single one of them, as of yesterday–have said that they and their research are being wildly misrepresented.

  78. Quoting from Krugman’s short piece today: “What I do know is that anyone who believes in Ryan’s carefully cultivated image as a brave, honest policy wonk has been snookered. Mark Thoma reviews selected pieces I’ve written about Ryan; he is, in fact, a big fraud, who doesn’t care at all about fiscal responsibility, and whose policy proposals are sloppy as well as dishonest. Of course, this means that he’ll fit in to the Romney campaign just fine.”

  79. One definite plus for Romney is that with the Ryan pick he will shift public discussion to Ryan’s economic plan (which would put us in the toilet, IMO) and away from Romney’s tax returns, which he been trying and failing to do now for weeks.

  80. Others have alluded to it above, but the choice of Ryan seems to indicate to me that the Big Learning the GOP took away from the last elections was: ‘Do as little harm as possible when chosing the VP candidate.’ That Ryan give the appearance of some intellect, is not likely to overshadow Romney, is not overtly religious and thus the best choice is a clear backlash from the damage Palin did last go-around. He is merely a safe choice, but that also means he may not significantly impact the election in a positive fashion.

  81. One definite plus for Romney is that with the Ryan pick he will shift public discussion to Ryan’s economic plan (which would put us in the toilet, IMO) and away from Romney’s tax returns, which he been trying and failing to do now for weeks.

    One wonders when someone will ask Mitt if the Romney campaign demanded Ryan’s tax returns, and if so, for how long?

    Anyway, Ryan’s nomination is an attempt, as others pointed out, to get the base back on Mitt’s side. He does nothing to expand or broaden the ticket’s appeal, and that’s something the campaign badly needs.

    As for his policies, there’s no way he can make what there is of his “plan” revenue neutral as promised without cutting out popular middle class tax deductions like the ones for mortgage interest.

  82. Sorry John, but I think you are wrong on some things.

    Who is Ryan? He’s from a Congressional district of 700,000 people. I don’t even see Obama losing Wisconsin. Ryan has practically equal approval, disapproval, and unknown ratings statewide.

    http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/11/a-risky-rationale-behind-romneys-choice-of-ryan/

    And although Mr. Ryan has won by impressive margins in his home district, his popularity statewide is mixed, with 38 percent of voters having a favorable impression and 33 percent an unfavorable one throughout Wisconsin.

    For better or worse, Romney has just wed himself to the Ryan budget plan. And if Romney falls, it will be blamed EXACTLY on Ryan.

    http://www.tnr.com/blog/plank/106035/picking-ryan-isnt-bold-its-highly-risk-averse

    Better still, this won’t just be good for Romney’s historical reputation, and for the future career prospects of his campaign team. It will be good for the entire GOP. Pre-Ryan, a Romney loss would have led to the nomination of a Neanderthal in 2016—someone, like Rick Santorum, who could say he warned the party against a candidate too moderate to take on Obama. Post-Ryan, a Romney loss will be read as a Goldwater-esque act of ideological self-immolation, which the party must resist at all costs if it hopes to win another election. Paradoxically, the Ryan pick is both selfish and selfless at the same time.

  83. At this point, there’s only one reason that someone who isn’t just generically anti-Obama or a social conservative would vote for that ticket: A sincere belief that giving the already-rich more money will magically create American jobs without doing any damage to the poor and working class.

    And, um. No.

  84. This pick will, if nothing else, clearly demonstrate if senior citizens are uncomfortable enough with a black guy as President that they’re willing to kill Social Security & Medicare over it.

  85. I’ve just been reading some of the articles posted by others above and the one thing that strikes me is how offensive some people find the idea that state support for initiatives such as infrastructure, education, etc is essential to our modern ways of life. It is precisely this permissive influence throughout our lives–from the sidewalks we walk on, the schools we went to and send our children too, the hospitals we go to when we’re sick and broken, to the weights and measures we agree to use so we can even trade in a sane fashion–that makes very idea of the libertarian self-governing individual possible. In other words, the liberal framework of governance (in the original small ‘l’ sense) brings about the self-governing individual, it does not oppress her.

    You can see this offense expressed in everything from complaints about taxation by suburbanites who pay less in taxes than they draw from civil services (roads, infrastructure, police and fire coverage are more expensive in spreadout low-land value suburbs than they are in dense urban residential communities where land values are often higher) to the shock and outrage expressed by Ryan and others when Obama made his comments about how no one in our society is an island–success comes in part from personal factors but also because the instruments of governance have made it possible.

    (This is from a Canadian point of view, I have no horse in this show and some references may ring untrue in different contexts, such is the way of things.)

  86. “Ryan won’t deliver Wisconsin to Romney. House Reps generally can’t deliver their states in the prez election and Ryan is not beloved in Wisconsin besides. ”

    Ryan won his first election with 57% of the vote, and that’s the lowest number he’s gotten since becoming a representative.
    In 2008 Obama won Ryan’s district by 4 points. Ryan won with 65% of the vote, which means a fifth of those who voted for Obama also voted for Ryan…and in 2010 he won 68% of the vote.

    Maybe he’s not “beloved”, but it certainly appears that they “Like, Like” him…

    The idea of the Obama campaign going after the Ryan plan is going to be a nonstarter. All the Republican side would have to do is say “OK, fine, show us your plan…” and the Obama campaign would show them what, a plan that got voted down 414-0 and 97-0 in their respective houses? Obama has been President 1460 days. There hasn’t been a budget for 1200 of them. When the best the Secretary of Treasury can do is say “We don’t have a definitive solution… We just don’t like yours” the right has a point it can use repeatedly. The problem is that’s not going to resonate with the public as much as the image of a wheelchair being pushed off a cliff.

    Dav

  87. I would be interested to know whether house members like Ryan are likely to move a statewide race (like electoral votes) that much. Living in Colorado, I can think of many members of the House delegation that would not poll that well in a statewide race- Jared Polis out of Boulder probably wouldn’t poll too well in Colorado Springs, and Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs wouldn’t Poll too well in Boulder or Denver proper. With as heavily divided as Wisconsin appears to be from an outside perspective, I wonder whether Ryan would be similarly divisive in that state.

    I do think that Ryan makes both the left and the right more likely to vote in general though. He is not the man to move the middle.

  88. “One wonders when someone will ask Mitt if the Romney campaign demanded Ryan’s tax returns, and if so, for how long?”

    Well put, Mr. Rhoades. I for one am going to spread that question far and wide.

  89. @Edward Brennan: It appears that Ryan is very popular in his district, but not outside of it. More to the point, even w/in his district, his budget plans actual points are not popular.

    The most striking thing about polls and focus groups which have drilled down on the Ryan plan, is that over half of respondents simply refused to believe that any politician would sub out Medicare for a voucher program. I read something last week (sorry, I don’t remember whose article, but I think the focus group was run by Priorities USA, a pro-Obama PAC) that said 58% of the participants, evenly spread politically, replied that no politician would or could change Medicare, rendering the question meaningless to them, and unlikely to shift their votes.

    Choosing Ryan as Veep necessarily raises the profile of Ryan’s “Roadmap” and thereby his stated plans for Medicare. I think this is a gift for the Obama campaign; Democratic ads have been ringing the “ends Medicare” bell for over a year, now, mostly to yawns from the independents and undecideds. With the author of the plan now on the Republican ticket, the secondary noise from the media will grow exponentially. It’s already happening, as Google demonstrates, so the question of “how does ending Medicare in 2023 create jobs in 2012,” ceases to be wonk-talk, and hits the mainstream.

    Will the denial demonstrated by focus groups survive the oncoming ad attacks? I don’t know, but I think the ads themselves are going to completely jump the shark. We’ve already had throwing Gramma off a cliff; I wouldn’t be surprised at an ad having Gramma in front of a firing squad, next. Whether that firing squad is made up of Republicans or Democrats depends solely upon who throws down first. I can see it going either way.

  90. The idea of the Obama campaign going after the Ryan plan is going to be a nonstarter.

    Hah. You’re going to wear the Ryan budget plan around your neck until November 6.

  91. Sadly, I doubt anyone in the media will try to get Ryan to explain his anti-deficit fervor in light of how many deficit-bloating Bush-era bills he voted for.

  92. @Jonathan Hendry: Well, you’re wrong, because that question has been out there for 4 years. Ryan has repeatedly said that he “deeply regrets” his Aye votes on TARP, et al, but that he was forced to do so by the party. He traded his principles for the lead Republican seat on the House Budget Committee, which has now bought him the VP nomination. I give Ryan enough credit to believe that this was political calculus on his part, and not manipulation by more experienced players, especially given the way it has now panned out for him.

    And I would just like to throw out my thanks to the Romney campaign, for both making this pick and announcing it on a Saturday, when I have the time to info-load. It’s like my birthday, all over again! Only, I had to work on my birthday, so August 11th is way more betterest. O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

  93. “I suspect Biden is going to eat him alive in their debate.”

    Seriously?

    Joe Biden is an embarrassment to the Democrat Party and the United States. I can understand the partisan support for Obama, but have you heard some of the stuff that comes out of Biden’s gaffehole?

    If Paul Ryan is as you put it, “what passes for a serious thinker in the Republican Party these days” then what the hell is Biden?

    How you can characterize the Republican candidates as dimwits and then trot Biden out as the next Clarence Darrow is beyond me.

  94. How you can characterize the Republican candidates as dimwits and then trot Biden out as the next Clarence Darrow is beyond me.

    Yes, it would be, wouldn’t it, but then I suspect you were making the same argument about Sarah Palin four years ago.

  95. “The idea of the Obama campaign going after the Ryan plan is going to be a nonstarter.

    Hah. You’re going to wear the Ryan budget plan around your neck until November 6.”

    Right, now tell me how the Democratic Budget Plan is better? Better yet, tell me what the Democratic plan is.

    Or do I have to wait until until the 7th to find out? That’s what, 1287 days…surely there will be something by then?

    Dav

  96. Right, now tell me how the Democratic Budget Plan is better?

    I don’t have to tell you anything like that; I just have to watch while the Obama campaign hangs the end of Medicare, the destruction of Social Security, and the other atrocities in the Ryan plan around Romney’s neck.

    Democrat Party

    Ah, the RepubliKKKan is back.

  97. Well, I, for one, am now feeling much more energized as a democrat. I’m not sure that such a polarizing candidate was such a great idea, at least for keeping formerly ambivalent democrats and independents from bothering to go to the polls on election day.

  98. Todd:

    “Right, now tell me how the Democratic Budget Plan is better?”

    Hey, Todd — go back and read the first comment, would you? It applies here.

  99. Well, seeing as how currently the cause of the end of Medicare as we know it is going to be Medicare as we know it…maybe no plan is better?

    Ryan’s selection is going to force Obama to talk about the things he’s been avoiding: The economy and the budget. Maybe those just aren;t important as Romney’s taxes, but then maybe Obama will come out with a plan that will clearly spell out his (and his party’s vision), and the electorate can hold him and the rest of the democrats to that for the 2012-2016 election cycle.

    As an independent voter who did vote for Obama last time, I can say that for me Obama didn’t lose my vote this time around so much as he hasn’t done anything to earn it. But there’s still some campaigning left.

    Dav

  100. Hey David, could you please explain the “RepubliKKKan is back” comment for me? Thanks, man.

  101. I look forward to the following campaign ad

    “Obama has been working hard for the last 4 years passing legislation and fighting the recession. Let’s give him a break – it is time for some R&R. That’s right Romney & Ryan. We’ll take care of everything so just rest your pretty little heads. You don’t need to do nothing and we promise the government will do nothing for you too.”

  102. clambson wrote: “Ryan has repeatedly said that he “deeply regrets” his Aye votes on TARP”

    And the two Bush tax cuts, and the Iraq war, and Medicare Part D?

    Odd that he only got religion about it when a Democrat was in the White House.

  103. The GOP isn’t necessarily making a mistake by killing Social Security and Medicare so long as the people who vote for them get to be the last ones in the helicopter leaving the Hanoi Hilton. They claim that with their plan anyone age 55 or older won’t see any changes.

    I really don’t understand why we don’t just raise Social Security tax cap from $110,000 to $250,000 as Bernie Sanders has proposed. http://strengthensocialsecurity.org/media/blog/2011/sanders%E2%80%99-bill-s-1558-guarantees-social-security-for-75-years

    According to the above website, SS is still fully solvent through 2036. It seems the only reason to change it is to let Wall Street get its hands on that money.

  104. Jonathan Hendry:

    At least he’s consistent: the entire Republican Party plus the teabaggers (but I repeat myself) managed to get the same religion on the same schedule, and they all refuse to talk about it.

    I’m not a huge fan of Obama, but after this I feel a lot better about his chances in November. I’m not so sanguine about the Senate.

    Anyone want to make a bet about how long it takes the House GOP to find some excuse to impeach Obama once he’s reelected? I’m going for November 2013, second choice February 2015.

  105. Meh. I’m still convinced that the GOP Is phoning it in this election. That or they’ve been seriously weakened by Tea Party shenanigans and/or the internal schism between their Small Government and Big Religion factions.

  106. Jonathan Hendry: Eh, not odd at all. Pretty much the entire GOP made a u-turn when Obama was elected, giving us the current crop of radically right-wing legislation. After all, once you’ve back-pedaled on your own health care and stimulus proposals, the only way left to differentiate yourself from the Democrat is to outlaw birth control and attempt to get “God Bless America” added to the text of every bill.

    And I’ve just noticed that WordPress has once again decided that I’m not Constance. I have no idea how I ended up with two profiles, or why they randomly switch, mid-thread.

  107. Dav wrote:

    Ryan’s selection is going to force Obama to talk about the things he’s been avoiding: The economy and the budget.

    I’m going to call bullshit on that. Here’s a crazy idea: Just because Obama and the Democrats aren’t talking about the economy and the budget in terms you’d prefer doesn’t mean they’re not talking about it.

  108. Hey David, could you please explain the “RepubliKKKan is back” comment for me? Thanks, man.

    Work on “Democrat Party” and we’ll talk.

  109. Dav

    In 2008 Obama won Ryan’s district by 4 points. Ryan won with 65% of the vote, which means a fifth of those who voted for Obama also voted for Ryan…and in 2010 he won 68% of the vote.

    You’re not really arguing your own case here. Despite his popularity, Ryan could not deliver his district to McCain. His constituents might give the district to Romney because of him. Or, they might let Ryan keep his job on Capitol Hill, and let Obama keep the White House, and call it a day. Less likely, sure, but still possible.

    Meanwhile, the question isn’t “can Ryan deliver his district in Wisconsin?” It’s “can Ryan deliver the state of Wisconsin?” The former may be likely, the latter significantly less so.

  110. @Todd, explain how privatizing Medicare and moving the 50 million person risk pool (assuming the current Medicare numbers remain constant when the Ryan plan would go into effect) into a couple hundred smaller risk pools is going to do better at containing costs, unless they’re uniformly free to do things like switch to a pay on outcome model instead of fee for service, or be able to choose their own list of procedures to cover, and not cover as many procedures as Medicare does today. And Medicare could do that also, if it wasn’t fettered by Congressional mandates enacted on the behest of drug and healthcare provider lobbyests, like not allowing Medicare to negotiate on drug prices (unlike the VA).

  111. @Todd: “Ryan won his first election with 57% of the vote, and that’s the lowest number he’s gotten since becoming a representative.
    In 2008 Obama won Ryan’s district by 4 points. Ryan won with 65% of the vote, which means a fifth of those who voted for Obama also voted for Ryan…and in 2010 he won 68% of the vote.

    Maybe he’s not “beloved”, but it certainly appears that they “Like, Like” him…”

    Or, perhaps more precisely, his district likes him. Wisconsin has seven Congressional districts (currently represented by 5 Rs and 3Ds). It’s unclear how he would do in those other seven districts.

  112. Dave, Please pardon me. I actually had no idea that it was considered an insult to a Democrat to call his party the Democrat Party rather than Democratic Party. Learned something new today.

    [Deleted because I already said it was time to move on from politics from 50 years ago -- JS]

  113. Gareth, I really have no intention of derailing this thread, but [continued derailing deleted. Gareth, Billy: drop it, please - JS]

  114. Hey, you know what? The KKK doesn’t send you an honorary membership in the hands of Ed MacMahon for being a bigot. So, maybe if you want to call someone a bigot you just use the word for that instead of acting like a child.

    And, B. Quiet: It’s rude because it’s their name. Democrats say “We’re the Democratic Party”. It’s a churlish to insist on calling someone by a name they say isn’t theirs.

  115. Ryan hasn’t had a good democratic opponent in years. This time, Rob Zerban is doing a better job of giving us an alternative, but when you look at Ryan’s popularity in his district, remember it is against a background of no strong opposition. Couldn’t even get in to his district listening sessions on his budget plan – but there were PLENTY of us protesting outside. Not clear to me that Ryan pulls Wisconsin to the right in this election.

  116. The one really bad thing about the Ryan nomination, from the perspective of a sane person, is that it brings up his idiotic “deficit decrease” plan as serious economic policy. Some things should only be read as comedy, y’know?

    Of course, something like that problem would apply to any of Romney’s possible choices for Veep.

  117. Fletcher: I actually thought he made the ticket look more human. For me, Romney is the design I would use if I built a cybertronic politician. As much as I’m not a fan, I willing to concede Ryan adds a pulse to the ticket. Course, reasonable people can disagree on that.

  118. The interesting thing about hypoxia is that one of the brain structures most vulnerable to hypoxic damage is the hippocampus, which is critical for forming new memories. So if you suffer from a bad hypoxic episode, you might end up doing the same thing over and over and over again and not remembering what the outcome was.

    Also, people suffering from this sort of amnesia often make up stories to rationalize why they’re doing something they obviously wouldn’t be doing if they were cognitively normal.

    … sorry, were we talking about politics?

  119. “(if you consider Ayn Rand a serious political thinker rather than a philosophical and economic dilettante with a flair for potboilery prose, you get put into the “hasn’t quite grown up” category in my brain)”

    (if you judge people based solely on their assessments of a particular author rather than any arguments they may have about the philosophical questions at hand, you get put into the “argues in bad faith” category in my brain)

  120. A Mormon and a Papist. How does this help get out the protestant vote? Toss in that both are northerners and I guess Ryan was the least worst pick and the first who said yes?
    Would be interesting to hear from the people who turned Rmoney down in private.

  121. @Todd: See, the think about being in the Republican party is, they don’t make me get your permission to join. Given the amount of equivocating and massaging you’ve done about the problem of bigotry in the GOP base, I don’t think that of the two of us, I’m the one with the credibilitly problem.

    @Chris, like “politically correct”, “race card” used to have an actual meaning besides being a buzzphrase screamed at anyone who says something uncomfortable.

  122. @cranapia

    I’ve heard more from the Democratic Party about Romney’s lack of tax disclosures than I have about their plans for the economy the last few weeks. The last time Obama talked about the economy was in June, and that speech was devoid of anything specific, other than “They’re ideas are bad, mine are good.” For Obama to talk about a budget, he has to have one to talk about, which he hasn’t had for over three years.

    @ doc

    “Meanwhile, the question isn’t “can Ryan deliver his district in Wisconsin?” It’s “can Ryan deliver the state of Wisconsin?” The former may be likely, the latter significantly less so.”

    True, but the initial numbers look good. They won’t stay the same, and there’s a lot of campaigning left. The Romney camp probably has its own numbers showing Ryan has a better chance of delivering Wisconsin than Rubio did Florida or McDonnell did Virginia.

