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Why I’m Thrilled Romney Picked Paul Ryan

The ideological division between the 2012 Presidential candidates just got wider and more defined. For those of us who vote blue, we couldn’t be happier.

Shortly after news broke that Mitt Romney had selected Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate, my friend, Matt Davies—the very smart and witty Pulitzer-prize winning editorial cartoonist—made a great comment:

“So the presidential candidate chose a massive lightning rod of a VP to toss red meat to right wing ideologues and shore up the base. But enough about 2008.”

Do Democrats see this as a repeat of Sen. John McCain’s polarizing pick of Sarah Palin? Many do, and with good reason: Ryan may be a liability in the eyes of some very key undecided voters. His selection is surely going to be seen as Romney’s attempt to appeal to those in his party who skew far right.

And look how that turned out for the GOP four years ago.

On the surface, it takes some bite out of one of the complaints the GOP has had about President Obama—that he’s never had ‘real world experience’ in the private sector. Neither has Ryan—he’s a career politician himself. Ryan has no foreign policy experience, unless you count being able to ‘see’ Canada from Wisconsin. But those would be the surface potshots. 

In more substantial terms, Romney’s choice will definitely have a ripple effect in ways that will make the Dems happy. It immediately shines a spotlight on some of the right’s biggest vulnerabilities. First and foremost, Ryan’s wide-reaching budget plan that jolted even members of his own party when it was introduced.

It’s been widely quoted that, according to a report in the Atlantic, Romney’s tax rate in 2010 would have only been a mere 0.82 percent. No wonder Mitt likes him. But the issue of releasing tax returns is going to keep following the GOP’s presumptive nominee for POTUS, and the proposed Ryan plan is going to draw even more attention to the issue of how fairly the public is taxed—or not. It strengthens the appearance that Romney and his party stand for cutting taxes for the rich, to the detriment of everyone else.

Swing voters are amongst those who will listen most closely now that Romney has chosen Ryan. Polls show that independents, seniors and women haven’t been fans of the Ryan plan, and it will hurt the GOP not only in the presidential race but across the ballots as well for pivotal Congressional and Senate seats. But even more alarming for the GOP? Ryan’s efforts against Medicare may even put Florida securely in the blue, and be a major strike against the Republican ticket for seniors in general.

Some readers might dismiss that opinion coming from a Democrat, but what if the same thought came from AARP, the non-profit group representing seniors and retirees. AARP’s 2011 report on the Ryan plan was titled, “Medicare in the Crosshairs.” Here’s one point they made out of many:

“An analysis of the Ryan plan by the politically neutral Congressional Budget Office estimates that by 2030, typical 65-year-olds would pay 68 percent of the cost of their coverage out of pocket, compared with the 25 percent share they pay now. In dollar terms, the average 65-year-old’s costs would be more than double from about $6,000 a year under current law to $12,500 by 2022, and would be higher for older people.”

But let’s talk about how choosing Ryan will energize the Democrats.

His budget plan’s cuts pointedly targeted social programs and dug deep and harsh against voters who are most needy, programs the GOP prefers to call entitlement handouts. Coupled with the party’s proposed tax cuts for the rich, the ‘R&R’ team is going to be seen as having an approach that moves too far, too fast, and as willing to leave the needy even more vulnerable.

Now here’s a biggie: Ryan is widely viewed as someone who has aggressively taken on women’s rights and health issues, someone you might even call a ‘General’ in the ‘War on Women.’ Women and younger voters who were undecided will certainly tune in to the fact that Ryan has had women’s rights on his target list from day one.

He is against a woman’s right to choose, and has long been committed to ban abortion, even in cases of incest and rape. He co-sponsored the ‘personhood’ bill that defines life as beginning at conception. He has pushed for defunding Planned Parenthood, which would eliminate health care options for millions of needy women; and he’s decidedly pro-life, according to an interview he gave John McCormack of the Weekly Standard in 2010:

“’I’m as pro-life as a person gets,’ Ryan told me in July. ‘You’re not going to have a truce. Judges are going to come up. issues come up, they’re unavoidable, and I’m never going to not vote pro-life.’”

As for other social issues of importance to democrats, Ryan is also considered unfavorable toward environmental concerns, putting big business needs above all else, and denying global warming science.

That, coupled with his vote against the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and wanting to amend the Constitution to ban gay marriage, Paul Ryan is decidedly someone who will get Dems out to the polls in November.

Coming from a libertarian-leaning Republican who wants to keep government out of people’s lives—except women people, it seems; oh and gay soldier people; and breathe fresh air people—Ryan is as invasive as it gets.

Romney’s choice is a strong statement, meant to energize and shore up the GOP’s base. But it also shows the weaknesses in his party’s presumed ticket. As the weight of the Romney-Ryan combo makes more cracks in its own foundation, his VP choice may have served to show just how weak Romney really looks.

