Rep. Paul Ryan (pictured) wasted no time invoking thinly veiled racial rhetoric during his debut performance as Mitt Romney’s running mate, when he noted that the government ”promises equal opportunity, not equal outcomes.”
A self-professed follower of Ayn Rand (minus her atheism, as he’s since made clear), his comments were a dog whistle to those who believe in the Rand-Ryan mantra about “makers” and “takers,” and how in the end, one person’s position in life stems on their own abilities versus handouts from the government.
Do you hear that, minorities, women, and old people? In Paul Ryan and co.’s world, life is what you make out of it. So there.
It sounds nice in theory, but as Salon’s Joan Walsh points out, the government subsidized Paul Ryan’s education, and for all that chatter about the virtues of free enterprise, Ryan has spent much of his career working in government and profiting off musings about why it needs to be gutted.
Paul Ryan is a poser.
A poser who has now been tapped by an even bigger poser to help him run the country in to the ground. For example, let’s take a look at “The Ryan Budget.”
His budget seeks to restructure entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicaid by privatizing each and dramatically reduce discretionary spending, with cuts to food stamps, child care, and other programs designed to aid those in need. His proposed cuts are so excessive that it drew the ire of nuns, who went out on a bus tour condemning their fellow Catholics budget plan as “immoral.”
Others have complained about the budget for reportedly leaving us with fewer food inspectors, fewer air-traffic controllers, and less clean energy initiatives (don’t worry: big oil catches billions of breaks), while women’s groups like Emily’s List were already leading the charge against him for seeking to de-fund Planned Parenthood and heavily restrict abortion coverage.
Fret not if you’re wealthy, though.
The liberal-leaning Center on Budget Policies and Priorities says that 62 percent of the spending cuts in the Ryan budget focuses on low-income programs, but 37 percent of its tax benefits would go to those making more than $1 million per year.
Already, the Romney campaign is trying to distance itself from the plan.
Romney senior adviser Ed Gillespie appeared on CNN to say that Romney would “be putting forward his own budget” if he wins the election.
Back in March, Romney said in Chicago, “I’m very supportive of the Ryan budget plan.” And then later in Wisconsin, “I think it’d be marvelous if the Senate were to pick up Paul Ryan’s budget and adopt it and pass it along to the President.”
This is exactly why Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan isn’t as “bold” as some like Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) would hail it to be. Really Romney’s caving in to party members who feel Paul Ryan is a ”serious man with a serious plan“and whose support he needs to win in November.
It will work in the way of invigorating conservatives, though it simultaneously provides Democrats the opportunity to wake the sleeping giant that is certain voting blocs – minorities, women, youth – who may have felt their vote wouldn’t matter much this time around.
That’s exactly why I tweeted before the Ryan pick was made official:
If this Romney-Ryan ticket is true, Barack and Michelle are somewhere dancing offbeat to “Move Your Body” as we tweet.
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter rightly argued in a statement:
By choosing Ryan as his running mate, Romney has made it abundantly clear that he will rubber stamp this extreme Republican plan that brings us back to the same failed economic policies of the Bush Administration and leaves the most vulnerable of our citizens to fend for themselves.
The more voters discover about what exactly Paul Ryan believes in, and thus, what Mitt Romney believes in too, the sooner they’ll find how problematic that vision is for them…and vote accordingly.
Michael Arceneaux is a Houston-bred, Howard-educated writer and blogger. You can read more of his work on his site, The Cynical Ones. Follow him on Twitter: @youngsinick