    @ Bruce

    To be honest, I hadn’t concerned myself with Medicare as an issue because it’s going to be a couple of decades before I’m eligible, and honestly, given the rhetoric over the last decade or so and the inactivity from both parties on addressing the insolvency of the entitlement programs, I’m doing my best to plan on not having them when I do turn 67. That said, I don’t know that his plan is going to be better. His math says it is. Then again, the government math said ACA was going to be revenue neutral as well, and both sides will do what they need to in order for their math to work, right? Any changes to an entitlement program are going to be slanted by either side arguing why it’s going to succeed, or fail. Funding entitlement programs is going to be a very big problem in the future. Keeping those programs in place is a good thing, but reforming them so they remain solvent has always been a difficult thing. And the longer it takes to get them fixed, the more disruptive the solutions are going to be. Is the Ryan plan the right solution? There are things about it I don’t like. But I like that he put it out there, talked about it and debated it. It was also an opportunity for those who disagreed with the Ryan Plan to come up with a different one, maybe even a better one that addresses the problems now instead of later. I haven’t seen an alternative, better or worse, from anyone else yet. Maybe I’m just not looking in the right place.

    Dav

  123. @ Mythago

    I’m sorry, but I have no idea which of my previous posts you referring to with your last comment?

    Dav

  124. Couple of points:

    mythago alluded to the idea that Republicans would somehow recoil in horror if a BROWN PERSON were the VP nominee. While there are legitimate reasons to disagree with the selection of a Rice or a Rubio, I don’t know where you get the idea that there would be more than a tiny, tiny number of GOP voters who would not vote for Romney in the event he had picked one of them (or Susana Martinez, or Nikki Hailey, or Bobby Jindal, or Brian Sandoval). These two were consistently among the top five in GOP VP straw polls. and were favorites in particular of the activists and Tea Party types. In the far-too-many hours I have spent talking politics with conservatives, their race (nor the races of the other governors I listed) has never once come up in a negative way (positive, sure, plenty of times). That’s just not how conservatives think.

    Second, John, let’s just say that we will both be eagerly watching the VP debate. If you are expecting the doddering, gaffe-prone Biden to come out ahead of Ryan, well, I guess that just shows how powerfully our preconceptions can affect our predictive abilities. Let’s just leave it as “we disagree” and see how it plays out.

    Finally, I absolutely agree that Ryan was the best VP candidate available. His selection indicates that the election has a very good chance of being about contrasting visions for the country’s future. We may actually get to have a debate about big ideas, rather than jibes about tax returns, college transcripts, “gaffes”, and dog-eating. I couldn’t ask for better.

  125. ZBBMcFate: doddering? Cooome on. You’re killing me.

    Genuinely watch the guy talk sometime. He’s fantastic. The guy has been making public speeches since 1973. I mean, considering he kept getting reelected surely there’s some skill there. The gaffe thing – as much as he has said stupid things like every other person speaking into a microphone 20 hours a day – is more an effective dig at his version of down home speaking that stuck.

    Don’t get me wrong. Ryan is no slouch. He’s a sharp speaker. I happen to think his policy proposals are a (masterful) politically expedient bunch of non sense. But, he isn’t stupid.

    And, given that between the two on the ticket, Ryan is the one with the fancy policy proposals, it’s certainly possible that some real news will be made in their debate. Other than “my guy totally killed it and your guy suucked. I mean, [tax policy reference]!”

  126. Todd–I spent a couple of decades embedded in the bowels of the federal government’s budgeting system (DoD subelement). The administration–read the President–submits a budget to the Congress the first Monday in February for the following fiscal year (i.e. a budget submitted in Feb 2012 for FY2013 beginning 1 Oct 2012.) The Obama administration has indeed submitted such a budget each year. (The budgets are generally submitted late the first year of an administration, since the new administration takes over 20 Jan and there is a bit of administrative turmoil with the changeover which makes it impossible to submit a budget less than two weeks later. Additionally, because of the required submittal date, the first budget submitted by a President–i.e. Obama’s FY10 budget submitted in early 2009–is the product of the previous administration.) Saying Obama/his administration has not presented a budget is a falsehood, either from intent or ignorance.

    If you want to talk about the Senate not having prepared and passed a ceremonial budget of absolutely no meaning we can discuss. Please trust me (which I of course realize means absolutely nothing when dealing with an anonymous poster on an internet forum, even one as classy as this one) when I say that in such discussion I can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt, to the same level of proof that F=MA, that the Senate budget conservatives obsess over is completely meaningless, is a recent invention of no purpose, and was was similarly not passed when Republicans controlled the Presidency and the Senate. Not sure if you want to really get involved discussing in the sausage-making details getting a federal budget in place entails–difference between appropriations and authorizations, how continuing resolutions work, relationships between Congressional committees, colors of money, implications of the Anti-Deficiency Act, differences between POM. BES, and PB, role of OMB, professional vs personal vs committee staff, heartburn appeals, etc. But it was my livelihood and source of 70-hour weeks for a number of years and I can provide you with more detail than you can reasonably expect to want unless you intend to become a professional federal budgeter. The process is something that only a tax attorney could love, with a myriad of cul-de-sacs designed to give now long-dead Congressional subcommittee chairman power over budget aspects that greatly affected his district/state back when vacuum tubes ruled electronics. There is a reason one subcommittee has jurisdiction over salmon in rivers and another over salmon in the ocean and the two work against each other–the purpose is political power and influence, not worrying about the salmon. (One of the biggest obstacles to reorganizations of the Executive Branch–the various Cabinet Departments and other governmental organizations–is the refusal of multiple Congressional subcommittees to give up oversight of areas they currently have control and influence over.)

  127. Other Bill, I don’t know man, I think Biden is pretty weak, and not just because he’s a Democrat.

    It’s kind of like sending Rick Perry out to debate Barney Frank. I think Barney Frank is wrong about pretty much everything, but he is really quick and a sharp debater. He would fluster the shit out of Perry.

    Good God! I just compared Paul Ryan to Barney Frank. AAAugh!

  128. Romney choosing Ryan was a stroke of capitalist genius. Romney can acquire Ryan’s budget plan and then sell off the remaining assets. The work of VP can then be outsourced to Mexico.

    On a serious note, Ryan and Biden debating should work for the Democrats’ favor. Ryan will be trying to explain how his plan will affect a hypothetical nurse somewhere in the US while Biden will talk about how his plan affects Shirley in Trenton, NJ.

  129. Billy Quiets:

    I’m a fan of the Barney Frank rhetoric. But, him I like particularly because he manages to combine some hardcore wonkiness with razor sharp rhetoric. Granted, I do tend to agree with the guy. And, I’d rate Frank over Biden. And, if it were Frank v Ryan, I would sincerely have to give it to Frank, no question. Because I don’t think Ryan could quite as capablely defend his wonkier side.

    But, I think what will trip Ryan up in the debate is a lot of the political expediency incorporated into his ideas that got traction. I think in objective scoring (not that Obective Scoring is ever relevant to a political debate), he’ll lose because of that. And, I think Biden’s own version of sharp folksiness has the capability to take that apart.

    If Ryan goes into it thinking Biden can only say stupid stuff, he’s going to get crushed. If he doesn’t, well, I’ll be more interested to watch that debate than Romney v Obama (AKA Cybtronic Robot Sent From The Future To Ostensibly Save Mankind From Government versus Heh, C’mon I’m Charming AND Smart, And We Know It).

  130. Hmmm,well this man has all the charisma of a boiled rutabaga, what with his eyes set too close together, big ears, and closed mouthed thin smile. So he will end up in the White House just because people underestimated him. But then, Americans voted Clinton in for a second term after the La Lewdinsky episode, so what’s to stop them from supporting Romney-Ryan? Two “R”s, and you’ll soon have cartoonists exploiting this non- sequitur. Thank God, it does not concern us non Yanks. YET.

  131. Other Bill: I bet the ratings for the VP debate will be through the roof. Personally, I can’t believe Obama hasn’t replaced Biden on the ticket. I think he still might, frankly. Hope not.

    I would love to see Frank debate Gingrich. Talk about fireworks, that would be fun.

  132. @zbbmcfate: “If you are expecting the doddering, gaffe-prone Biden to come out ahead of Ryan, well, I guess that just shows how powerfully our preconceptions can affect our predictive abilities.”

    Yeah, no. One of the basic principles of the scientific method is that successful experiments are repeatable. Therefore, concluding that a man who got himself reelected for 35 years, and then ascended to VP, can hold his own in what will only be yet another debate in a long history of them, is fairly straightforward extrapolation based on repeated proofs. Not that difficult, really.

    In addition, Biden has long been a favorite on the political talk show circuit, both because he is well-spoken, and because he goes off-script in generally entertaining ways. He’s known to be rather vain, and to lack an editor between his brain and his mouth, but he’s also smart and from a solidly working class background (the poorest member of the Senate, remember?), which means that his gaffes are as endearing to his constituencies, as they are embarrassing, as demonstrated by his long political career.

    It’s perfectly reasonable to disagree with Biden’s zeitgeist; to object to his long history of political maneuvering and collecting favors; or to even believe that he and all his party are evil socialists determined to take your guns and money, if that’s how deep your echo chamber goes; but, blurting out ageist attacks that are demonstrably unsupportable is unserious. I mean, really, let’s be adults here.

    I think Paul Ryan is reasonably intelligent, healthy, and probably a nice person, although I happen to strongly disagree with him on almost every subject. I’m not afraid to say positive, or even complimentary things, about Ryan. Because, frankly, Ryan has actual, real problems in a direct comparison to Biden. Ryan is a fairly junior Congressman with no foreign policy, domestic policy, or private business experience. His elevation to Chair of the House Budget Committee is the most important role he’s ever had, and since nothing he’s proposed has ever made it into practice, his performance is, thus far, sound and fury.

    It’s not irrational to suspect that Ryan is something of an amateur compared to Biden, in other words. Biden served on the Senate Judiciary Committee for a decade, about half that as ranking or Chair, ditto for the Foreign Relations Committee, has presided over two SCOTUS confirmation hearings, and the list of legislation that he has spearheaded is far too long for John’s comment thread. He’s been to more war zones than Ryan has birthday parties, and can, in fact, credibly claim to have worked “across the aisle,” at least as many times as he’s towed the party line.

    Disagree with Biden, dislike him, if you will, but don’t be dishonest. If the political calculus had been slightly different in 2008, Clinton could have been the VP pick and Biden would now probably be Secretary of State. As far as actual credentials go, that might have been a better arrangement, but I don’t think an overt Obama/Clinton ticket would have won.

    In any case, by no measure is Biden “doddering.” And, frankly, if Ryan is as smug and cocksure as some of his fans, then Biden will wipe the floor with him. During the Palin debates, Biden swiveled smoothly from policy to personal anecdotes, at one point bringing members of the audience to tears, as he talked about his first wife’s death, and being a single father. The man has mad skillz, and underestimating him, buying into his genial, hail-fellow-well-met persona without considering his long, long career as a successful player in partisan politics is a terrible mistake.

  133. According Reuters, Romney’s vetting of Ryan included “The search was so confidential that background information on a short list of candidates, including several years of tax returns and other documents, were kept in a safe in a locked room at Romney’s campaign headquarters and the few people allowed in were not permitted to make copies or take anything out.” Of course “several” is an imprecise term (see http://xkcd.com/1070/), but it appears that Romney may have required more years of tax returns of his VP candidates than he is willing to provide to the American public. I personally think that additional years of Romney’s tax returns won’t show any smoking guns, but I think Romney’s decision to only show the last two years has already lead to a whisper campaign about the multi-millionaire Romney not paying any taxes, much like the birthers and Obama’s birth certificate.

  134. For me – not living in the US but taking at least some interest the current upcoming election and the candidates so far are of the types that it doesn’t really matter whomever gets elected. The political situation in the US is stagnant and the economic situation is basically limiting the options for the foreseeable future. It’s not as bad as in Greece. In a way – maybe this time there’s place for an independent candidate when Romney and Obama has exhausted themselves.

    At least we should all hope that it won’t be a “Nehemiah Scudder” (For those familiar with Heinlein).

  135. Billy Quiets: Frank v Gingrich, the world is not ready for those fireworks. Gingrich (I’m not counting presidential campaign Gingrich, all flash and no bang) is a guy whose verbal aikido should not be underrated.

    Ahh! I see you what did there, hoping he doesn’t change the ticket. But, I’d lay you ten to one on ten thousand dollars that he doesn’t.

  136. clambson, by your logic, McCain should have crushed the inexperienced Obama in the debates. Sorry, but Biden is old and says lots of stupid things. He can get away with it in front of a generally sympathetic press or voters from a liberal state like DE. I don’t think he will come off nearly as well next to Ryan.

    I’m under no illusion that the VP debate will swing more than a handful of votes either way. It’s political theater, and the person you think won afterwards is almost always determined by who you agreed with more going in.

    Let’s just say that Republicans are not quaking in fear of the VP debate and leave it at that.

  137. FL Transplant,

    Your right about the Obama Administration submitting a budget, he’s done so every year he’s been in office. I should have said he’s never passed a budget, even when his own party had a clear majority in both houses. Correct me if I am wrong, but Budget bills cannot be filibustered, they require only a simple majority to pass, right? And maybe there was something symbolic about the fact the last budget the President submitted didn’t garner a single “Yay” vote the last time it went through both houses. Did it not get a single vote because it was regarded as an insincere effort, just “going through the motions?” Has Obama even signed a budget, or is the government still running off extensions from the last budget Bush signed?

    Dav

  138. @ZBBMcFate: Still not liking the ageism that you are exhibiting. Personally, I never considered McCain’s age a factor against him, and he was older in 2007-2008 than Biden is now. (Also, McCain was running for POTUS, not the running mate, so it’s arguably more valid for age to be a concern for McCain than for Biden.)

    But you are partly correct: if longevity were the sole factor in being a decent speaker or debater, McCain would have been favored. It’s not, though. Even McCain’s record could have worked in his favor against Obama. I don’t think anyone predicted how haywire McCain’s campaign would go, though, and he was off-balance for much of 2007. Fund-raising and staffing problems hobbled his preparedness, and strife within the party sabotaged many of his more popular policy positions. His debate performances started poorly, and deteriorated into declarations of Socialism, insinuations about Bill Ayers, and the invocation of Joe the Plumber. No one could have predicted that.

    Biden could completely break down similarly, of course. Anything can happen in an infinite universe. I just think it’s unlikely. Biden isn’t under the same sort of pressures now as McCain was then, nor are they the same person; ultimately, I think the comparison is specious. Similarly, if one tried to compare Ryan to Obama, based solely on age, one might be led to a conclusion that other factors do not support.

    Slightly off-topic, in re McCain: I can’t imagine what it’s like seeing Romney, the man he beat for the 2008 Republican nomination, now the Republican nominee. But also, the pre-2007 McCain was a different person than he became during the 2008 campaign, and he’s only gotten more vitriolic since. Something nasty and mean has grown in the GOP over the last 6 years, and McCain exemplifies that devolution, to me. It makes me deeply, sincerely sad.

  139. ZBBMcFate:

    “Sorry, but Biden is old and says lots of stupid things.”

    I’m not… I don’t… Wow. Straight to the age based dis for Biden because he’s…in his sixties?

    “”He can get away with it in front of a generally sympathetic press…”

    Do you see?! How the press coddles old folk? DO YOU SEE!

    “or voters from a liberal state like DE.”

    Come to Deleware, where we like our politicians like we like our cheese, aged and stupid? Progressives, now with more confused old people? He’s, like, what? 69? Wasn’t that how old John McCain was in 2008?

    “I don’t think he will come off nearly as well next to Ryan.”

    Yeah. The New Hotness. I’m pretty sure Mitt Romney’s got the same problem. BURN.

  140. @Frank, @Geo B, et al

    i find it somewhat amusing that people are saying Ryan is a serious thinker and has a serious budget. He has purposely excluded many areas in order to protect voting blocks. James Fallows of the Atlantic takes it down pretty well and clearly.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/08/paul-ryan-a-good-choice-but-please-not-a-serious-one/261020/

    1) A plan to deal with budget problems that says virtually nothing about military spending is neither brave nor serious. That would be enough to disqualify it from the “serious” bracket, but there’s more.

    2) A plan that proposes to eliminate tax loopholes and deductions, but doesn’t say what any of those are, is neither brave nor serious. It is, instead canny — or cynical, take your pick. The reality is that many of these deductions, notably for home-mortgage interest payments, are popular and therefore risky to talk about eliminating.

    3) A plan that exempts from future Medicare cuts anyone born before 1957 — about a quarter of the population, which includes me — is neither brave nor serious. See “canny or cynical: take your pick” above….

    6) A plan that identifies rising health-care costs as the main problem in public spending, but avoids altogether the question of how to contain those costs, is neither brave nor serious. This is a longer and more complicated discussion (see below*); but I submit that the more closely anyone looks at the Ryan plan, the less “serious” it will seem on this extremely important front.

  141. For Obama to talk about a budget, he has to have one to talk about, which he hasn’t had for over three years.

    and:

    I should have said he’s never passed a budget, even when his own party had a clear majority in both houses.

    @Todd: It’s kind of embarrasing to have to say something this basic: ‘Separation of powers’ – look it up. But I guess one thing you don’t walk to take about is the bleeding obvious indicator of Ryan’s supposed fiscal conservatism — his voting record during the Bush Administration. If you can find a Republican-initiated pork-laden spending bill the Gentleman from the Wisconsin 1st voted against, you’re the first. The only lame defense I’ve been hearing is that Paul Ryan was being a “good team player”; which is fair enough, but not what he’s supposedly on the ticket for.

  142. AMB:

    “if you judge people based solely on their assessments of a particular author rather than any arguments they may have about the philosophical questions at hand, you get put into the ‘argues in bad faith’ category in my brain”

    It’s not in the least in bad faith; I’m telling you right up front that I’ll consider you not quite grown up if you think Ayn Rand is a serious political thinker. I’m not trying to hide that, or make you think I believe anything other than that.

    Also, and independently, if you try to snipe me and have no idea what the term you’re using actually means, I may put you in the category of “can’t argue himself out of a paper bag.”

  143. I should have said he’s never passed a budget, even when his own party had a clear majority in both houses.

    Which is, of course a lie. The 2010 Budget passed in April 2009, and the 2011 Budget passed in April 2011. Why’d the 2011 Budget get delayed, you say? Because there wasn’t a simple majority. Which leads us to…

    Correct me if I am wrong, but Budget bills cannot be filibustered, they require only a simple majority to pass, right?

    Passing bills via a simple majority, known as reconciliation, is valid for budget bills. BUT (a) it can only be used once per year, to prevent abuse by either the legislature or the president; and (b) it doesn’t have to be the budget bill. And there was a budget bill passed via reconciliation in 2010: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka PPACA, aka Obamacare.

    The following year, of course, the GOP not only controlled one chamber of Congress, but also no one predicted that the GOP would actually come to the brink of shutting down the government over the debt ceiling. After all, it had been raised by Reagan 17 (yes, one-seven) times, by Bush I 5 times, by Clinton 4 times, by Bush II 7 times, and Obama had already raised it at least once. And besides, the biggest contributor to the deficit was the Bush Tax cuts, which added more to it than the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the financial crisis, TARP and other bailouts, and the stimulus–combined. And those tax cuts had been started under a GOP Congress and a GOP President. Odd, that.

  144. (if you consider Ayn Rand a serious political thinker rather than a philosophical and economic dilettante with a flair for potboilery prose, you get put into the “hasn’t quite grown up” category in my brain)

    I think I kind of love you for that.

  145. It will be interesting to see how the Romney campaign sells Ryan as an asset to independent voters and disappointed Democratic voters (who’ve given up on President Obama). Not seeing how Ryan appeals to those groups, but Romney has welll over 2 months to make Ryan look like a great VP pick. Seems like an uphill battle to me, but we’ll see.

  146. Under Paul Ryan’s Plan, Mitt Romney Would Pay Virtually No Taxes:

    The Atlantic crunched the numbers on Romney’s 2010 tax returns, the only one he’s made public, and found that Romney’s tax rate that year would be just 0.82 percent under Ryan’s proposal.