Tim Hendrie August 15, 2012 at 12:30 PM
Heather, In a way you are correct in stating that he selection of Ryan brings the difference of the two parties into high relief. This is true. The democrats are the party of high taxes and higher spending. They are also the party of infectious Nanny Statism. They know what's good for you even brtterthan you do. You can't be trusted to spend your own money. So let's just take it off your hands.the democrats are not going to be satisfied until they hs e created a nation on the"Dole". Dependent people do what there told.
Tim Hendrie August 15, 2012 at 12:47 PM
Also Heather, as for tax fairness: the top1% pay 39% of all federal income taxes. The top 25% pay 86% of all income taxes. You say the "rich" are not paying their Fair share. You're right their paying more. All these "rich" people are the people with small and medium businesses. This is the entrepreneurial class where most of the job creation occurs. As Margaret ThTcher said " The trouble with socialism is that sooner or later they run out of other peoples money".
Tim Hendrie August 15, 2012 at 12:57 PM
I don't think that people who have dodged the""coathanger" should pass judgement on the Humanity of those who haven't .Also the Champions of Choice are always trying to restrict your choice in other parts of your life. As for the "War on Women" half of those 60 million abortions were women.
Tim Hendrie August 15, 2012 at 01:00 PM
Frank Marshall Davis ( an actual card carrying member of the Communist part and Obamas mentor) and Dmitri Medvedev had similar views on foreign policy.
MAC August 16, 2012 at 01:21 AM
Put down the media matters, huffpo and 'thinkprogress' Heather. Your children will thank you for it in another few years! Father of 3 young children, Paul Ryan's own father died when Paul was 16, of heart disease--as did his grandfather and his ggrandfather.  That is one of the reasons he is so self-disciplined, does P90X fitness workouts and keeps his body fat to a lean 6-8 %!  (He is 6'2" tall and weighs less than 165 lbs.) A little more about the man and his family: his background is truly "blue collar," he sleeps on his office sofa in D.C., and his former lawyer wife (now stay-at-home mom) was wearing a Kohl's floral dress the other day (marked down to $33!). The Ryans live in a very nice brick home in Paul's hometown of Janesville, WI, just across some woods from the home where Paul Ryan grew up. His wife Janna is from Oklahoma, and comes from a "blue dog" Democrat family. People of all political stripes admire and respect Paul Ryan for his intelligence, ability to clearly and readily articulate his policies, humility and bipartisanship. Did you read the delightful account of how Ryan was spirited away for the "announcement," under the very noses of the media who were dogging all the potential VP picks? Here is a link with video: http://news.yahoo.com/video/paul-ryan-avoided-reporters-running-080000195.html Here is another great link: http://www.theblaze.com/blog/2012/08/15/lack-of-teleprompter-fires-up-paul-ryan-crowd/
Tom Kelly August 16, 2012 at 12:16 PM
MAC, in your little summary about Paul Ryan and how his wife wears blouses from Kohl's, did you forget to tell the readers the FACT that the Ryan's are worth at least $4.9 million dollars, according to financial disclosure forms? Don't you think that's just as important for people to know in the context of that nice brick home and Kohl's blouses you are telling people? Don't you think his devotion to Russian-born atheist Ayn Rand is also relevant when talking about anyone's humility? Her philosophies and writings didn't value humility at all, nor did they embrace altruism, charity, or God.
Kristy Waizenegger August 16, 2012 at 01:12 PM
Tom - With all due respect, you might consider gaining a better understanding of Rand if you're going to continue to cite her in your writings. Agree or disagree with her beliefs but first be sure you understand her beliefs. I think you are misreading or misunderstanding her thoughts on altruism and charity and I think you misconstrue her thoughts on selfishness which is considered inherently to be a bad characteristic as we've been taught but not necessarily so in the context of Rand if you are willing to perhaps see things differently than you have come to know through your own experience. JMO.
Tim Hendrie August 16, 2012 at 01:40 PM
Hi Tom, Glad to see you mentioning God. Does that mean your prolife? Also what's the matter with working and accumulating wealth? A large part of wealth is held In the form of housing. Obama has done Alot to bring down everybodies net worth. It's very hard to accumulate wealth in CT unless UR one of Obamas Wall Street Buddies. This state is anti business and anti capitalist. The Vampire State. Don't worry very soon well all be together in a Socialist Utopia of equality in poverty. Except for the Democratic Politburo.
Joan August 16, 2012 at 02:15 PM
Paul Ryan is anything but "blue collar." He was born into a wealthy family, and had all the benefits that entailed--plus Social Security survivor benefits--to help him in developing his supposed "rugged individualism" after the tragic death of his father. His grandfather built the family's wealth through a construction and road paving business that obviously benefited from government contracts. But now that Ryan "has his," he is more than willing to pull the rug out from everyone else by denying them any sort of safety net. His family is one of the most prominent families in Janesville, Wisconsin. His wife Janna also inherited millions from her family. Sorry, but the Republican ticket is the last place you want to look for any "blue collar" roots. Like Paul Ryan all you want, but don't try to portray him as "modest" and "blue collar."
Walt August 16, 2012 at 03:48 PM
Quick! Run to the radio, El Rushbo, the bovine hypocritical twice divorced drug addled pompous tax dodging racist hero of yours is on! Hang on his every word! Make believe it's the fifties again like Mitt! Go on, run it's time for rush!
Tom Kelly August 16, 2012 at 09:47 PM
Yes, Tim, I am prolife, both before birth and up to natural death...including opposing the death penalty. Only God can take a life.
Tom Kelly August 16, 2012 at 09:53 PM
Kristy, here's Ayn Rand's own words on charity: "My views on charity are very simple. I do not consider it a major virtue and, above all, I do not consider it a moral duty. There is nothing wrong in helping other people, if and when they are worthy of the help and you can afford to help them. I regard charity as a marginal issue. What I am fighting is the idea that charity is a moral duty and a primary virtue." That position is in direct opposition to Christian teaching and the words of Jesus Christ in the gospels. Charity is certainly a moral duty if you are a follower of Christ.
louis August 17, 2012 at 03:08 AM
Lets not overplay the amount of wealth a person has or the lack of it. Sadly, many of the millionaires in the Senate (washington) are democrats. Aristocratic leanings can be good, when it serves the interests of the nation and the people. Jerks come in all shapes and sizes, rich and poor. If Obama loses, it will not be because of ideology, but certainly rhetoric hasn't kept pace with reality, it is because the democrats, thinking there is a special formulae for victory has moved away from the people and replaced them with a type of wealthy who are not exactly committed to democracy. And this global approach to business has entrenched a kind of democrat which perceives that it is all for show anyway.....

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