As Jeff Fecke rightly notes, Mitt Romney’s decision to chose Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate was all about shoring up the conservative base. But the problem for Romney is that the conservative base is splintering with much of the Republican establishment and a Ryan pick will likely only exacerbate that split. In fact, we’re seeing the beginnings of that now.
At least one Catholic newspaper has gone so far as to argue that President Barack Obama is more “pro-life” than Romney and Ryan. Nicholas P. Cafardi at the National Catholic Reporter writes:
There is no doubt Obama is pro-choice. He has said so many times. There is also no doubt Romney is running on what he calls a pro-life platform. But any honest analysis of the facts shows the situation is much more complicated than that.
For example, Obama’s Affordable Care Act does not pay for abortions. In Massachusetts, Romney’s health care law does. Obama favors, and included in the Affordable Care Act, $250 million of support for vulnerable pregnant women and alternatives to abortion. This support will make abortions much less likely, since most abortions are economic. Romney, on the other hand, has endorsed Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan’s budget, which will cut hundreds of millions of dollars out of the federal plans that support poor women. The undoubted effect: The number of abortions in the United States will increase. On these facts, Obama is much more pro-life than Romney.
Ryan’s devotion to noted Athiest Ayn Rand has riled up the religious right as well. American Values Network reissued a 60-second TV spot from a year ago “Ryan & Rand vs Jesus” along with its groundbreaking memo, “Ryan & Rand vs. Christianity: A Fight for the Soul of America” as soon as the Ryan announcement happened.
AVN’s ad, which features clips of Paul Ryan posted on facebook praising Rand’s morality and talking about the need for more people in DC to follow her teachings, also highlights the wide support for Rand within the Republican party. The video intersperses quotes from actual interviews Rand gave in which she said she is “against God,” and the “creator of a new code of morality . . . not based on faith,” with praise for her from prominent GOP and conservative leaders. Rep. Ryan is quoted as saying, “Ayn Rand, more than anyone else, did a fantastic job of explaining the morality of capitalism, the morality of individualism.”
“Ayn Rand’s anti-Christian teachings are anathema to what most Americans believe. And yet she is the inspiration cited by Mitt Romney’s newly-minted running mate for entering politics, and the fingerprints of her heartless philosophy are found throughout his budget,” said Eric Sapp, Executive Director of American Values Network in a statement to the press. “Ayn Rand’s America is not the one most parents would want to raise their children in, and the choice of her most vocal acolyte on the Republican ticket just created a major opportunity for Democrats with evangelical and Catholic voters.”
Make no mistake about it, Paul Ryan votes like a religious conservative. But religious conservatives don’t seem convinced he’s really one of them. If that’s the case, will they turn out in November? If this ad is any indication, the answer will be no.
Photo from jencu via flickr.