    Romney went out of his way during the campaign to avoid proposing any capital gains tax cuts that would benefit him personally, keenly aware that his investment fortune made him an easy target for Democrats. He did propose tax cuts on investment income, but said they would be restricted only to middle-class savings, leaving his own vast holdings unaffected.

    The capital gains issue came up during the primaries when Romney attacked Newt Gingrich’s tax plan by noting it would reduce his own tax burden to 0 percent:

    “Under that plan, I’d have paid no taxes in the last two years,” Romney said in a January debate, referring to its elimination of taxes on investment.

  147. My prediction about the Biden/Ryan debate: Ryan will come off as serious, earnest and wonky, Biden will come off as genial and relaxed. The punditocracy, who have already decided that Ryan is a great thinker, will say he won the debate. Public opinion polls will say just the opposite.

  148. Bide may be gaffe prone, but that’s at least partially because he talks a lot, on a variety of subjects. He’s also capable of delivering some devestating zingers when he gets rolling. He is the man, recall, who said that every sentence out of Giuliani’s mouth consisted of a noun, a verb, and 9/11.

  149. No, Paul Ryan is not ‘courageous’

    As for Ryan himself, to begin with, what policies turned Clinton-era surpluses into Bush-era deficits? In large part, two tax cuts, two wars and a massive prescription drug benefit, and Ryan voted for all of them. (He also voted for TARP, by the way; his fiscal rectitude only included actually voting against massive expenditures once President Obama took office.) His “serious” debt-reduction plan doesn’t balance the budget until 2040. By contrast, the House Progressive Caucus budget, whatever else you think of it, balances the budget within a decade.(Note: In both cases, those are the budgets’ authors’ projections; your math may vary.) Furthermore, no doubt in fear of the senior vote, Ryan dropped the Social Security privatization aspect from his debt plan and now only guts Medicare for people 55 and younger. Finally, Ryan refuses to touch defense spending, retains tax breaks for oil companies that don’t need them, zeroes out the capital gains tax and finds his savings in programs by shredding the already hole-ridden safety net.

  150. @Genufett: And Ryan’s explanation for that is he was being a “team player.” I can only imagine how badly a Democrat would be savaged for flip flopping like that. Oh, wait, I don’t have to, I’ve seen it.

  151. Is the Ryan plan the right solution? There are things about it I don’t like. But I like that he put it out there, talked about it and debated it. It was also an opportunity for those who disagreed with the Ryan Plan to come up with a different one, maybe even a better one that addresses the problems now instead of later. I haven’t seen an alternative, better or worse, from anyone else yet. Maybe I’m just not looking in the right place.

    Todd, do you mean something like the Bernie Sanders plan I referred to in this very thread?

    Maybe I need to type louder or something.

  152. Re: hypoxia: Look! Kittens!

    But seriously. I think this pick will energize the far right wing, provide at least a short-term bump in the polls, and possibly take a little heat off of the calls for Romney to release his tax returns. Long-term, I believe they’re going to have to do a lot of spin over Ryan’s voting record and budget proposals in a way that will appease both the far right and attempt to keep the moderate vote.

    Now that the Olympics are over we can expect the news cycle to return to politics. (I say “expect.” It’ll happen, but there’s always something to temporarily distract like a natural disaster or other tragedy somewhere. Or kittens.) With the conventions around the corner, the rhetoric is going to pick up, and I expect it’ll get ugly.

    And maybe there was something symbolic about the fact the last budget the President submitted didn’t garner a single “Yay” vote the last time it went through both houses. Did it not get a single vote because it was regarded as an insincere effort, just “going through the motions?”

    @Todd: There’s a reason for that. Three, actually. First, the budgets presented as “the president’s budget” weren’t. They were shortened, topline versions. Second, they were presented as amendments to existing bills. Third, no Congressperson is going to vote for the budget exactly as proposed by the White House, as it would be seen as abdicating any Congressional budget authority to the President. And that’s not going to fly in the House no matter who sits in the Oval Office. No sir, not one bit. And people Rick Mulvaney and Jeff Sessions knew that. It was pure political grandstanding, partly so they could get “proof” that Obama’s budget proposal was so bad that even Reid and Pelosi voted against it. And if the GOP brings up that claim in the campaign, they’ll get some serious push back. But it won’t matter if their plan is to appeal to the far-right and ignore the middle. They will do so at their peril, though.

  153. I’m an independent and was meh between Obama and McCain in 2008. I voted for Obama primarily because I didn’t want there to be any chance whatsoever that Palin would get in or near the POTUS chair. She seriously terrifies me [present tense].

    This time I was leaning toward Obama again. The Republican candidates didn’t strike me as having much common sense. I think trickle down economics is a bunch of baloney. The R&R ticket isn’t going to bring the economy to the forefront — The Ryan Plan is naive in its best light. What R&R will most likely bring to the forefront is who gets to determine *which* [Christian] values are more important.

    1) Who gets to marry who
    2) What birth control is acceptable and who gets to determine women health issues
    3) Under what conditions (if any) is abortion acceptable
    4) How much help do the poor/disabled/elderly get (if any)
    5) Which social programs are acceptable losses (head start, reduced school lunches, etc…)

    Right now it looks like pro-life, anti-gay marriage is the running theme on the Republican ticket. Helping the poor, giving assistance to the disabled and taking care of our aging population is not.

    That line between church and state is getting thinner and thinner…but only in spots.

  154. Todd–
    1. Correct me if I am wrong, but Budget bills cannot be filibustered, they require only a simple majority to pass, right? Correct.
    2. And maybe there was something symbolic about the fact the last budget the President submitted didn’t garner a single “Yay” vote the last time it went through both houses. Did it not get a single vote because it was regarded as an insincere effort, just “going through the motions?” No–not an insincere effort or going through the motions, more of each side politically grandstanding to make points with the voters/avoiding getting hammered by the other side in future campaigns. The budget is a really complex document with lots of interlocking detail, generally prepared and submitted in an apolytical fashion (beyond supporting major administration themes–renovating infrastructure, increasing/decreasing defense spending as examples.) Battles fought out on specific line items rarely make the general news; your read about increasing/decreasing defense spending or controversal programs such as Missile Defense, not “Small Diameter Bomb Increment I Production Funding” or “E-3A Reengining RDT&E” (to pick a couple of efforts worth several billion dollars each). Their journey through the budget maze is dependent on the success/failure of the effort itself and political pressures from various constituencies. The strategic battles and political posturing between the parties, Administration/Congress is what dominates the news cycles.
    3. Has Obama even signed a budget, or is the government still running off extensions from the last budget Bush signed? Yes, Obama has signed budgets for FY2009-2012. The Congress has eventually passed Authorization and Appropriation Acts for each FY since he was inagurated Obama has signed (in reality there’s multiple Auth/App Acts, each covering some subset of the Federal government, each one independently fought over–there isn’t a single “Budget of the US”) (For FY13 the Congressional leadership has already agreed to pass a Continuing Resolution funding the government 1 Oct 2012 — 30 Mar 2013 without an approved budget to avoid having to pass a budget until well after this November’s elections, so there won’t be a set of budget bills under any circumstances for the next President to sign until late Spring.)

    The federal budget process–the administrative accounting, the process of the administration developing and submitting it to the Congress, and Congressional review/oversight and approval–is a chocolate mess, something no sane person would ever propose if they were interested in a sound, effective, efficient budgeting process. But a sound, effective, efficient budgeting process isn’t something we appear to want. Best to think of it as a mechanism developed to preserve the political power of various fiefdoms and funnel resources to desired areas that as an unintended consequence also funds government operations on a yearly basis.

  155. @cranapia,

    He’s also said he’s regretted his vote on the TARP Bill, and to be honest there have been a lot of politicians who have voted for something because it was better than doing nothing, or felt that once passed it could corrected/fixed at a later date, right? The Maine delegation comes to mind in that regard.

    Ryan wasn’t nominated on what he did during the Bush Years, he was nominated for what he’s done in the last three, right?

    “Passing bills via a simple majority, known as reconciliation, is valid for budget bills. BUT (a) it can only be used once per year, to prevent abuse by either the legislature or the president; and (b) it doesn’t have to be the budget bill. And there was a budget bill passed via reconciliation in 2010: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka PPACA, aka Obamacare.”

    Which wouldn’t have passed if reconciliation hadn’t been attached, right?

    @oldfeminist,

    To be honest as a socialist from New England Sanders isn’t on my personal political radar, and I was unaware of his proposal. Thanks for pointing it out. That it apparently has attracted very little political traction doesn’t bode well for it though IMO, and I don’t recall it being brought up as an alternative to the Ryan Budget Plan. Then again I rarely tune into CSPAN during debates, years of watching the House of Commons makes watching paint on a wall dry more fun than watching congress talk, for me anyways.

    Dav

  156. “To be honest as a socialist from New England Sanders isn’t on my personal political radar, and I was unaware of his proposal. Thanks for pointing it out. That it apparently has attracted very little political traction doesn’t bode well for it though IMO.”

    What do you think of it as an idea? Not its chances or its pedigree?

  157. He’s also said he’s regretted his vote on the TARP Bill, and to be honest there have been a lot of politicians who have voted for something because it was better than doing nothing, or felt that once passed it could corrected/fixed at a later date, right?

    Then the GOP can’t campaign against TARP without attacking their own candidates.

    Ryan wasn’t nominated on what he did during the Bush Years, he was nominated for what he’s done in the last three, right?

    Ryan wasn’t nominated (which happens at the convention), he was picked by the campaign. And the Romney wants to ignore the Bush years, then they’ll have to ignore the enormous deficit and the 900k/month job losses that were happening then, too. Which would mean they’re saying that Obama’s instituted a massive turnaround, and somehow I don’t see them admitting it (although Romney has since slipped up and indirectly admitted that he was using a double standard for his jobs record and Obama’s).

    Which wouldn’t have passed if reconciliation hadn’t been attached, right?

    Right. So the 2010 budget passed in 2009 (as it should), but the 2011 budget passed in 2011 (and not 2010) because reconciliation had already been used on a budget bill. The House was controlled by the GOP in 2011 and 2012, and did not provide a budget that a simple majority in the Senate would support to reconcile with their version (adapted from the President’s), thereby preventing the budget from going through.

  158. Oldfeminist:

    “Nit: Votes are recorded as Yea as in “Yea, verily.” Not Yay as in “Yay for ice cream.””

    I swear the next time I vote for anything, for the life of me, I’m not going to be able to figure out why I suddenly crave ice cream. Ice cream you say? But it’s 8AM! Yea, verily. I don’t know why.

  159. It’s pretty easy to judge Ryan based on his actual record, and not his apologia. If you like the following, then R&R is your ticket:
    Rated 0% by NARAL, indicating a pro-life voting record. (Dec 2003)
    Rated 100% by the NRLC, indicating a pro-life stance. (Dec 2006)
    Rated 13% by the ACLU, indicating an anti-civil rights voting record. (Dec 2002)
    Rated 0% by the HRC, indicating an anti-gay-rights stance. (Dec 2006)
    Rated 36% by NAACP, indicating a mixed record on affirmative-action. (Dec 2006)
    Rated 93% by the US COC, indicating a pro-business voting record. (Dec 2003)
    Rated 14% by UFCW, indicating a pro-management voting record. (May 2012)
    Rated 30% by CURE, indicating anti-rehabilitation crime votes. (Dec 2000)
    Rated -10 by NORML, indicating a “hard-on-drugs” stance. (Dec 2006)
    Rated 0% by the CAF, indicating opposition to energy independence. (Dec 2006)
    Rated 10% by the LCV, indicating anti-environment votes. (Dec 2003)
    Rated 13% by HSLF, indicating an anti-animal welfare voting record. (Jan 2012)
    Rated 91% by the Christian Coalition: a pro-[ed: heterosexual, Christian] Family-Value voting record. (Dec 2003)
    Rated 67% by CATO, indicating a pro-free trade voting record. (Dec 2002)
    Rated 11% by APHA, indicating a anti-public health voting record. (Dec 2003)
    Rated 22% by SANE, indicating a pro-military voting record. (Dec 2003)
    Rated 83% by USBC, indicating a sealed-border stance. (Dec 2006)
    Rated 7% by the AFL-CIO, indicating an anti-union voting record. (Dec 2003)
    Rated 0% by the AU, indicating opposition to church-state separation. (Dec 2006)
    Rated 10% by the ARA, indicating an anti-senior voting record. (Dec 2003)
    Rated 0% by the CTJ, indicating opposition to progressive taxation. (Dec 2006)
    Rated A by the NRA, indicating a pro-gun rights voting record.

    Ryan is Biden’s bizarro world opposite. Romney made his strategy pretty clear with this pick: women, queers, workers, minorities, sick people, disadvantaged children, seniors, plants, animals, air, water, and non-Christians can go pound sand. White, straight, Christian fetuses, the super wealthy, and polluting industries have a friend who will carry the shovel and hide the bodies, no questions asked.

    Ryan’s “Roadmap” is way down on the list of things I find appalling about him.

  160. Nice post, John. Substantially agree with most of it except about it being a positive for Ryan. Being Veep is a marginalized position; Ryan will have to support Romney’s plans (in a way, Romney’s distancing of the Ryan plan was accurate – veeps conform to the Big Guy’s agenda. not the other way around). And Ryan gives up coveted cmte seats in Congress, meaning conservatism has much less leverage over the policy, especially if Dems take the House. Ryan’s congressional career is over, unless he tries to keep his seat while he runs (not sure how that will work out, it is possible).

    overall, the pick might best be characterized as “President Obama selects Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney’s running mate” :)

  161. @Genufett:

    The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was passed with a regular vote 60-39. It was amended a week later by The Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 which was passed by reconciliation. Just to get all technical :).

  162. By and large, I have read many views of democrats (democratics?) on this pick and how they’re not going to vote for Romney now – as if… Despite my Cook County upbringing, I have never been a Democrat but I’m not Republican either. (Both parties drive me nuts.) My to reply to John: 1: Condolezza Rice is a far better pick for VP. If you read her auto-biography, you would see that she that she has the chops to be President and disagreed with Bush on plenty. She was just being a good team player. Rubio is just as inexperienced as Obama was when he ran. Huntsman would have been a better pick but you’re right. We have too many people who vote on religion and skin color. 2: Exactly where here is this rope-a-dope that you claim to see? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-lxg7XrF6I So far there have only been two adults who come to the table to address the financial problems that the three major unsustainable entitlement programs (Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid) : Paul Ryan and Ron Wyden. Everyone else wants to kick the can down the road. To do nothing, like most politicians want to do, leads the U.S. to European-style austerity for these programs in about twenty years. Implementing the ACA (AKA Obamacare) gets Medicare and Medicaid there even sooner. I don’t see Romney nor Obama doing anything to change this quite frankly. Taking Ryan out of the budget process is a great move for those who prefer the status quo. Ryan is going to have to sit on his hands now and STFU. I don’t see any other Republican filling the shoes for fiscal responsibility and certainly no Democrats other than Sen. Wyden. Please name some if you can. We’re in a world of financial deniers. Just look at the Farm Bill! Each party holds out for more and more spending and they’re willing to hold the country hostage until they get it. When our grandchildren go back to old newspapers to see where we went wrong, they’ll only see articles about tax-returns and transcripts. Sigh. Ryan’s a good pick for the Democrats but not for the reason they think.

  163. @azizhp: Wisconsin law allows Ryan to run for both Congress and Vice President, so if R&R lose, he can still win the Congressional race and stay in Congress. If R&R win, then his district will be up for a special election.

  164. @ Genufett,

    Oddly enough, Ryan is actually polling high amongst seniors at the moment, those numbers will no doubt change by election day.

    @ Oldfeminst

    “What do you think of it as an idea? Not its chances or its pedigree?” Well, if it were a good idea it would have gotten more traction…the Democratic Party could have used that plan as its own plan, to give a concrete example of what they would do differently than the Ryan plan. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, they didn’t, and your left with stuff like Geithner’s quote as a rebuttal to the Ryan Plan.
    I think Simpsons raising the cap gradually had potential, the counterargument I think you’d get is those some people who are being affected by the rising cap can make an argument that they are already paying a disproportionate amount of the income already in income and other taxes. The problem with his plan (and Ryans Plan, and frankly everybody’s plan in Washington IMO) is that he’s relying on an expected average when computing his numbers, and makes no allowances for when that average falls short. His numbers are based on a 4% rise in the AWI for the life of the bill, but what happens in years when the growth rate doesn’t meet that, or even falls below it. Sure, it’s standard practice, but good? FL Transplant could probably answer that better ;-)

  165. Mark W:
    Condolezza Rice is a far better pick for VP. If you read her auto-biography, you would see that she that she has the chops to be President and disagreed with Bush on plenty. She was just being a good team player.

    She – and to a much lesser extent Colin Powell – were burecratically overmatched by Rumsfeld and failed to provide emphatic enough support for their positions on several key points. Good team player is weasel words for failing to go to the mat on some key mistaken decisions they knew were mistakes.

    She also has nearly zero domestic policy background.

    She also is very unmarried, with a country (and particularly party) as yet as a total unwilling to overlook what the eventual answer will be there.

    Time and experience could fix a lot of this but she seems to like what she’s gone back to doing now. She has smarts and character and integrity. I am glad she is around and have some hope for the future. But this is not her year, as she knows and has articulated.

  166. @Todd:

    He’s also said he’s regretted his vote on the TARP Bill, and to be honest there have been a lot of politicians who have voted for something because it was better than doing nothing, or felt that once passed it could corrected/fixed at a later date, right?

    Ah, so Paul Ryan – the darling of the theo-cons and the Tea Party – gets a pass that wasn’t extended to Richard Luger, whose voting record on immigration, gun control and voting to confirm Obama nominees to the Supreme Court was not only highly relevant but unforgivable. And since you brought up Maine – gee, if Olympia Snowe has a dime for every far-right shit list she’s landed on over the years, she’d be richer than God.

    Ryan wasn’t nominated on what he did during the Bush Years, he was nominated for what he’s done in the last three, right?

    Well, you’d have to ask Romney and his advisers that, but as long as Ryan is being held up as the only person on either ticket with serious credibility as a fiscal conservative it’s perfectly legitimate to hold his record up against the PR puffery and spin.

  167. @Mark

    you keep saying the Ryan budget is a serious attempt. but any reasonable analysis indicates it’s not.

    * it merely guts Social Security (that is solvent and can easily be patched for the next 78 years by lifting the wage cap).
    * it does not fix Medicare. it leaves it untouched for people in the system as they want to avoid alienating the old retired voting block, but changes it for everyone else into a voucher system that is explicitly designed to not keep up with cost increases. it also does 0 to bend the cost curve. The US spends more on healthcare per capita then the rest of the world, and has worst health care. this solution will only make it worse
    * it guts Medicaid. slashing it and changing it to a block system. most people don’t understand that medicaid benefits both lower income and middle class retired and disabled people, and middle class people with dependents that are old, retired, disabled who are benefiting from dual eligibility.

    so. no. the Ryan budget is not serious. it’s a fantasy. and it’s projecting a philosophy that has been shown it will never work in the real world

  168. So. no. the Ryan budget is not serious. it’s a fantasy. and it’s projecting a philosophy that has been shown it will never work in the real world.

    A good analysis of the Ryan proposals here:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/business/print/2012/03/the-worst-part-of-paul-ryans-budget/254845/

    I want to direct your attention to the “All Else” category on the far right. This section includes all defense spending and other programs like unemployment insurance, the department of education, and the FBI. Even more than Medicare and Medicaid reforms, this might be the most controversial part of the Ryan plan. In Ryan’s 2050 budget, the “All Else” category shrinks to 3.75% of GDP. How small is 3.75%? Let’s put it this way: Mitt Romney has proposed defense spending at 4% of GDP … and defense spending makes up only about half of this category! Ryan’s own ten-year projection doesn’t let defense spending fall below 3%. It’s unlikely he wants it to fall much further. That would leave 0.75% of GDP to do everything else. Today, 0.75% of GDP is about $100 billion. That is about as much as we spend on education and vocational training in the discretionary budget, as Michael Linden of the Center for American Progress pointed out. Imagine if everything else disappeared. It would leave nothing for infrastructure. Nothing for unemployment insurance. Nothing for food stamps. Nothing for border patrol. Nothing for the FDA, FAA, or FBI. Nothing for research and development. Nothing, even, to pay people to work in government! Do you think it’s important to support our veterans with health care, education, and retirement security? Sorry. Veterans programs currently cost more than 1% of our GDP. There would be no room.

  169. @Eleanor, on the very distant chance that you’re following comments on this thread, still, after you 8/11 post, the New Yorker had a piece on Paul Ryan that might have more on him than that Wikipedia article. It didn’t seem ideological in nature but straight reporting… although I can appreciate how that sounds very naive on my part.

  170. @SV

    “it merely guts Social Security (that is solvent and can easily be patched for the next 78 years by lifting the wage cap).”

    If it was such an easy fix, it would have been implemented by now, by either party when they had majorities in both houses, and it would be a political boon for whichever party did pass it for numerous elections to follow.

    Dav

  171. @Todd, lifting the wage cap is the equivalent of raising taxes. No one wants that on their watch.

  172. Todd, the fix is really that simple’ the allergy of the Republican s to taxes hikes makes it politically impossible as they keep claiming social security is broken, so fixing it is not on the republican agenda.

    Also I think ms. Rice is pro choice so again is not acceptable to the Rs.

  173. Can people please stop saying “if it was that simple it would already have been done”? There’s very strong evidence that that is not the case in the USA government. It would almost appear to be the case that simple, effective solutions cannot ever be passed but complex problems can be created out of thin air very easily. Compare the simplicity of the New Zealand ACC system with the struggles Obamacare has had, then see the rapid passage of the “Invade Afghanistan” plan [1]. When it’s hard to find an advanced economy with a worse healthcare system than the USA you surely have to know you’ve done something wrong.

    J.D. Rhoades: that quote from The Atlantic I think sums up Ryan very well. The closer you look the worse his plan seems.

    [1] the cliche that politicians are always keen to use an approach that has been tried repeatedly and always failed is never more true than “invade Afghanistan”.

  174. If it was such an easy fix, it would have been implemented by now, by either party when they had majorities in both houses, and it would be a political boon for whichever party did pass it for numerous elections to follow.

    Oh, dude, really? I think that any chance you had at credibility went right out the window. Hint: there are lots of easy fixes that people of various parties find anathema. I’ll pick on the GOP, because they’re just appallingly stupid about this, but any easy fix that requires any kind of tax increase is right off the table.

    And, no, you can’t change your definition of “easy” to include “stuff that one party is rabidly against for no reason other than electoral politics.”

  175. To Ken C and crypticmirror, let me just say that if there is a different route away from the fiscal cliff, let’s hear it. It’s a third rail issue, and the Republicans have staked out a position on it. Not a firm one, since Ryan was working with Ron Wyden on a compromise plan, but they are engaged on this issue. Where is the Democratic Party on this? If they think Simpson-Bowles is too extreme, I doubt they are going to actually come up with an alternate plan that addresses these issues.

    And addressing these issues is the moral position. There is nothing moral about driving the car right off the cliff.

  176. One of the more intriguing idea for fixing SS I came across was a 2% increase in the tax rate over 20 years, implemented at the rate of 1/10% per year. Because inflation would increase salaries more than this, the net cost would the equivalent of 40 cents per person per week. And it would secure SS through 2083.

    Now whether this is politically feasible is another matter.

    Speaking of political feasibility, the idea that the Ryan budget plan would just be swept in on the strength of GOP certitude is not even worth considering. Oh, he might get a few things in there, but Congress makes the budget and dealing with 535 legislators with all sorts of competing interests is death to any presidential budget passing intact.

    The difficulty of changing domestic matters is one of the reasons Presidents get more involved in foreign matters — there’s a good deal more freedom to act there.

  177. It’s too late and hot for me to do much political thought at the moment, but I will add my appreciation for your quote re: Rand. I remember going through OKC profiles with a friend, and auto-rejecting anyone who listed her in his “favorites” list, because…no. Just no.

  178. Thank you John, “meretricious” has to be the best ever one-word description of Paul Ryan’s budget. I am reminded as to why I always enjoy your writing. On the Gingrich note, I might say that Ryan is perhaps what a person who is not good at math thinks is a smart person. That is perhaps why the media love him so much, and also how I think the debates will go: Ryan will spout lots of numbers and percentages and “closing loopholes”. All of which will be utter rubbish to anyone who can fact check, but the far right will love it, and the media will praise his “brave” positions.
    According to the Guardian, Rupert Murdoch approves of this choice for VP – so, is it wrong of me to imagine that means he had nothing incriminating on his voicemail?
    I wanted to add that you can find research that suggests the posters who point out that removing the cap on SS contributions would make it solvent for the foreseeable future seem to be right (perhaps with some cost control too) and that this is really back on the topic of Paul Ryan’s budget: I think that the goal of many people who say they want to “fix” SS is not to save it, but to eliminate it (at least in its present form).

  179. Andy, here is another “meretricious” for you from George Will.

    “Romney embraced Ryan after the sociopathic — indifferent to the truth — ad for Barack Obama that is meretricious about every important particular of the death from cancer of the wife of steelworker Joe Soptic. Obama’s desperate flailing about to justify four more years has sunk into such unhinged smarminess that Romney may have concluded: There is nothing Obama won’t say about me, because he has nothing to say for himself, so I will chose a running mate whose seriousness about large problems and ideas underscores what the president has become — silly and small.

  180. clambson, I didn’t see anything in the George Will quote indicating that political discourse was at an all time low. He just said that Obama’s Cancer ad was sociopathic, indifferent to the truth, and meretricious.

    You on the other hand, said Romney is against old people, young people, plants, air, water, non-Christian fetuses, the underprivileged, women, workers, sick people, blah, blah, blah.

    Seriously, “He hates plants, and water, and air.” doesn’t add much to the whole political debate.

  181. I’ve read a number of viewpoints on the Ryan pick and this so far is one of the best laid out and even-handed. One of the points I have seen that strikes a chord with me is Ryan’s star power burns far brighter than Romney’s. He did bring some spark to the ticket, but it’s possible he brought more than he needed. Now it really can look like people voting for Ryan and “that guy next to him”.

  182. Is it really a foregone conclusion that Ryan will win re-election is his congressional district? Sure, he’ll get tons of free publicity (not that he needs it, his war chest dwarfs that of his opponent), and locals sometimes like “their” guy being on the big stage BUT every stupid thing he has ever said or will say will also get lots of publicity and locals don’t like being embarrassed by “their” guy (yes, lots of comebacks come to mind for that one…). Still, if local polling shows him behind or perhaps even in a close race in his district, that will play very, very badly nationally.

  183. (re: George Will: How can a video be sociopathic? Are political ads people too now, like PACs and corporations? Honestly, he used to make sense; I didn’t agree with him most of the time, but he made sense. Over the years he’s devolved into a thesaurus-molesting caricature of himself.)

    On topic: Obama does have ideas on how to balance the budget; for one, he wants to raise taxes on the wealthy. You may hate the concept, but it is indisputably a proposal that would reduce the deficit.

    Ryan came onto my radar when he came out with his plan; the more I see of him, the more he strikes me as Sarah Palin, minus the blithering idiocy. I’m hoping Ryan will turn out to be just as toxic as she was. Obama might be able to ram some kind of effective surplus through Congress.

    I’m not wildly enthusiastic about Obama, but cutting taxes for the wealthy while gutting unemployment, food stamps, etc. isn’t going to do jack.

  184. If it was such an easy fix, it would have been implemented by now, by either party when they had majorities in both houses, and it would be a political boon for whichever party did pass it for numerous elections to follow.

    The GOP has spent the last three years making out a law that is extremely similar to their own publicly stated health care reform ideas from the 1990s–including the individual mandate–to be worse than Stalin, Hitler, and Osama bin Laden combined. Why, exactly, do you think they would make anything “easy”, especially if they knew the President would get the lion’s share of the credit?

  185. Paul Ryan’s Extreme Abortion Views

    [O]n abortion and women’s health care, there isn’t much daylight between Ryan and, say, Michele Bachmann. Any Republican vice-presidential candidate is going to be broadly anti-abortion, but Ryan goes much further. He believes ending a pregnancy should be illegal even when it results from rape or incest, or endangers a woman’s health. He was a cosponsor of the Sanctity of Human Life Act, a federal bill defining fertilized eggs as human beings, which, if passed, would criminalize some forms of birth control and in vitro fertilization. The National Right to Life Committee has scored his voting record 100 percent every year since he entered the House in 1999. “I’m as pro-life as a person gets,” he told The Weekly Standard’s John McCormack in 2010. “You’re not going to have a truce.”
    [...]
    This disregard for the exigencies of women’s lives—the dismissal of their choices as amoral exercises of “arbitrary will”—was thrown into high relief during his 1998 run for congress against Democrat Lydia Spottswood. Both candidates backed a ban on so-called partial-birth abortion, but Spottswood believed there should be exceptions in cases where a woman’s life or health is endangered. “Ryan said he opposes abortion, period,” reported the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “He said any exceptions to a ‘partial-birth’ abortion ban would make that ban meaningless.”

    During that campaign, Ryan also expressed his willingness to let states criminally prosecute women who have abortions. According to another Journal Sentinel article, he “would let states decide what criminal penalties would be attached to abortions. Ryan said he has never specifically advocated jailing women who have abortions or doctors who perform them, but added, ‘If it’s illegal, it’s illegal.’”

  186. Paul Ryan traded on insider information to avoid 2008 crash

    Ryan attended a closed meeting with congressional leaders, Bush’s Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on September 18, 2008. The purpose of the meeting was to disclose the coming economic meltdown and beg Congress to pass legislation to help collapsing banks.

    Instead of doing anything to help, Ryan left the meeting and on that very same day Paul Ryan sold shares of stock he owned in several troubled banks and reinvested the proceeds in Goldman Sachs, a bank that the meeting had disclosed was not in trouble.

    Kinda explains his TARP vote…

  187. Maskirovka: Will is struggling to find words that haven’t already been applied to the Romney ads. “Mendacious” and “grotesquely, pants-on-fire, Pinocchio’s nose just punched a hole in the wall misleading” were already taken. [http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/robert-schlesinger/2012/08/08/lies-damned-lies-and-mitt-romneys-ads]

    This is going to be a very exciting campaign, I think. Obama’s already compared it to the Jefferson-Adams race, which was brutal. I doubt R&R will dare put out an ad that calls Obama “a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father,” nor will Obama/Biden call Romney (or Ryan) “a hideous hermaphroditical character with neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman,” but no doubt it will be close. Ah, well, a girl can’t have everything…

  188. “A Hideous Hermaphroditical Character with Neither the Force and Firmness of a Man, nor the Gentleness and Sensibility of a Woman” is the name of my new transgender Capitol Steps cover band.

  189. The only reason Romney picked Paul Ryan is because Obama has gotten a little bit of a lead in the last few weeks. If the race was still neck and neck I think he would have chosen a more moderate candidate. Romney has run a very conservative campaign. By conservative I don’t mean tea party conservative, I mean being averse to risk taking. With 8.5% unemployment he was basically trying to run a ‘fire Obama campaign’. An election against a sitting president, is always in large part a referendum on the sitting president. Should we fire the guy we have and replace him with someone else or are things relatively ok, so lets keep him. Then the 2nd question goes to ‘is the other guy good enough to replace him with.

    With 8.5% unemployment for years on end, you should be able to make the case of ‘fire the guy we have’. This kind of case is made to swing voters, since ‘we’ (yes I am one of them) are the king makers. The left can go ‘Bush sucks, look what he left us’ all he wants, but that was 4 years ago to us.

    I think the problem that Romney is running into is that he isn’t running on the 2nd question, ‘ok, what we have now is bad, but are you better?’. He doesn’t even try to answer that question. He waffles on answers, does not present a plan, and flip flops on issues. He is basically running a wimps campaign. I have seen this kind of wimp campaign work for both democrats and republicans in lesser elections ,but this is national. He has to appeal to a wider variety of people.

    So I think he picked Paul Ryan to energize his base, get more donations, and get a higher turnout. He is now trying to win on turnout AND may finally stop being a wimp and present a plan of some sort other than ‘Obama Sucks’.

    All this being said, VPs don’t do anything. OK, Cheney had power, but he had what Bush gave him. I don’t think Joe Biden does much of anything that I can see. Odds are Paul Ryan would be a figure head used to negotiate with the Republicans in Congress. That is how it normally is.

    Romney will get a bounce out of the Republican convention and may take a lead. The real polls don’t really matter until about a week after the democratic primary when people can see both conventions in perspective.

    I also think that Obama has 1 more thing on his side. The tea party concerns moderates. They have taken over the republican party. As a moderate, I am stuck with candidates that the righties and lefties present to me. So I prefer that neither party control both houses and the presidency (that goes for 2008 btw as well). There is a VERY high probability that republicans can take the Senate given that so many more democratic seats are up than republican and this has me concerned. I think that Obama will run on this and it will help him.

    All this being said, if the economy gets more bad news, I don’t think it will matter. 4 years and still at 8.5% unemployment is cause to fire the guy who is there. I don’t care if you think its because Bush sucked or because Republicans won’t work with him. He isn;t getting stuff done. That is what matters more than fault. If we get some half way decent news or it stays the same, Obama has a shot. However, this will be close.

    One comment about what John said about the weak republicans. Biden is a strong vice president? Ok he has been around a while and I do not question that he knows the issues. However, he puts his foot in his mouth. Likeability and preception are very important. I do not think that Biden is all that impressive. However, I don’t think VPs do anything anyway. So it doesn’t matter.

  190. Hey Other Bill, if you’re still around, I just saw on CNN that Barney Frank gave Paul Ryan some friendly advice early in his Congressional career to become an expert on one topic, i.e. the budget, rather than trying to be an expert on everything. Talk about politics making interesting bedfellows!

  191. I seriously doubt that Condoleezza Rice would have accepted the position of Romney’s running mate if asked. She obviously supports Romney, and will speak on his behalf, but she also clearly has no desire to run for elective office at this point in her life. She seemed relieved just to be out of the Bush administration.

  192. Pick demonstrates to me that Republicans would rather “energize the base” than “appeal to the independents”. It is the same strategy that failed for McCain since “energizing the base” also energizes the democratic base. But until Republicans are able to split from the tea party and right wing evangelicals, seems like this is how they are going to play the game for the foreseeable future.

  193. My first thought on the Ryan nomination was “Game, set and match.”

    I think Ryan is a great choice for Obama–Romney hasn’t release a budget with any sort of details since the election season started. Ryan has a major, toxic fear inducing budget named after him that has been brought to the floor of the House and voted for by every Republican there.

    Most people will know what the Ryan budget is–how nasty it is–and that their local congress critter voted for or against it. I think it will even hurt down ticket, some.

    The hardline anti-abortion stance is gravy.

    The fact that Ryan’s budget plan says Mitt’s fair share in taxes on $21M in income is 0.82% is the cherry on top…

    I think the Republican’s will be beat black and blue, top to bottom, with the Ryan budget.

  194. Ron Wyden Distances Himself From Paul Ryan, Says Mitt Romney Is ‘Talking Nonsense’

    “Governor Romney is talking nonsense,” Wyden said in an emailed statement Saturday night. “Bipartisanship requires that you not make up the facts. I did not ‘co-lead a piece of legislation.’ I wrote a policy paper on options for Medicare.”

    Wyden noted he had spoken and voted against the Medicare provisions in the Ryan budget. “Governor Romney needs to learn you don’t protect seniors by makings things up, and his comments sure won’t help promote real bipartisanship,” he added.

    Wyden and Ryan did collaborate on a policy paper in December, proposing that seniors be given a choice between traditional Medicare coverage and an alternative private plan. Wyden’s decision to team up with Ryan resulted in a fair amount of criticism from fellow Democrats, prompting him to defend the collaboration in a 2,380-word op-ed published on The Huffington Post.

    In the opinion piece, the Oregon senator clearly stated that the Wyden-Ryan approach was “simply a policy paper intended to start a conversation about how Democrats and Republicans might work together to uphold the Medicare Guarantee” and made it clear the proposal would in no way eliminate the traditional Medicare plan.

    Wyden also took issue with Romney in the March op-ed, stating, “Mitt Romney, for example, claims to have helped write Wyden-Ryan even though I have never spoken to him about Medicare reform and have yet to hear him declare that there should always be a role for traditional government-run Medicare.”

    Wyden added that even if House Republicans incorporated the joint Medicare proposal in their budget, he couldn’t “imagine a scenario” in which he would support that budget as a whole.

  195. Genufett:

    I appreciate your enthusiasm, but it’s not necessary to drop news updates into the thread unless it’s directly on point to what you and others are discussing.

  196. Eridani says:
    I had never heard the name Paul Ryan before. In reading up on him, he’s ultra pro-life. Which, while I respect that point of view, means that I will be actively voting against him. When it’s just Bob on the street who feels that way, I’m good with it. To each their own. When it’s a guy who wants to – and can and will – legislate away my choices, I am no longer good with it.

    christy says:
    And it’s frustrating all by itself that they all seem to think that they have the right to be in our places of worship and our bedrooms.

    East Coast Girl says:
    August 12, 2012 at 12:07 pm
    I’m an independent and was meh between Obama and McCain in 2008. I voted for Obama primarily because I didn’t want there to be any chance whatsoever that Palin would get in or near the POTUS chair. She seriously terrifies me [present tense].

    Yes, yes, and yes! I’m right there next to each of you.

    While the addition of Ryan to the GOP ticket will most likely sway my mother to vote for Romney when she was on the verge of being scared away from this election, it’s solidified my decision to re-register as an Independent and vote Democrat for the second time in a Presidential election.

  197. Mithras: “Wow, I’m guessing it was Paul Ryan who stole your Cheerios this morning. Nice work Scalzi.”

    I always wonder what this kind of comment means.

    What is the “correct” response to someone being nominated for VP after having put forth a budget plan you think is extremely shortsighted, if not actually malicious? After having staked out a position to the right of the Pope on birth control and abortion?

    “Golly jeepers I hope this all turns out okay,” munch munch munch on the Cheerios.

    What is the rhetorical point of “u mad?”

  198. Guess —

    4 years and still at 8.5% unemployment is cause to fire the guy who is there. I don’t care if you think its because Bush sucked or because Republicans won’t work with him. He isn;t getting stuff done. That is what matters more than fault.

    The point at which I disagree with your logic is that “firing the guy who is there” means letting the other guys back in. You know, the ones who created that problem in the first place. If we had a viable multi-party system, then I could totally support people deciding, okay, Party A had their try and ruined things, and Party B hasn’t managed to fix it, so now let’s try Party C and see if they do better. But saying “Obama hasn’t managed to drive us out of this ravine they got us into, so let’s go back to the people whose plan is to drive further into it” doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

  199. @ Marie Brennan: A point which seems to be lost on a vast number of possible voters. Take that, can it, ship it all over the country, and maybe eventually something will turn around… possibly. But at least it won’t get worse.

  200. @Kilroy

    you do know that the only reason unemployment is high is because the government has been shrinking faster then the private sector has been growing. the unemployment numbers are unable to come down any faster because of the austerity program put in place by budget cuts at the state level. isn’t it a republican goal to shrink the government? if so, Obama has been a better president then Reagan or Bush (sr) for conservative causes. He has held back government growth more then others

    Obama has created more private sector jobs then quite a few presidents…. the usual practice is to raise government spending during a recession so as to cushion the impact of the private sector job loss. however, the inadequate stimulus and too early austerity is holding back the economy from recovering as well as it can.

  201. @ S V: please don’t make me defend republicans. Because that’s just not true. Under Clinton, government shrank quite a bit. under Bush II, federal employment remained pretty static. Under Obama, government employment has been increasing in size again. Up from about 4.2 million to 4.45 million. There is enough truth to support Obama that we don’t need to rely on incorrect information.

  202. bah, using information that only goes through end of 2010 and can’t find anything newer. I retract my point as I can’t find current support either way.

  203. @Marie Brennan
    I remember a satellite interview on the Daily Show, when Obama was still a senator, in which he compared the problems of the Bush administration (possibly the Iraq war specifically, can’t recall), to a bus that had been driven into a ditch. First thing he said was “fire the bus driver”.

    At this point, Obama’s the tow truck driver. It’s a deep, muddy ditch, and buses are heavy, so it’s proving difficult to pull the damn thing out. On top of that, the bus driver’s buddies have hunkered down in front of the tow truck like Arthur Dent in front of a bulldozer, while loudly complaining about the crappy tow guy who can’t pull one oversized bus out of a deep, muddy ditch.

  204. @Billy Quiets – I think it’s easy to wind up just seeing politics and forget that the people behind them all work colleagues. Honestly, whether I agreed with Frank’s politics or not, I’d definitely take advantage of working in the same space to get some tricks and tips of the game from its veterans.

    I remember just after Ryan’s budget came out people were surprised to see him and President Clinton chatting it up at an event.

  205. One thing to keep in mind, Kilroy, is that gov’t layoffs include state and local workers as well, not just federal. I know we just lost a ton of state and local workers to layoffs here in my area.

  206. @Peyton Thought we were just talking Federal since Obama doesn’t have much to do with local and state governments.

  207. I was in a fraternity in College, and Paul Ryan remindes me of a certain, fairly common form of frat boy. Ambitious, and sucessful in certain aspects of college life. They get good grades, but don’t really apply themselves.. People seem to love them, because they are tall, and good looking, and that seems like the socially correct thing to do in most situations. My relationship with all of these guys follows the same pattern. Initially I hate them, because thier entire focus is on short term popularity, and sucess.

    Then, I come to respect them, because, dispite values dissonance, it seems like they are very genuine, and willing to work hard in support of thier short term goals. These are the guys that will stay up all night working on the homecoming float, or work 10 times as hard as anyone else to plan a party, and maximize everyone’s enjoyment. They aren’t mean spirited, and generally treat everyone very well.

    Then I come to hate them again, because of the unwarranted sway thier ideas have. They support ideas that maximize the gain of thier friends, while overlooking the costs to everyone else, but because of the image of the guy as someone who’s approval you crave, people are eager to embrace othewise foolhardy ideas, and it is contageous, and much more rational ideas or rejected, because of the person advocating them.

    I’ve used the coloqualism “Dude, Bro” to describe them, but other people tend to use that term for people that are far more party animals.

    I haven’t been inclined to support Mitt Romney, but in many ways I’ve felt like his core values mirrorred mine, even if he tried hard to hide them. Paul Ryan on the other hand, seems to have core values that are at war with my view of how I see the future of America. I would like his political sway to be squashed like a bug. People brand him as “A different type of politician”. I can kinda see that, and while modern politicians (Romney, Obama) are absolutely dispicable, to me Paul Ryan is worse.

  208. I don’t know if I agree that Biden will eat Ryan’s lunch during the debate. He didn’t crush Palin and she isn’t near as informed as Ryan.

  209. It turns out all the writing about Paul Ryan and his “obsession” with Ayn Rand is just one more leftie, partisan myth. Lie is better but I’m trying to be polite.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/297023/ryan-shrugged-robert-costa

    These Rand-related slams, Ryan says, are inaccurate and part of an effort on the left to paint him as a cold-hearted Objectivist. Ryan’s actual philosophy, as reported by my colleague, Brian Bolduc, couldn’t be further from the caricature. As a practicing Roman Catholic, Ryan says, his faith and moral values shape his politics as much as his belief in freedom and capitalism does.

    “I, like millions of young people in America, read Rand’s novels when I was young. I enjoyed them,” Ryan says. “They spurred an interest in economics, in the Chicago School and Milton Friedman,” a subject he eventually studied as an undergraduate at Miami University in Ohio. “But it’s a big stretch to suggest that

    Yes, like a lot of us he was inspired in his youth by Ayn’s books and then outgrew them. Millions of us were inspired by Star Trek and John Scalzi books (;P) and then outgrew them because they’re for children or the child-at-heart. But it does give one a different view on life. Albeit a simplistic, comic book hero view.

    Getting to the bottom of the lies and slander put out by this odious administration is hard. Obama’s campaign is arguably the worst, most desperate, most angry and hateful presidential campaign ever run.

    Which is why he has to go.

    Keep it classy, Lefties.

  210. Scorpius:

    You’re aware that you’re linking to the same link I linked to in the entry, correct?

    On the subject of Ryan’s renunciation of Ms. Rand, here’s an interesting take from The New Yorker. It appears skeptical of Ryan’s latter-day distancing from Rand.

    As I noted in the entry itself, I am perfectly happy if Ryan wants to publicly distance himself from Rand, whose political posturing is best read when one is fifteen and one’s view of the world can be as uncomplicated as Rand’s fictional worlds are. I do think Ryan’s economic plans are far closer to Rand’s than not, however, so there may be some time lag there.

    That said, Scorpius, if you think the Obama Administration trying to tie Ryan to Rand constitutes actual slander (or libel), you should probably look up what both of those terms mean, from a legal point of view.

  211. @JRell: I don’t know if I agree that Biden will eat Ryan’s lunch during the debate. He didn’t crush Palin and she isn’t near as informed as Ryan.

    Biden had a couple of problems with Palin that he won’t have with Ryan. First, Ryan doesn’t have Palin’s folksy charm (or whatever you want to call it). Second, Ryan’s not a woman and not a Washington outsider. There was real concern that if Biden metaphorically slapped Palin around in the debates then there would be a backlash (“I guess we can see what the Democratic party really thinks about women”. “Oooh, look the Washington insider doesn’t like the woman who understands our values. How typical“).

    I think that both of them were helped by lowish expectations. People expected Biden to say something hilariously Bidenesque and people expected Palin to blink confusedly at the camera for 45 minutes, say “Ya betcha” a couple of times, and then kill a moose.

    Ryan has actually been built up as this wonkish, budget expert. People are going to expect a lot more of him than they did of Palin. Biden, OTOH, can take the gloves off and smack him around (assuming you believe he’s capable of that) and, as long as he doesn’t drop a Joe-bomb in the middle of the debate, can win.

  212. I’ve been reading up on Ryan’s plan for Medicare. It looks as though I’ll be – as someone above prosaically put it – one of the last out of Hanoi, and my husband will be stuck with the Ryan plan. It may be fine and dandy if he remains as healthy as he is now. What happens if he is diagnosed with, say, prostate cancer before the median age of 67? Will a private insurer take him? If so, can we afford the premiums?

  213. People expected Biden to say something hilariously Bidenesque

    The thing is, at least recently, “hilariously Bidenesque” doesn’t really mean foot-in-mouth disease, it means letting slip that the President has a 21st-century perspective on gays being second-class citizens.

  214. @ Todd: “The last time Obama talked about the economy was in June, and that speech was devoid of anything specific, other than “They’re ideas are bad, mine are good.” For Obama to talk about a budget, he has to have one to talk about, which he hasn’t had for over three years.”

    Can you stop repeating this distortion? The Administration has a budget. It submits one every year. It is even provided publicly on the White House website (http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Overview) and has numbers and explanations of its policies. The President has presented a budget every single year the current administration has been in office. Congress has not passed a budget. You can claim the the proposed budget was not strong or would not reduce deficits, but to claim that the President has not proposed budgets while in office is erroneous.

  215. @Kilroy

    here you go:

    http://mediamatters.org/research/2012/05/29/government-employment-drops-under-obama-but-med/181931

    now this only adds up if you add state as well as fed. most of the cutting as been at the state level. (iirc the fed has grown). the overall sum of government employment is down.

    @Scorpius

    how can one claim to be building a budget influenced by his Catholic upbringing when it has been condemned by the Catholic Bishops organization (a group that is very conservative) as immoral. So I think it may be more appropriate to say that Ryan is more influenced by Rand then Catholicism

  216. Of course, knowing how things in Washington work, I’d be very surprised if Ryan’s Medicare plan makes it through intact, even if the GOP wins the White House and a majority in Congress. And if it does happen, it’ll be modified. Still, once the details of Ryan’s plan start getting further disseminated, I suspect voters over 50 will be rather concerned. Unfortunately, while they’re technically Boomers, too many are out of work or underemployed.

  217. @Julie: Actually, his plan keeps Medicare for those 55 or older. For everyone else, there’s privatized vouchers that are not tied to inflation, which among other things also requires that retirees pay the difference.

  218. Other Bill, I couldn’t agree more. If Barney Frank wants to do someone the favor of imparting advice about having a successful congressional career, only a fool wouldn’t listen. Like I said, he’s sharp.

  219. Wow, scorpius, I think some of the spittle from your comment almost hit me.

    I didn’t realize being called a Randian was quite so odious, but its good to have your endorsement. I wouldn’t let the othe Libertarians know, though.

  220. @Genufett Yes, but there are situations where one spouse will get the current plan and another won’t. That’s my point. And since those vouchers are privatized, does that mean they insurers can pull the “pre-existing condition” card? That’s worrisome. And why I think everyone over 50 (and maybe younger) will have grave concerns about this plan.

  221. @ Julie – And since those vouchers are privatized, does that mean they insurers can pull the “pre-existing condition” card?

    No, I don’t think so. There will be “Medicare exchanges” and they’ll have to insure everyone who is eligible and charge the same price for people of the same age. There are problems with the Ryan plan, but I don’t think that this is one of them.

  222. @AlanM

    the main problem with all the Republican healthcare plans is they do nothing to bend the cost curve and assume the panacea of the “free-market” will bring down healthcare costs. We currently have one cost efficient health care system in this country – that is Medicare / Medicaid. Which you know what, looks awfully like Single Payer health care. Countries with single payer health care – Israel, Canada, UK – spend less then us per capita on health care and have better health care then us. this tells you about the gross inefficiencies in certain types of services provided by a for-profit private sector compared to the government.

    I see the ACA as a step in the right direction. But my true hope is we get to single payer at some point. Even if it’s by expanding Medicare eligibility and allowing people to buy in to Medicare.

  223. They might not be able to deny coverage due to a pre-existing condition, but I can’t imagine how high the premiums for coverage would be. Pooling risk doesn’t work so well when everyone in the pool is relatively high risk.

    Personally I think this will deliver Florida for Obama and doesn’t do much to get Wisconsin for Romney. Plus Ryan is very socially conservative which will probably hurt more than help.

  224. Those privatized vouchers aren’t going to help many people. They’re indexed to inflation, and we all know how the rate of inflation has outpaced medical costs.

    Wait a minute. Reverse that. ;-)

    S V has a point.

  225. I would think that the malignancy of government would be obvious. The right does not believe in the inerrancy of private enterprise. The philosophy is simply that it works, however imperfect. It encourages diversity of direction; it rewards success and terminates failure. It evolves to meet changing conditions.

    The principle difference between the depression and the current situation is that today business is in pretty good shape. Today governments, from city to national, have operated in such an irresponsible manner that they are beyond broke and are not learning from the mistakes. During the depression, some businessmen had the decency to jump out of windows. Today the politicians are running for reelection. If the majority thinks government holds answers, then we will get what the majority deserves.

    I am not in love with Romney or Ryan but voting for the incumbent says you approve of current performance. That I cannot do.

    Cheers,
    Rod

  226. Ya know, I can understand Ayn Rand and even have some compassion for her. I think her political views are about as developed as a young boy such as Jack Merridew might come up with, but I can see how she got there. Born in Russian in 1905, she saw her father’s pharmacy confiscated by the Bolsheviks, and her family fled the area. They returned when Ayn Rand was 16. She enrolled in university, and then she was purged just before graduating. She was eventually allowed to graduate.

    That alone would be enough to make many a young child hate government of any form. Throw in the chaos that was attached to the Russian Revolution and Lenin, the establishment of the Cheka (secret police), government control of all media, the February revolution, the October revolution, the Red Terror, yada, yada. She didn’t leave Russia until 1925, when she was 20 years old. I dare anyone to live through that from the age of 12 to 16 and not come out severely disaffected by it all.

    I do not find it surprising at all that her novels portray government as capable of being nothing more than a team of thugs, crooks, and bums, all working together to abuse state power to rob the people and enrich themselves.

    I think it’s unfortunate that she never got over this part of her childhood, that she never saw anything more than rugged, John-Galt-like individuals, the hard working ants of the world, in constant battle with the lazy, thuggish, grasshoppers of the world. But given her background, I don’t find it surprising.

    Paul Ryan, on the other hand, has no excuse. I know that in the movie “Dogma”, Wisconsin is portrayed as the hell on earth that God banishes his rebellious angels to, but I’m pretty sure it’s not that bad. It’s certainly no Russion Revolution. Wikipedia says Ryan was born in Wisconsin in 1970. It also says Ryan’s father died when he was 16, and that as a result, Ryan got social security benefits till he was 18. This is not the sort of upbringing that would cause me to have any compassion at all to his rabid views.

    It appears that Ryan’s only excuse is that he fell in love with a dumb idea. There are plenty of people who do that. Communism was a dumb idea. But so is the laissez-faire fantasy combined with libertarian nonsense that sums up Ayn Rand’s political views.

    All Obama has to do is play video and audio clips of Ryan worshipping at the alter of Ayn Rand, and most people will understandably recoil in horror from Ryan.

  227. Ayn Rand not a serious political thinker?

    Consider this, from ATLAS SHRUGGED

    “He didn’t invent iron ore and blast furnaces, did he? He didn’t invent smelting and chemistry and air compression. He couldn’t have invented his Metal but for thousands and thousands of other people. His Metal! Why does he think it’s his? Why does he think it’s his invention? Everybody uses the work of everybody else. Nobody ever invents anything.”

    Or consider this, from Rearden’s whiny younger brother Philip.

    “He didn’t dig that ore single-handed, did he? He had to employ hundreds of workers. They did it. Why does he think he’s so good?”

    Sound familiar? She wrote that 56 years ago.

  228. I am not in love with Romney or Ryan but voting for the incumbent says you approve of current performance. That I cannot do.

    This is exactly the same thing the frog says before it leaps from the frying pan into the fire.

  229. I have been wondering about the Ryan pick. A lot of people here have said that it somehow improves the ticket. This implies that Romney by himself couldn’t carry the ticket by himself. My question is, how many times has adding a VP candidate to improve a ticket actually worked? Obama didn’t need ticket improvement. He was going to take Deleware already. There was nothing really that Biden added other than a solid Democrat to stand behind up who wouldn’t be looked at a horrible replacement if the worst happened.

    So when was the last time a sub par presidential candidate got a boost from a VP candidate and enough of one to actually win?

    And on Ryan’s budget, to voucherize high risk people and expect them to be able to get affordable options on the open market is absurd. The amount it would cost to cover the premiums would be more than the vouchers would likely be for. This would make the vouchers useless and people would have paid into the system and not be able to use it.

    I also question Ryan’s logic about why it matters that it wont impact seniors (or soon to be seniors). As if seniors only care about themselves. Ryan is basically saying that he doesn’t care about what seniors think about their health care and he is going to go his way anyway. THAT is what loses him the senior vote.

  230. During the depression, some businessmen had the decency to jump out of windows

    And, what, exactly have the bankers of 2008 had the decency to do?

  231. Rod: The right does not believe in the inerrancy of private enterprise. The philosophy is simply that it works, however imperfect. It encourages diversity of direction; it rewards success and terminates failure. It evolves to meet changing conditions.

    Then you might as well say the Right’s “philosophy” is simply that the world is flat and 1+1=3.

    Game theory such as the Prisoner’s Dillema, and the Tragedy of the Commons, proves that unregulated, selfish, individuals can be put into situations where acting in their own best interests will produce the worst possible outcome for themselves and everyone involved.

    In these kinds of situations, private enterprise does NOT work. Diversity of direction does not solve this problem. There is no where it can “evolve” to solve this problem. It’s an incomplete view of laissez-faire, and it ignores scenarios such as the prisoner’s dillema where laissez-faire can only fail, scenarios that require outside regulation to solve.

    You cannot solve air pollution with profit. There is no market motivation strong enough for mining companies to reduce the amount of mercury they put in the water table, only something like the EPA can hope to deal effectively with pollution. There is no market motivation strong enough to prevent quacks from selling snake oil as a miracle cure, only something like the FDA can hope to keep snake oil off the market. There is no market motivation strong enough to prevent Wall Street from taking extreme risks to make extreme personal profit when Wall Street doesn’t care if it crashes the economy doing so, only something like the Glass-Steagall act after the Great Depression can hope to curb the private enterprise that created the Great Depression. Unregulated private enterprise in these situations will follow the Tragedy of the Commons and the Prisoner’s Dillemma exactly, and produce the worst possible outcome for everyone.

    These are problems which the “philosophy” of the Right that you describe, reliably fails.

    Also, just want to point out that this: It encourages diversity of direction; it rewards success and terminates failure. It evolves to meet changing conditions.

    Are you saying government is incapable of diversity of direction, that it can’t reward success and terminate failure? That it can’t evolve to meet changing conditions?

    Just as an example, it seems pretty clear that Private Enterprise in the South was willing to fight to the death any attempts to remove segregation from their business models. And that the group that showed it was capable of diversity, rewarding success (rather than rewarding skin color), and evolving to meet the changing conditions that would become civil rights, was the government.

    Are you saying Private Enterprise was at the forefront of civil rights and the government was merely playing “catch up”? Cause that certainly doesn’t match the history I know.

    Konrad: Ayn Rand not a serious political thinker?
    No.
    Next question?

  232. Konrad (and now Billy),

    So, Barack Obama has been taking his political inspiration from Ayn Rand this whole time?? That’s amazing!

    The reason Rand is not considered a “serious political thinker” is because the “truth” of quotes like those (and the statements by the President to which you are alluding) is much more nuanced than Rand would have us believe. She presents those ideas as obviously wrong, from top to bottom. However, Rearden would have had to rely on the efforts of his workforce, and the sum of advances in human technology. It is perhaps not unreasonable to expect that he be willing to respect that in a material way, which he himself covets. However, that respect does not mean he cannot also expect to make a reasonable profit on his ingenuity. (And before you say it, neither the President nor any other major American political figure has suggested otherwise.)

    Now, you may of course disagree with anything I just said about those quotes. But doing so would be to miss my point entirely: that it is the utter lack of nuance that has disqualified Rand from the annals of “serious political thought”.

  233. Konrad Thomas, That’s freaking hilarious. “You didn’t build that.” Thank you.

    You are aware that that’s a quote from the cartoonishly bad villain of the book, no? The one who’s, you know, arguing against Rand’s serious political thoughts?

  234. @oldfeminist

    It wasn’t a rhetorical comment so much as my gut reaction to his article. I finished reading it, felt that Mr. Scalzi was a bit harsh on the man (probably because this is one place he and I don’t see eye to eye) and that’s what came out. I thought that’s what comments were about? Maybe I’m wrong there.

    I will note that I had the same reaction regarding the VP debate as Scalzi, only the opposite. I think the first thing I said when I heard it was Ryan was that he’ll “wipe the floor with Biden” in the same words Scalzi used.

    I think that because I see Biden as a bit of a buffoon in debates and I see Ryan as being pretty sharp and definitely more sharp witted than Biden when he speaks. I could be wrong, I choose not to debate politics on the internet though. I find it to be pointless when people don’t know you as a person.

    So rather than take that route I just commented with my gut…which was to say…Wow Scalzi, you seem a bit uppity about this and that surprises me a little because although we normally disagree on political things I’m almost always willing to read your analysis of things because I like your mind. I saw this piece more as a Soledad O’Brien level hit-job.

    Does that answer your question?

  235. Genufett:

    Actually, I think Billy is specifically quoting Obama. Also, because it’s politically convenient (thought not entirely unreasonable), he’s refusing to note that the primary problem with the President’s statement there isn’t actually one of political philosophy, but rather of pronoun antecedent confusion. The word “that” refers not to “business”, but to “roads”, etc. I’m sure Billy realizes this, but to be fair, the President did open himself to this line of attack with his uncharacteristically poor turn of phrase.

  236. Genufett, Oh yes, I think I’m pretty clear on the context here. That’s why it’s so funny. “the cartoonishly bad villain of the book” as you put it, is using the exact same argument as President Obama.

    Just like the cartoonishly bad V.P. Joe Biden said to a group of black people yesterday that Paul Ryan wants to put them “back in chains.” Sometimes life imitates art. Sadly.

    and Doc Rocketscience I appreciate the cogency of your comment but I disagree with your assessment that she lacked nuance. I think Ayn Rand understood exactly what socialists believe, she just did not agree with their conclusions.

  237. Biden handled himself quite well in the last debate. And I am not talking about that he won, I am just talking about how he wasn’t some bafoon as people like to make him out to be.

  238. Doc, “nuance” is an rhetorical cop-out. Where is the “nuance” in “All Men Are Created Equal” or “You Cannot Consume More Than You Produce”? There are indeed universal economic and political truths that cannot be “nuanced.”

    Your noting that Rearden’s success [relies] partly on the efforts of his workforce, the sum of advances in human technology, etc. is the same strawman Obama and Warren trot out and (deliberately) misses the point. Romney quite rightly pointed out in a speech yesterday that when your kid makes the honor roll in school you praise him and not the bus driver.

    And the Reardens of the world respect their workers by paying them what they’re worth to him.

    Would you please tell me what you consider a “reasonable” profit? Do we put that to a vote?

    Aye, there’s the rub….

  239. Genufett writes,

    “You are aware that that’s a quote from the cartoonishly bad villain of the book, no?”

    Since those quotes are paraphrases of Obama’s Roanoke speech, you do realize you are calling the current President of the United States a cartoonishly bad vallian, don’t you?

    If so, I agree.

  240. The man has eaten too many of his own shoes in the past for me to think of him as anything but a buffoon. Either way, I can’t take the debates very seriously. If someone is using those to make up their mind then I don’t know what to say to that. Nothing is actually debated, its just organized talking points.

    The debates take place in our heads, in our readings, in our thoughts, in our lives. Not on television. I watch them, listen to what they say, and debate with the speaker in my own mind, not by listening to the talking point response. I’ve found myself on more than one occasion thinking…but so and so made a great counter point to that talking point only to realize that -I- made that counter-point, in my head, not the person debating.

    Blagh…you’re making me do what I don’t like doing. I will be closing this tab now….

    (read: I’m not really going to close this tab and you’re probably going to suck me back into old habits but please don’t…I have work to do…)

  241. Romney quite rightly pointed out in a speech yesterday that when your kid makes the honor roll in school you praise him and not the bus driver.

    Maybe, but I certainly thank the bus driver at the end of the year for getting my child to school safely everyday. I also thank her teachers, the teachers’ assistants, the crossing guards, and all the folks who helped get to the point where she could focus on her studies.

    Look, either you acknowledge that live in a nation of people who work together to make thing happen, or you don’t. If you don’t and still take advantage of those things (roads, schools, etc), then you’re the worst kind of hypocrite.

    And I’ll highlight one particularly nauseating aspect of that hypocrisy. A lot of Americans died in wars to keep us safe and able to succeed in the way we are. The GOP’s Randian fantasy essentially dismisses all of those deaths as meaningless. “Nobody helped me succeed!” could be written as “None of those Americans who died fighting for their country helped me succeed!”

    I’ll steal a line and say have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?

  242. Konrad Thomas:

    “you do realize you are calling the current President of the United States a cartoonishly bad vallian, don’t you?”

    It’s more that Ayn Rand would consider likely him to be a cartoonishly bad villain, which would not be entirely surprising news.

    That said, I think we should be done (mis)quoting Ayn Rand in this particular way, folks.

  243. Konrad

    This is quickly going to go far afield, and I’ll try to keep it relavent, but, yes, there is nuance in both of those phrases, given that the first was written by a (morally conflicted) slaveowner, and the manipulation of the second is pretty much the foundation of the idea of supply and demand. Calling nuance a “cop out” isn’t really something serious political thinkers do.

    Romney… pointed out in a speech yesterday that when your kid makes the honor roll in school you praise him and not the bus driver.

    As a public school teacher, I would submit that the fact that we don’t is much to our shame.

    Would you please tell me what you consider a “reasonable” profit? Do we put that to a vote?

    Probably less than you do, suffice to say. And you know very well that we do put such things to a vote all the time. I just have more respect for votes cast by some other means than our wallets.

  244. John Scalzi writes,

    “That said, I think we should be done (mis)quoting Ayn Rand in this particular way, folks.”

    That’s not a mis-quote; It’s taken directly from the book. And if you read the book you know she’s quite effectively conveying the philosophical and psychological mindset of the Left toward businessmen. You may disagree with Miss Rand but it’s not a mis-quote.

    You contend Obama’s Roanoke remarks were taken out of context? This is from his speech in Chicago on Sunday:

    “Do we go forward towards a new vision of an America in which prosperity is shared?”

    He’s saying that in the old version of America (free-market, meritocracy) prosperity (which produced the highest standard of living for the most in all the sorry history of mankind) wasn’t shared. But it will be in Obama’s America, what little prosperity remains after he destroys all individual incentives. How will he do so? How do statist always enforce their rules? By force. For all socialists, collectivists, It always comes back to the whip.

    And this cat’s been out of the bag for a long time. Obama is a socialist, as far as he can take it. Didn’t he just express the wish to do with the rest of American manufacturing what he did with General Motors? Still partially government owned, still $30 billion owed to the Treasury.

    Doc, “All Men Are Created Equal” was not meant as a quote. Consider it a declaration of principle. How would you nuance that? And don’t quibble about “Men” and “Equal.” In context, it means all adult humans are to be treated the same under law. Nuance that.

    What “other means” do you prefer over voting with our dollars? (shudder)

    Perhaps we should put what are reasonable science fiction writers’ royalties to a vote, eh?

    David writes,

    “Look, either you acknowledge that live in a nation of people who work together to make thing happen, or you don’t. If you don’t and still take advantage of those things (roads, schools, etc), then you’re the worst kind of hypocrite.”

    Again, the Left’s favorite either-or non sequitur. No conservative, no Objectivist contends there is no need for a government or a civil society, or soldiers to fight agression from without. The bottom-line question is, how do people deal with each other to get the things they want, by persuasion or by force?

    We’ll all be deciding that November 6th.

  245. Konrad Thomas:

    “And if you read the book you know she’s quite effectively conveying the philosophical and psychological mindset of the Left toward businessmen.”

    AH HA HA HA HA HAH HA HA HA HAH HA.

    No. Ayn Rand effectively conveys the philosophical and psychological mindset of the cardboard people in her cardboard world; to suggest that there’s anything other than a trivial resonance to real world people suggests you need to read more widely.

    Also, since you appear to have missed it in an entirely oblivious fashion, the important thing in that sentence of mine you quoted was the admonition to stop blathering about Ayn Rand, not anything else.

  246. Obama is a socialist, as far as he can take it. Didn’t he just express the wish to do with the rest of American manufacturing what he did with General Motors?

    Nope! Any more than he said “you didn’t build your business.” He said you didn’t build the roads, etc that helped your business, and he said that he wanted the rest of industry in America to prosper again the way that American auto manufacturing has begun to prosper. Yes, in that latter case it involved a bailout — but that’s because it was at death’s door. Wishing success for other industries is not socialist.

  247. @Konrad:

    “…, however, know you didn’t get here solely on your own power. For most of you, loving parents, sisters or brothers, encouraged your hopes, coaches guided, communities built venues in order to ….”

    http://thinkprogress.org/election/2012/07/23/565491/romney-to-olympians-you-didnt-get-here-solely-on-your-own/

    you know who said that? Romney. yes much can be done by the individual, but not everything can be done solely by the individual. if you really want a libertarian paradise, a prime example will be Somalia.

    and if you are for small government and the government staying out of your life, why vote for republican ticket that wants to dictate what is moral, interfere in people’s domestic relationships, interfere in foreign countries, go to endless war, and fund a military that is budgeted at a level greater then all other countries combined…. how is that “small government”?

    The Republican ticket will blow the budget wide open with the increase in military spending they have committed to and the tax cuts they want to give to the rich. it’s a zero sum game. tax cuts does not increase revenue. that has been repeatedly shown to be the case. it also does not grow the economy. otherwise we should be having a stellar economy right now as Obama has continued the Bush tax cuts….

  248. John Scalzi writes,

    AH HA HA HA HA HAH HA HA HA HAH HA.

    Thank you for that brilliantly reasoned rebuttal, John.

  249. No conservative, no Objectivist contends there is no need for a government or a civil society, or soldiers to fight agression from without.

    Wow. Don’t even believe in your own logic? How sad.

    Thank you for that brilliantly reasoned rebuttal, John

    Popcorn!

  250. SV writes,

    “tax cuts does (sic) not increase revenue.”

    Please google “Reagan tax cuts 1980s”

  251. John Scalzi writes,

    “Not at all. I gave the statement the response it merited.”

    And demonstrably all you could intellectually muster. Thanks, very revealing and much appreciated.

  252. Konrad, you do realize that Reagan TRIPLED the national debt, right? Not the deficit; the actual DEBT. This is what cutting taxes while you increase spending does. Bush II did the same (and he did it in wartime, which is even stupider).

  253. Ah, the Eighties. I remember the Eighties. Reagan actually raised taxes several times after his disastrous cuts tripled the national debt, but only on the working class. This started the trend we’ve had ever since of shifting the tax burden to people who work for a living while the one percent stuff everything they’ve looted into offshore accounts. Good times…

  254. Konrad Thomas:

    “And demonstrably all you could intellectually muster.”

    Oh, Konrad. You’re ADORABLE.

    Demonstrably all I am going to bother to muster in this specific case, yes. If you want me to bother getting my brain out of first gear, try making statements that are not appallingly stupid.

    Also, Konrad and the folks responding to him: We’re wandering into a more general political discussion again, so let’s tighten up again and get back on topic, please.

  255. @Liberal Dan:

    My question is, how many times has adding a VP candidate to improve a ticket actually worked?

    Depends on what you mean by “work.” In 1952, the Republicans had their best chance of winning the White House in over two decades — Roosevelt was dead, the war was over, and Truman was about as popular as an outbreak of crabs in a brothel (and decided not to see re-election after a hammering in the New Hampshire primary) and the party severely divided.

    It was the GOP’s to lose, and they came damn close to giving it their best try. Dwight Eisenhower (the preferred candidate of the ‘moderate’ wing of the GOP) secured the Republican nomination in a tight and bitter primary fight with leading conservative Howard Taft and walked into a convention that was *cough* fraught. I think it would be fair to say Eisenhower and Nixon had bugger all in common, personally or politically, but he was an acceptable compromise to both wings of the party; and that did matter.

    But did it work? Well, Eisenhower won a decisive victory by any measure you care to use (442/531 electoral college votes & 55% of the popular vote) and Nixon’s selection certainly didn’t hurt Taft’s decision to publicly campaign for Eisenhower in the South. (Something he wasn’t initially inclined to do after being accused of trying to stack the convention floor.)

  256. Konrad: How do statist always enforce their rules? By force. For all socialists, collectivists, It always comes back to the whip.

    See, this is why we can’t have nice things. This is why we can’t solve even the most simple problems in America. Because there’s a fringey right wing element that insists the world is flat, taxes are theft, and the rule of law is the hwip.

  257. “All Men Are Created Equal” was not meant as a quote.

    Except how it is a quote. It states a principle. One that those who stated it struggled to live up to. And that we, nearly 250 years and several laws and constitutional amendments later, are still struggling to live up to. That’s nuance.

    And don’t quibble about “Men” and “Equal.”

    Who the hell gave you the authority to dictate the scope of my own arguments?

    Nuance that.

    Are you doing a little endzone dance in your living room right now? I think you might be.

    Also not indicative of serious political thought: the inability to distinguish between an American politician who fluctuates between center-right and center-left, and a socialist.

  258. Craig: So 60 years ago. Sounds about right. It is not something that typically works.

    And how many times has adding a VP candidate to “improve” the reaction of the base to the sub-par Presidential candidat failed? Palin immediately comes to mind. She was a gimmick and that didn’t work. Perhaps Mondale choosing Ferrarro may be another example (but I could be wrong on that one, I was only 8 at the time… I am not sure if Mondale was a lacking candidate needing a boost or if Reagan was just that popular that he had a landslide)

  259. And just so it is clear, my point is that Ryan’s pick may very well be because his poltiics, especially his hack and slash budget, may resonate very well with conservative voters…. that ultimately it is likely doomed to fail because at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how much shine you put on a turd, it is still a turd. Romney as President doesn’t improve just because he added a “gimmick” as a VP to hook some voters who would never vote for Obama anyway.

  260. Dan: And how many times has adding a VP candidate to “improve” the reaction of the base to the sub-par Presidential candidat failed?

    never mind VP failures. All we have to do is get Romney to take a ride in a tank with a big helmet on his head and it’s all over. Or have Ryan scream “Raaaarrr!” at some point during the election.

    You’d think they were running for 8th grade class president sometimes.

  261. Oh, the wonderful little logical fallcies people have about taxation and the Laffer curve. But of course, don’t ever let reality and common sense get in the way of a good partisan rant.

    Tax revenues always tend upward over time. That’s because in the long run, the economy is always growing. So if a government cuts their tax revenues in a year by two percent, and the economy grows by three percent, voila!

    Tax revenues just went up by approx. one percent.

    But don’t ever let reality get in the way of giving the wealthy yet another government handout.

  262. @Liberal Dan:

    Fair question, and my Ph.D. in electoral calculus is still in the mail. :) Ryan is a transparent attempt on the part of Romney to shore up his credentials with a base that is, to put it mildly, less than enthusiastic about him (which matters) but whether it will play in the general is quite another matter.

    Our host’s mallet-finger is getting twitchy about topic drift, so I’ll make this brief but I think Palin was problematic in ways Ryan won’t be. Whatever you think about his record or policy ideas (such as they are) he’s going to be able to open his mouth without making Romney want to lash a puppy to the roof of his car and drive off a cliff. His budget plan has more holes than a Swiss cheese peppered with buckshot, but at least he can hit the talking points.

  263. Just read this from a Washington Post/ABC News poll.

    “One of the largest movements on Ryan’s favorability numbers was the 21-point jump among conservative Republicans, but the initial movement was positive among independents as well, doubling from 19 to 39 percent.” The shift among Democrats was similar in both a positive (up 10 percentage points on favorability) and negative direction (up eight on unfavorability).”

    Saw somewhere else that Ryan’s numbers among seniors are surging as well. We will see if they can hold up under the onslaught of Obama attack ads, but so far he looks like a good pick for Romney.

    It probably helps that Ryan’s mother is a senior on Medicare in Florida, part of the CBS 60 minutes interview that somehow got left on the cutting room floor.

    Also, the Dems have been scaring seniors with the whole “Republicans are going to destroy Medicare and Social Security” argument for about 30 years and it hasn’t happened through eight years of Reagan, four years of Bush Sr., and eight more years of Bush Jr. so maybe the seniors will finally realize that it’s just so much bullshit. Especially since Obama and the Dems are the ones who cut $700 billion out of Medicare.

  264. You might want to back that up Eric Saveau.

    Here is Obama’s Deputy Campaign Manager saying he cut $700 billion from Medicare

  265. Saw somewhere else that Ryan’s numbers among seniors are surging as well. We will see if they can hold up under the onslaught of Obama attack ads, but so far he looks like a good pick for Romney.

    Per Nate Silver:

    An ABC News/Washington Post poll, conducted after Mr. Romney’s announcement, found that 38 percent of Americans had a favorable view of Mr. Ryan, and 33 percent had an unfavorable one.

    The good news for Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan is that those numbers were improved from polling that ABC News conducted just before the announcement, when 23 percent of adults had a favorable impression of Mr. Ryan and 33 percent an unfavorable one.

    But that is countered by two pieces of bad news. First, Mr. Ryan’s numbers are middling to poor by the standard of other recent vice-presidential selections. And second, the period immediately after a vice-presidential announcement has often been a high-water mark for the new candidate. More often than not, the candidate’s unfavorable numbers increase more than his or her favorables from that point forward[...]By October and November, these candidates’ numbers had declined somewhat on balance. Their favorability rating increased just slightly, to 46 percent from 45 percent. But their unfavorables rose more, to 27 percent from 19 percent.

    If, hypothetically, the change in Mr. Ryan’s numbers matched the historical pattern, that would give him a 40 percent favorable rating but a 41 percent unfavorable rating by Election Day. That would make his numbers similar to Sarah Palin’s numbers in late 2008. (Ms. Palin is sometimes remembered as having substantially negative favorability ratings in 2008, but they were actually close to break-even; her numbers did not consistently turn negative until after the election.)

    But what about the improvement that the ABC News poll showed for Mr. Ryan? From what I can tell, this also seems to be a common feature of the immediate post-announcement period. Although we have only two data points for comparison, both Mr. Biden in 2008 and Mr. Edwards in 2004 also polled much better immediately after their rollout than they had earlier in those years.

    In other words, the numbers during a candidate’s rollout seem to be better than those either before or after his or her honeymoon period.

    Also, the Dems have been scaring seniors with the whole “Republicans are going to destroy Medicare and Social Security” argument for about 30 years and it hasn’t happened through eight years of Reagan, four years of Bush Sr., and eight more years of Bush Jr. so maybe the seniors will finally realize that it’s just so much bullshit.

    Reagan and Bush I both had Democratic majorities to stop them, and the GOP under Bush II tried it (and Ryan voted for it) in 2005 before Bush realized that they were going to get slaughtered. Which they kind of did anyway, since the next year was the year that the Democrats retook the Senate and the House.

    Especially since Obama and the Dems are the ones who cut $700 billion out of Medicare.

    Guess what? So do Romney and Ryan:

    Here’s what everyone agrees on: Ryan and Obama include the same cuts to the Medicare program itself. So if you’re an insurance company participating in the Medicare Advantage program, you’re getting the same cut no matter who wins the election. So the answer to the first question is, “the same amount as the Obama administration.”

    What Romney/Ryan are saying is that they then take the money saved from their cuts to Medicare and put it toward deficit reduction while Obama takes that money and spends it on health care for poor people. The argument here is that by using the money to cut the deficit, Romney/Ryan make future cuts to Medicare less likely.

    But Romney/Ryan also add a trillion dollars to the defense budget. And they have trillions of dollars in tax cuts they haven’t explained how they’re going to pay for. So those decisions make future cuts to Medicare more likely. Meanwhile, Obama cuts defense spending by hundreds of billions of dollars, raises about $1.5 trillion in new taxes, and puts all that money into deficit reduction. So that makes future Medicare cuts less likely.

    So if the argument is that Romney/Ryan protect Medicare by putting the $770 billion in cuts towards deficit reduction, Obama protects Medicare by twice as much by putting the $1.5 trillion in new tax revenues towards deficit reduction. So far as the deficit is concerned, there’s no difference between a dollar from Medicare and a dollar from taxes.

    Which just leaves us where we began: Romney/Ryan want to do more of their deficit reduction by cutting social services while Obama wants to do more of his deficit reduction through raising taxes. Deciding whose plan makes more sense requires making judgments about whether Romney/Ryan will ultimately pay for their tax cuts. But deciding who is cutting Medicare by $700 billion just requires looking at who is cutting Medicare by $700 billion. And at the moment, that’s both Obama and the Republican budget.

  266. 700 billion from costs, not benefits. The Ryan plan explicitly cuts from benefits. You might want to acknowledge that rather important distinction, Billy Quiets.

  267. To add to Eric Saveau‘s points: Obama’s Medicare Reforms Expanded Benefits For Seniors

    The Romney campaign’s new ad blitz reinforces its latest attack — that President Obama cut Medicare spending by $716 billion — with an ominous warning to seniors. But the Affordable Care Act’s cuts and other Medicare reforms don’t touch benefits, they target waste in provider payments.

    In fact, the totality of Obama’s Medicare reforms expand benefits for seniors and lower out-of-pocket costs. The Affordable Care Act actually enhances Medicare benefits by closing the prescription drug coverage gap known as the “doughnut hole” and expanding free preventive services, including an annual wellness visit.

    The Romney ad misleadingly implies that seniors will take a hit. “You paid in to Medicare for years. Every paycheck,” a narrator says. “Now, when you need it, Obama has cut $716 billion from Medicare.” The ad also ignores the bipartisan nature of the cuts: Congressional Republicans voted overwhelmingly in 2011 and 2012 to sustain them in the budget written by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), now Romney’s running mate…Obama’s cuts add eight years on the life of Medicare, according to the Congressional Budget Office, largely by reducing reimbursement rates to hospitals, prescription drugs under Medicaid and private insurance plans in Medicare Advantage. The AARP, as well as hospital and drug industries, endorsed the Affordable Care Act despite the cuts.

    The cuts to Medicare Advantage plans have resulted in higher enrollment and lower average premiums in 2011 and 2012, according to official figures. Reforms closing the “doughnut hole,” which were partly funded by the cuts, have also saved seniors money on prescription drugs.

    In addition, the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion offers seniors greater access to long-term care and other services that Medicare does not provide.

    The Department of Health and Human Services projects that beneficiaries of traditional Medicare will save roughly $4,200 over 10 years as a result of the Affordable Care Act. HHS expects that the law will also save seniors between $3,000 and $16,000 on average on prescription drugs, depending on their costs.

  268. Genufett, I think the important point in this debate is that the Republicans have NOT tried to destroy Medicare or Social Security. So, the scaremongering is just not as powerful now as it was when Reagan first took office. The Dems have cried wolf too many times.

    And Obama DID cut $700 billion out of Medicare. So his credibility on the issue is shot.

  269. Again, to COSTS, not to benefits. The Ryan plan cuts 700 billion from BENEFITS. There is absolutely nothing subtle about that distinction, yet you fail to acknowledge it. So your credibility on the issue is shot.

  270. Genufett, I think the important point in this debate is that the Republicans have NOT tried to destroy Medicare or Social Security.

    Except they did. Privatization and vouchers, both of which have been voted on, leave the programs existing in name only.

    And Obama DID cut $700 billion out of Medicare. So his credibility on the issue is shot.

    “Nuh-uh” is not a valid argument.

    And anyway, even by this metric, Romney and Ryan’s credibility is shot even more, since their cuts would (a) come from benefits as opposed to costs, (b) not be reinvested to provide for others elsewhere, and (c) end up costing seniors more as opposed to Obama’s plan.

  271. [Deleted because the comment was largely off-topic to the thread. Konrad, you get to take a break from this particular thread now -- JS]

  272. Billy, it’s not just this issue, either. If you keep treating cutting costs and cutting benefits as the same thing, and saying true words designed to mislead, your credibility on EVERY issue will decline. I disagree with you on virtually every issue of merit, but I didn’t think you were a liar. (And yeah, technically true words designed to mislead are a LIE.) I hope you aren’t.

  273. The really amazing thing is that you would think the so-called fiscal conservatives would applaud a cost-saving measure. But it was done under The Other Guy’s watch, therefore OMGBADKENYANNAZISOCIALISMAGAINSTAMERICA!

  274. Hmmm. It’s getting hot in here.

    To quote another famous politician, “Let me be perfectly clear”
    Obama cut $700 billion from Medicare. That is not a bald-faced lie, nor is it true words designed to mislead.

    It is, however, what Obama is going to have to deal with at every campaign stop from now on. I’m sure he can read Talking Points, and The Daily Kos, and Axelrod’s notes, as well as you can in order to debate the issue.

    My point is that he will have to do that. It will be up to him to make the distinction between his $700 billion going from Medicare to Obamacare, and Ryan’s $ 700 billion going into vouchers that people under the age of 55, can use (IF THEY WANT TO) to shop for a better deal on healthcare.

    He will be forced into a fact-based debate instead of being able to just show a video of Ryan pushing his own mom over a cliff. He can try that, and probably will, but I don’t think the seniors are going to buy it.

  275. Billy! COSTS vs. BENEFITS. Will you please admit that there’s a DIFFERENCE so I don’t have to just automatically scroll past all your posts from now on because I know you’re trying to fool me, or suspect that you might be?

  276. Oh, and another important distinction: Medicare is a program. Obamacare is a law that modifies rules and restrictions on a lot of things, and establishes some programs. It affects Medicare (and Medicaid) but it’s another confusing false equivalence to say “$700 billion going from Medicare to Obamacare” as if they were the same kind of thing. Disingenuous (which is fancy language for “true words intended to deceive the hearer/reader”).

  277. Let me be perfectly clear; simply repeating the same lie over and over again doesn’t make it true. Also, there is no such thing as “Obamacare” there is an Affordable Care Act that was based on a plan crafted by the conservative Heritage Foundation and which, though less than it should be as a result of its conservative roots, is at least a step in the right direction.

    Romney and Ryan, meanwhile, are doing everything they can to avoid being forced into a fact-based debate on health care instead of being able to just repeat “DEATH PANELS! DEEEATH PAAANELS!! over and over again. They can try that, and probably will, but I don’t think seniors are going to buy it.

  278. Obama cut $700 billion from Medicare. That is not a bald-faced lie, nor is it true words designed to mislead.

    If you’re not differentiating between costs and benefits, it is.

    My point is that he will have to do that. It will be up to him to make the distinction between his $700 billion going from Medicare to Obamacare, and Ryan’s $ 700 billion going into vouchers that people under the age of 55, can use (IF THEY WANT TO) to shop for a better deal on healthcare.

    Except that it’s not going towards vouchers, it’s going towards deficit reduction, which Obamacare also does (arguably twice as well) while retaining the same level of care. And even if the money went towards vouchers, their value is tied to a metric that doesn’t keep up with health care costs for the foreseeable future. And on top of that, in the real world it’s proven very difficult to shop for “better deals” for anyone not in perfect health, and there are very few (if any) people that reach the age of 55 in perfect health.

    He will be forced into a fact-based debate instead of being able to just show a video of Ryan pushing his own mom over a cliff. He can try that, and probably will, but I don’t think the seniors are going to buy it.

    Well, if they don’t listen to the actual facts as presented above as opposed to GOP talking points, that’s unfortunate, but it doesn’t prove that Obama is wrong or that Ryan and Romney are right.

  279. Eric, repeating the same lie over and over DOES get a lot of people to believe it, even if it’s denied over and over or even repudiated by the source. This is what makes Fox News (aka the broadcast wing of the GOP) so effective. They don’t (usually) originate the falsehood, but when they get one from a conservative source, they pound on it over and over. When it’s refuted, they pound on it for a while more, then issue a correction ONCE (if that). Then they stop, but millions of their drooling-moron viewers keep right on believing it, and not just the ones who didn’t hear the retraction.

    And this effect doesn’t just work on drooling morons or Fox News viewers, either. Most of us have trouble changing our beliefs about the world just by hearing something that refutes them even if we believe the refutation when we hear it.

    There are those of us who try to, and those of us who do not. The GOP, increasingly, is trying to make it harder for the former set and take advantage of the latter set.

  280. Well, it’s not just bloggers who are getting worked into a lather over this. I’ve got “The Five” on in the background and Bob Bechtel just got so flustered trying to discuss this issue that he dropped an F-bomb on live TV. Anyway, here’s a little topical tidbit for you:

    “Richard Foster, the chief actuary of Medicare, testified before the House Budget Committee said that the cuts to medical providers set by President Obama’s national health care law were unrealistic. ‘It’s pretty hard to imagine they could be sustainable,’ Foster said, under questioning from Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.” (Philip Klein, “Medicare’s Chief Actuary Says ObamaCare’s Cuts To The Program Likely Unsustainable,” The Washington Examiner’s ” Beltway Confidential,” 7/13/11)

  281. I know, Xopher; I know. It’s an old game, because it’s always been so effective. Goebbels made it an art form, and the modern GOP and their surrogates have refined it to its purest essence. It’s possible to push back against it, but very difficult to sustain and meanwhile the zombie lies just keep shambling on.

  282. Wow! 320 comments before we got to the first Nazi reference.
    Congrats, Eric. Way to add to the political debate.

    Here’s another little morsel from that noted bastion of conservatism, The Washington Post:

    “ObamaCare’s Medicare Cuts Are Forcing Private Physicians To Turn Away New Patients. “Doctors on the panel also warned that PPACA’s $500 billion cut to Medicare could translate into even less reimbursement for those who care for patients insured by the government. Already, many physicians are turning away new patients because they’re taking a loss or barely breaking even when working with Medicare.” (J.D. Harrison, “Health Care Law Driving Doctors Away From Small Practices, Toward Hospital Employment,” The Washington Post, 7/19/12)

  283. Wow! 321 comments and all Billy Quiets has done look for rhetorical hooks to avoid the substance of everyone else’s comments. Congrats, Billy. Way to add to the political debate.

  284. Well, it’s not just bloggers who are getting worked into a lather over this. I’ve got “The Five” on in the background and Bob Bechtel just got so flustered trying to discuss this issue that he dropped an F-bomb on live TV.

    Someone on Fox News is getting worked into a lather over Obama? I’m shocked!

    Richard Foster, the chief actuary of Medicare, testified before the House Budget Committee said that the cuts to medical providers set by President Obama’s national health care law were unrealistic. ‘It’s pretty hard to imagine they could be sustainable,’ Foster said, under questioning from Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.” (Philip Klein, “Medicare’s Chief Actuary Says ObamaCare’s Cuts To The Program Likely Unsustainable,” The Washington Examiner’s ” Beltway Confidential,” 7/13/11)

    He’s expressing an opinion–one, I should note that nobody in the Obama administration tried to suppress, unlike the Bush administration–and one that doesn’t have a lot of evidence to support it:

    Foster’s worry is that hospitals can’t adjust to lower reimbursements by increasing productivity, the way the law assumes they will; instead, he fears, they will just lose money and, in some cases, face the prospect of closing. In response to this threat, Foster says, lawmakers would likely cancel the reductions.

    Is he right? Foster admits he isn’t sure. Among other things, he assumes that the law’s reforms of the way we organize and pay for care—everything from developing electronic records to financial incentives for coordination among doctors—won’t help them reach those productivity goals. But many experts with just as much experience and integrity disagree, citing the hospital sector’s well-known waste and the fact that these reforms have never been tried so extensively, particularly in combination with one another. These experts also point out, respectfully, that Foster has been wrong before: His projections for the 2003 Medicare drug benefit turned out to be considerably inflated.

    Even if some hospitals do lose money, that might not be a bad thing. Currently, lots of smaller hospitals offer services like advanced cardio-vascular surgery or cancer treatment because those fields are lucrative. But this practice tends to drive up costs, since the availability of such services encourages more doctors and to use them. (It’s called “supply-driven demand.”) And it’s not even good for the patients, since most of those hospitals can’t do the procedures as effectively or safely as the intensive, high-level hospitals that specialize in them.

    Still, suppose Foster is right about the law’s ultimate outcome—that the cuts prove too harsh and, as a result, the hospitals successfully lobby to eliminate them. What then? Well, we’d have to admit defeat, because if it’s impossible to reduce spending on hospitals then it’s also impossible to reduce government spending across the health care system. Taxpayers would be stuck writing larger and larger checks on government health programs, making the ability to balance budgets contingent on our future willingness to raise taxes or cut spending elsewhere.

    In other words, we’d be in the same basic fiscal place we are now, with one key difference: We would have universal health insurance and its protections. It wouldn’t be an ideal situation, but it’d still be better than what we’d have without the law.

  285. Also helps, Billy, To note that the trend of physicians getting out of private practice, and turning away medicare patients had begun well before PPACA became the law and certainly long before the SCOTUS ruled on it. Medicare reimbursement rates have been a topic of discussion and a concern for private physicians for the past decade or more since the Medicare Prescription drug act was passed that left a lot of medicare recipients scrambling to find a way to purchase their meds when they hit the abyss known as the donut hole.

    I get where the article is focused but even the physicians acknowledge that there are a lot or reasons why Private practice is no longer as appealing as it once was, and the *potential* for PPACA to cut reimbursement rates is only one among many.

    *And I say potential because reimbursement rates haven’t dropped yet due to PPCA, the current cuts are all efforts outside of the ACA being enacted by congress to “fix” medicare in the short term.

  286. “ObamaCare’s Medicare Cuts Are Forcing Private Physicians To Turn Away New Patients. “Doctors on the panel also warned that PPACA’s $500 billion cut to Medicare could translate into even less reimbursement for those who care for patients insured by the government. Already, many physicians are turning away new patients because they’re taking a loss or barely breaking even when working with Medicare.” (J.D. Harrison, “Health Care Law Driving Doctors Away From Small Practices, Toward Hospital Employment,” The Washington Post, 7/19/12)

    Another false claim attempting to claim costs as benefits.

  287. Ryan is on Fox right now with Brit Hume, and he just said that he is on the Romney ticket and that the Romney plan, not the Ryan budget proposal is what he is focused on. He said the Romney plan is to repeal all of the President’s healthcare plan, including the $700 billion in cuts.

  288. Whatever, man. Thought you might be interested. He talked about the Ayn Rand thing, too.

    Anyway, I guess his budget proposal is a moot point now.

  289. Why feed the troll? i think we can all ignore Billy and the echo chamber he lives in :)
    keeps us sane, and let’s us move on to more interesting discussions

  290. Billy, I’m not sure why I’m bothering, but the point isn’t the Romney plan; we all know what that is: “Get rid of this terrible, terrible thing that’s just like what I did, because only a terrible person would do that! Er…”

    The point is Paul Ryan’s attitude, which is your basic “burn the poor.” And the secondary point is that you are not a reliable source for anything, because you continue to pound on false or misleading information after it’s been refuted, and don’t answer or even acknowledge other people’s points or arguments. I’ll be remembering this for all future conversations.

  291. S V, Please ignore me, but you might want to look up echo chamber. Or what the hell, I’ll do it for you.

    “Participants in online communities may find their own opinions constantly echoed back to them, which reinforces their individual belief systems.”

    Nobody here is echoing anything back at me, I’m pretty much working alone. Also, I’m not trolling. I hang out here regularly. I just don’t agree with some of the commonly held beliefs.

  292. I think I should vote for you this year, as of right now neither canidate has my vote. waiting for the debates.

  293. Regarding the Ryan plan, former Bush Chief of Staff Karl Rove quoted in 2011:

    “I always thought that I was okay with arithmetic. [Paul] can run circles around me, and he is honest, he is straightforward, he is sincere. And the budget that he came forward with is just like Paul Ryan. It is a sensible, straightforward, honest, serious budget and it cut the budget deficit just like we did, by $4 trillion… The President came out with his own plan and the President, as you remember, came out with a budget, and I don’t think anybody took that budget very seriously. The Senate voted against it 97 to nothing.”

  294. he just said that he is on the Romney ticket and that the Romney plan, not the Ryan budget proposal is what he is focused on

    That’s nice. He’s still going to be wearing his budget around his neck for the next three months.

    Ooops…my bad. that was former _Clinton_ Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles

    I see what you did there. I love that rightwingers are so hard up for validation that they need to get Erskine Bowles to make themselves feel better.

    Is it working, ZBBMcFate?

  295. Yeah, Bowles is so out of the mainstream that Bush appointed him as the Democratic co-chair of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.

  296. Yeah, Bowles is so out of the mainstream that Bush appointed him as the Democratic co-chair of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.

    But is it working, ZBBMcFate? Are you feeling the validation? Does the trembling of your lower lip go away when you realize that Erskine Bowles has your back?

  297. David,
    No, Bowles didn’t quite do it for me, but the weak replies from the two of you were actually pretty satisfying.

  298. No, Bowles didn’t quite do it for me, but the weak replies from the two of you were actually pretty satisfying

    So your lower lip is still trembling? I’m sorry. I’m pretty sure that saying it will still help: “Erskine Bowles has my back!” Validation is so important!

  299. Billy, comparing JS’s use of “meretricious” to George Will’s is quite interesting. One strikes me as a skilled writer choosing exactly the right word to succinctly express a subtle meaning; the other reminds me of a high school kid stuffing his essay with needlessly long words to cover the fact that all he’s got to say is that he disagrees with an advert.
    The second best description of Ryan I’ve seen is probably “zombie-eyed granny-starver”. – Just think about what his budget would mean while staring at the photo on this page and maybe you’ll see it too.

  300. @JS: I thought we were playing quite well together…

    (By the way, the _reason_ that Bowles made those remarks is because–faced with this distressingly weird, I-got-into-Congress-when-I-was-28-and-despite-that-I’m-a-Randian, Congressman who was the closest the GOP had to a serious budget thinker (“closest,” in this case, does not translate to ‘On the sane side of the budget discussion.’) and he’s trying to butter him up in some hopes of getting an actual budget deal, instead of the Congressional kabuki the Republicans kept putting out. Note the level that Bowles is pitching this: “Wow, he’s really good at math. Numbers!” That’s what I say to my six year old, and reveals more about Bowles’ feelings than anything else.)

    When did you Republicans get so needy? Some random bureaucrat slobbers affection on you in hopes of getting something done, policy-wise, and you slobber it up, like it was the Pope beatifying someone.

    Can we have Eisenhower back? He was an adult.

  301. I think we got really self-conscious about our budget inadequacies back in 2008 when Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson was talking about the budget before Congress and he told House Budget Committee Chair Kent Conrad (D-ND) “We have millions of Americans retiring everyday, and that will drive substantial further rise in the growth of healthcare costs. We’re not coming before you to say we have a definitive solution to our long-term problem. What we do know is we don’t like yours.”

  302. Dang, Sorry. That was Geitner talking to Ryan in 2012.

    Three times in one day. Sheesh, What are the odds?

  303. ZBBM:

    If you’re not checking your quotes before you post them, the odds are very good. And it undermines what you are trying to say to continually have to correct yourself.

  304. John,

    They say when you have to explain a joke, it failed. Was trying for the subtle irony of political jujitsu.

    The failure mode of clever and all that.

    Cheers.

  305. Crap.

    I just wanted to check back in and see how the thread was going and I get this:

    “Billy, comparing JS’s use of “meretricious” to George Will’s is quite interesting. One strikes me as a skilled writer choosing exactly the right word to succinctly express a subtle meaning; the other reminds me of a high school kid stuffing his essay with needlessly long words to cover the fact that all he’s got to say is that he disagrees with an advert.”

    Andy. Dude. I know you’re just fucking with me, which isn’t very nice considering I went out and drank heavily with my friend instead of getting my writing done, but I’m gonna have to respond to this one.

    You do know that the guy you are comparing to a high school kid won the Pulitzer prize, right?

    And not even for his best stuff, which was a fantastic book titled “Men at Work” about life, relationships, and incidentally baseball. No, he got that little prize for “commentary”.

    That doesn’t take anything away from our esteemed host who I know for a fact earned a Hugo, and I’m pretty sure has the John W. Campbell to go with it.

    Anyway, I think both of them know how to use big words.

  306. Billy Quiets: Ryan is on Fox right now with Brit Hume, and he just said

    Well, there’s your problem right there.

    To quote the most interesting man in the world, I don’t watch Fox News, but when I do, it’s because it’s being laughed at on Comedy Central.

    Stay thirsty my friends.

  307. Billy, by your logic regarding awards, since Obama got the Nobel prize that would mean that every decision he made since then is great too? :-)
    I wasn’t just messing with you. While I think that most of the WaPo writers are pretty good, the specific piece you quoted strikes me as an example of saying not very much in too many words. To be fair, one of the things that seemed particularly awkward is actually a link in the original piece. However, I stand by my original assessment: The George Will article is far more of a distortion of the truth than the ad he attacks and is an example of trying to use flowery writing to disguise a weak point. It’s also an example of exactly what JS said not to do in the first comment – trying to deflect criticism of Romney/Ryan by saying oh look, Obama’s is worse.

  308. Hi John,

    It’s been mostly covered already, but I thought I would ad my $0.02.

    Ms. Rice’s race and marital status really aren’t the issues that you suggest. Sure there are some GOP voters that care about them to some extent. But the vast majority of regular GOP voters, if they consider those issues at all, place them well down the list.

    Take Ms. Rice’s (or Mr. Rubio’s) ideology and stuff it into Mr. Obama’s head and he would instantly turn into the second coming of Jesus for people that currently hold a decidedly less enthusiastic opinion of him. J.C. Watts is another example of someone who was quite popular in the GOP while he was in Congress.

    The number of people that vet political choices based first on “rich, white, married, and male” are politically insignificant, IMO.

    Regards,
    Dann

  309. @Eric Saveau:

    Nope. Just her journalism style in general. I’ve never been a fan of “gotcha” journalism. From either side. She just irks me a lot because there was a time when I respected her, greatly…not sure when the tide turned (it was probably one of those over time deals), but suddenly I started seeing her take low roads when it wasn’t necessary. Lost the respect I once had and so I use her as my example of a poor journalist now because her fall saddened me.

    However, I still watch CNN over all the other networks every day, including a couple minutes of her morning show just before I take off for work. (I know, A CONSERVATIVE THAT DOESN’T WATCH FOX, I hope I didn’t just shatter worlds with that statement) <—That's was rhetoric oldfeminist…

    Believe it or not, there are reasonable folks that still disagree with your politics. And I think that's exactly what my point was in all of this….this particular post from Scalzi was one of those moments where I lost some faith. That's all.

    I promise you I'm not going to disrupt your life in any way guys.

    (PS: Sorry JS, I know this was totally off topic but I did want to answer Eric's direct question, and maybe take a small pot shot or two admittedly)

  310. @mithras

    “Just her journalism style in general. I’ve never been a fan of “gotcha” journalism.”

    A lot of conservatives seem to characterize her that way. Interestingly, all the examples shown are where a conservative says something demonstrably false and she doesn’t just let it slip past unchallenged the way most TV journalists do.

    “Believe it or not, there are reasonable folks that still disagree with your politics. And I think that’s exactly what my point was in all of this….this particular post from Scalzi was one of those moments where I lost some faith. That’s all.”

    That might make sense if Scalzi had said something that was counterfactual or unreasonable, but since he didn’t it’s awfully hard to see what you’re driving at.

  311. That’s twice now you’ve put words in my mouth. I didn’t show an example. I specifically said I can’t point to one thing and say: That’s it! I just lost respect for her over time. When I first started watching her she was vibrant and seemed willing to focus on news and not metanews politics.

    Then, something changed. I don’t know what it was, maybe she got the nod from her producers to start being more editorial in her presentation. That’s normally when I grow sick of things. I want news, not someone’s opinion. But her interview style changed from simple question and answer to question, answer, editorial, question again. I don’t need her editorial, I have a brain. That’s why I don’t watch the other two major news networks.

    Perhaps that’s why this piece irked me? I don’t know, I just posted a reaction and now I feel some compelling reason not to just walk away and let someone have the last word. I know better than this and yet here I am typing. And more and more getting away from the point of this thread in the process so if you need me to concede then fine, you win. I’m ignorant because I don’t like Soledad O’Brien anymore.

    (JS: I promise not to post in this thread anymore. Keep up the good work you’re very good at doing…wouldn’t miss stopping by here for a day, even if you irk me on occasion.)

  312. Back to the VP topic. I noticed that President Obama has a 12:30 lunch scheduled with Joe “Chains” Biden today. Could this be the end for Ol’ Joe?

  313. @mithras-

    “That’s twice now you’ve put words in my mouth.”

    No, I did no such thing, and it is dishonest of you to assert otherwise. What I did do –

    “I didn’t show an example. I specifically said I can’t point to one thing and say: That’s it!”

    – was to seek out examples of specific things she has done that conservatives complained about and first asked if that was what you meant and then, when you mentioned “gotcha journalism”, noted that calling conservatives out on falsehoods was the consistent theme of the complaints. If your objection to her is completely different from the mainstream conservative objection then I will certainly admit a measure of surprise, but in the absence of further data to suggest otherwise I will take you at your word.

    “I want news, not someone’s opinion… I don’t need her editorial, I have a brain.”

    In light of that statement, would it be out of line to inquire as to your view of Edward R. Murrow?

    “if you need me to concede then fine, you win. I’m ignorant because I don’t like Soledad O’Brien anymore.”

    If you truly think that’s relevant to this discussion, or was in any way my end goal, or that I would measure someone’s ignorance on something so simplistic as whether or not they “like” someone else, then I have to say you a.) don’t really know me (a given since our interaction here has been brief and limited), b.) haven’t really been paying attention to the discussion thread, and c.) appear to be looking for a way to take it personally. That last could very well be an accidentally created impression on your part; I would hope so.

  314. Billy – 21 days and counting for Obama to switch out Biden. GOP-type will be sweating out whether Hillary! or Andrew Cuomo will be willing to step in.

  315. Now you guys are just being silly. A Veep candidate can’t be swapped out without delivering a fatal blow to the campaign (does the name Thomas Eagleton mean anything to you?), much less one who has already served as Veep.

    Even if you believe that Obama is the Source of All Evil in the World, I know you don’t believe he’s that politically clumsy.

  316. I noticed that President Obama has a 12:30 lunch scheduled with Joe “Chains” Biden today. Could this be the end for Ol’ Joe?

    Nope. This has been another in Easy Answers to Easy Questions.

    A Veep candidate can’t be swapped out without delivering a fatal blow to the campaign

    Although, lordy, it might not have hurt for McCain to have switched Palin out. Even “None of the above” would have helped him more in 2008.

  317. Whether Obama dumps Biden for another Veep candidate depends entirely of what his bosses in the Illuminati tell him to do, of course. And we all know they don’t make a move without input from the Bilderburgs, the Elders of Zion and the Space Reptoids.

    :-P

  318. Ah, the old VP replacement fantasy. It’ll totally happen, right about the same time as Trump and Sheriff Joe pop up with an auhtentic birth certificate from the Republic of Kenya, the tape of Michelle Obama telling black folk to “kill whitey” is released, and Vince Foster’s ghost is found wandering Foggy Bottom.

  319. Man, I hope you guys are right. I can think of half a dozen potential replacements for Biden that might help energize voters who are disenchanted with Obama but don’t really want to vote for Romney.

    I’ll breath a huge sigh of relief when we pass the various filing deadlines.

  320. That’s so sincere and totally not riffing off of Palin’s speculation I could hardly stop laughing.

  321. I’ll echo Billy, in that I find your support for the gaffe-tastic Biden reassuring. You guys don’t get that Republicans really do see him as a huge liability and want him to stay on the ticket.

    I think Genufett is half right, in that Palin is not sincere in her advice. I think she gave it on purpose to make it that much harder for Obama to trade in Joe for Hillary. Obama can’t be seen as taking advice from the Ol’ Babyfactory McChillbilly herself.

  322. I’ll echo Billy, in that I find your support for the gaffe-tastic Biden reassuring. You guys don’t get that Republicans really do see him as a huge liability

    Maybe Republicans do, but (a) they’re not voting for him anyway, and (b) Democrats and a good number of independents don’t see that. Pretty much nobody outside conservative bloggers and Fox News think of him as being “gaffe-tastic,” let alone care about it. The only “gaffes” that have penetrated into the mainstream are Obamacare being a big f-ing deal and accidentally revealing a day in advance that the President lives in the year 2012 and not 1965 when it comes to gay rights. If anything, those have endeared him to Democrats, and do not seem to have made a measurable dent anywhere else. And if the race hinges on appealing to the middle- and working-class white male independent voter, then he’s a perfect avatar for that. In any event, Biden’s approval tracks with that of Obama, for better or worse, and with Obama up around 300 EV in the trackers, there’s nothing that suggests that he’s a hindrance to the ticket.

  323. You guys have weird fantasies about several people. Biden is well-liked among Democrats, and while he may be “gaffe-prone,” he’s a good communicator most of the time. Certainly he’s not a Palin-level liability in any demographic.

    Second, the idea that Hillary would switch from SoS to VP-candidate is absurd, as you’d know if you’d been paying attention. So is the idea that she’d run for POTUS again in 2016; SoS is not a path to the Presidency, and she knew that when she took the job. She also has said that SoS is her last job in politics (not sure if joining the US Diplomatic Corps in some other capacity counts; but that seems unlikely too).

    Third, the idea that Obama is paying attention to what Palin “advises” or doesn’t, beyond “what’s on the bozo radar today,” is ridiculous. No one really cares what Palin thinks or takes her seriously any more. The half-term governor of Alaska has no credibility outside a small circle of fanatics. The big-name Republicans pretend to respect her because they can’t so obviously repudiate their support of her in 2008.

  324. G – Fantastic. Out of curiosity, what trackers are giving you 300EVs for Obama? RCP has 237 to 191 with 110 toss-up (if memory serves), and if anything its average suffers from the problem that a good percentage of the early polls are of registered voters, not likely voter (meaning the polls skew Dem). If you take just the most recent polls in the battleground states, the Ryan pick has coincided with (and possibly been causal in) Romney taking the lead in VA, OH, NC, IA, and WI. Of course a lot can change, but the evience suggest that an election held today would go to Romney/Ryan.

    X – Well, that settles it. Of course we will take the word of a politician when they disavow designs on making history in a higher office.

  325. ZBBMcFate:

    Five Thirty Eight has Obama at 300 EVs at the moment (that’s their prediction for election day, not necessarily how many EVs they think he has in the bag at the moment from current polling). Talking Points Memo has it at 275O/191R. It had dipped substantially under that earlier in the day (I think I remember seeing it down to 235O/191R).

    Ryan’s entrance in the race has certainly jiggled poll numbers. Now the fun is seeing if they stay jiggled in the coming weeks.

  326. It is entertaining to see the level of drooling at the first sniff of of good news for the GOP in months.

  327. ZBBMcFate: you just keep right on believing whatever you want. Yeah, politicians say one thing and do another; in Clinton’s case her own pronouncements are unusually congruent to what analysts say about her prospects.

    John, Five Thirty Eight allows for everything they can, including the naming-of-the-Veep bump, which is temporary, like the post-Convention bump. That said, their current prediction of 300.5 IS down from a few days ago, when they were projecting 301.4. Their “If the election were held today” number is 295.4, which means they’re expecting Obama-Biden to pick up a few in the next couple of months.

  328. RCP has 237 to 191 with 110 toss-up (if memory serves)

    It’s “No Toss-Ups Map” has it 332 to 206 in favor of Obama, but you wouldn’t think about mentioning that.

  329. Out of curiosity, what trackers are giving you 300EVs for Obama?

    Between our esteemed host and Xopher, they pretty much got it.

    RCP has 237 to 191 with 110 toss-up (if memory serves)

    If I was almost 50 EV behind and my opponent was only 2 or 3 states away from 270, I wouldn’t feel all that comfortable. Especially if my supposedly energizing VP candidate had bagged me an average of only 1% over several days when the median is 4%. But hey, they’ve given us actual metric by publicly announcing the 11% bounce they say they will get from the convention, so that should be entertaining.

    and if anything its average suffers from the problem that a good percentage of the early polls are of registered voters, not likely voter (meaning the polls skew Dem)

    They’re starting the switch to LV models, but in any event I try to stick with aggregators (such as 538) that take into effect not only LV vs. RV models, but also things like house effect and frequency.

    If you take just the most recent polls in the battleground states, the Ryan pick has coincided with (and possibly been causal in) Romney taking the lead in VA, OH, NC, IA, and WI.

    Any pollster or statistician worth their salt will tell you depending exclusively on a single poll is a sucker’s game, and that goes double for 80-some days out. Anyone saying otherwise is trying to sell something. BTW, NC has been “Lean Romney” in a bunch of models for a while, and I haven’t seen an unsponsored poll with Ryan ahead in WI.

  330. Genufett, I would disagree with a couple of your points. I think that most voters perceive Joe Biden far more unfavorably than you believe. Certainly, you are right that most of the negative opinions of him are held by Republicans. Still, I think you are underestimating the independents’ negative perception of him. I think (this is just an opinion, nothing to back it up) that his gaffes resonate across the spectrum of voters. Hard core Democrats may look at his “put ya’ll back in chains” comment as just Joe being Joe. Indeed, many of them may actually think that is exactly what Republicans want to do.
    The independents are another matter. I think that the Democrats are underestimating the impact of this particular statement on independents.

    Again, I have nothing empirical to back this up, but I believe most Americans are sick of the racial strife that comes from the Obama administration and their surrogates constantly making every disagreement with the President’s policies a black vs. white issue.

    Millions of people are out of work, they don’t give two shits about what color the President is, they just want him to fix the problem, and they aren’t buying the fiction that everyone who thinks his policies don’t work is a racist.

  331. Billy Quiets:

    “Again, I have nothing empirical to back this up, but I believe most Americans are sick of the racial strife that comes from the Obama administration and their surrogates constantly making every disagreement with the President’s policies a black vs. white issue.”

    Billy, you have to let me know where you get your drugs, man.

    I do appreciate you noting you have no empirical evidence, however.

  332. Well don’t tell anyone, but the framers (of the houses I build, not the constitution) are a pretty good source.

  333. As someone who lives in a swing state (FL), and who was planning to sit this one out, he brings a certain something to the ticket, and that something is punchability. He just looks smug. I hate his politics, too, but it’s mostly sheer anticharisma that Ryan brings to the ticket. I’ll vote Obama.

  334. This is kind of a random thought, but weren’t there “millions of people… out of work” in 1936? That incumbent seemed to do OK at the polls. I mean, would that Obama was as aggressive as Roosevelt, but still.

  335. Doc, I have a hard time figuring out what motivates today’s voters, much less the ones from 1936. I could give you a pretty good essay about why FDR got reelected but I have a hard enough time getting you guys to realize that it’s all about President # 44 not #43. I refuse to go back to all the way back to #32 if you don’t mind.

  336. for the Ryan advocates on this forum. How do you reconcile Ryan asking for stimulus funds. Denying he asked for them when asked. and then admitting, yes indeed he asked for them, but he wouldn’t have asked for them if he knew it was stimulus funds because only “regular” funds create jobs and not stimulus funds.

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/08/16/702921/after-documents-show-paul-ryan-secured-20-million-in-stimulus-grants-he-claims-i-never-asked-for-stimulus/

    his logic seems to be getting as contorted as Romney’s

  337. S V, that is a very good question. This is the kind of thing we should be talking about in political discussions. I read your link and I didn’t find Ryan’s answer to be completely forthcoming. I would have preferred if he had said something like, “I was against passing the stimulus, but once it became clear that my colleagues were going to waste my constituent’s money, I owed it to them to try and least get some of it back to our district.”

  338. Xopher, no it’s not what he did, more’s the pity. It disappoints me, honestly.

    About Paul Ryan in this instance, but also politicians in general, I find that the longer they’re in power, the more likely they are to forget that the truth is the most powerful ally they will ever have. What the hell could anyone say if he just told it the way it was? He let his fear of what people would think dictate his response instead of just being truthful. Always a mistake.

  339. John Scalzi, ran across this image on reddit, and thought it summed up your position on Ayn Rand pretty well.

  340. S V, shall I throw out a link from the Romney Campaign to counter your link to an Obama staffer.

    About the author of your article. “Prior to joining EPI, he worked at the Office of Management and Budget and the George Washington Institute of Public Policy. He also worked as a staff member for President Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.”

  341. since we know Ryan hasn’t done the numbers on his budget (he admitted it himself) and since we have the evidence that austerity causes job losses, i am inclined to believe the author. Remember, facts have a liberal bias. :) since everything that seems to be coming from the Republican party these days seems to be based on ideology.

  342. On a more humorous level: If you’re an R you are going to get criticism from D’s and vice versa. If you propose a budget where the numbers just seem to be fictional, you’ll expect some push-back from economists. But getting flak from your favorite band is just funny:
    “Paul Ryan’s love of Rage Against the Machine is amusing, because he is the embodiment of the machine that our music has been raging against for two decades.”

    http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/tom-morello-paul-ryan-is-the-embodiment-of-the-machine-our-music-rages-against-20120816#ixzz23slML0Dj

    Billy, regarding the EPI, you seem to be implying something is wrong because of who it’s by, without caring if it is really right. If you check their method notes, you’ll find that you can quibble about the numbers a little, but they do the calculation in a reasonable and fair way. A very quick guesstimate suggests that their numbers are not unreasonable to me. If you have an honest objection to their method, then let’s hear it!

  343. S V, shall I throw out a link from the Romney Campaign to counter your link to an Obama staffer.

    That…doesn’t counter anything. There’s no refutation of the numbers, which is the entire point of his post, and it contains no evidence of anything other than his LinkedIn profile. All it says is that he worked for OMB, which was as a student intern during the Bush administration; a public policy division of GWU, where he was a research assistant; and for the NCFRR, which was a bipartisan committee where he was a staff economist.

  344. What’s worst about the Ryan plan isn’t how it treats Social Security and Medicare. I think it actually treats those two programs reasonably, and is the first attempt to reign in entitlements in my lifetime…well, actually, ever. It’s everything else in the plan that makes no sense…like zeroing out WIC. You might be able to say, with a straight face, that voucherizing Medicare is designed to save Medicare (even if it does so by shifting costs to seniors as costs rise), but you can’t claim to be saving programs by summarily wiping them out.

  345. I think we’ll find out that there is a second wave election coming. Polling companies are releasing polls with internals of D+9 and +11, yet only showing a 2-4 point Obama lead! Really? An electorate even more D than 2008? Especially given 40+ months of >8% unemployment, an addition $6T in debt, chaos in our international relations and no budget in well over 1000 days?

    Rasmussed just released a 15,000 person survey suggesting a R+4 electorate. That makes sense, since presidential elections typically most closely resemble mid-terms. An R+4 equals a Romney win and an R senate and house. It also suggests public interpretation of current polling is WAYYY off. Assuming the campaigns have a more realistic analytical model, it may explain the ugly tact obama’s campaign has been taking the last 2 months (having said that, what other option does he have?).

    Romney may not be as ‘likeable’ as obama, but it isn’t high school and I suspect people will vote for competence over style.

    We’ll see, but I honestly think Romney is in very good shape, particularly with the Ryan pick. You may not like the Ryan plan, but many do, and at least he understands that an unsustainable path cannot last.

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