Ryan Pick All About the Base

House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is far from a safe vice presidential pick by Mitt Romney. A member of Congress who’s argued for massive cuts to Social Security and Medicare, Ryan has been relatively specific in his budget proposals, at least compared to Romney. While Ryan’s proposal leaves plenty of unanswered questions, what is not in doubt is that he would radically shrink the federal government and dramatically cut taxes on the rich, while raising taxes on the bottom 95 percent of earners.

Ryan’s willingness to advocate suicidal fiscal policy has earned plaudits from the beltway, which has declared him “serious,” and from the extremely conservative wing of the Republican Party, which never saw a government program that didn’t need cutting, nor a tax for the rich that wasn’t too high. Ryan also is loved by social conservatives, and with good reason. Indeed, Ryan is the most conservative vice presidential candidate to serve on a major national ticket since at least 1900, and his voting record is very similar to that of  conservative firebrand Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.

Conservatives will, no doubt, declare that the choice of Ryan proves that Mitt Romney is serious about shrinking the federal government and moving America back to an understanding of government that hasn’t been in vogue since before the Progressive Era. That is, in fact, the point. Not that Ryan’s pick proves anything of the sort — Romney has proven himself willing to support any position that benefits Romney — but rather that the pick makes conservatives more supportive of Romney’s candidacy.

Conservatives do not really like or trust Romney, and with good reason. Mitt’s record is heterodox, to say the least. At various points in his career, he’s been pro-choice, he once said he was more pro-gay than then-Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., and the “Romneycare” bill he signed into law was the template for the Affordable Care Act. While Romney has claimed of late that he is “severely conservative,” actual conservatives view this rather like liberals would view Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., if he suddenly ran for president and began claiming to be to the left of the late Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minn.

The choice of Ryan is designed to heal that wound, or at least put a band-aid on it. Ryan lets conservatives back Romney less grudgingly, because they do trust Ryan to destroy the federal government, except for defense.

Romney will need a rock-solid base if he hopes to defeat President Barack Obama in November, but he also will need to win over independents and swing voters. That makes the choice of Ryan a decidedly risky move. Ryan’s plan polls extremely poorly, and the Obama campaign had been bludgeoning Romney with it even before Ryan was on the ticket. Moreover, while the Romney campaign might be hoping that Ryan would move the narrative off of Romney’s taxes and personal wealth, the Ryan plan would lower Romney’s taxes to a startling rate of 0.82 percent — and yes, that is zero point eight two.

Ryan’s plan won’t help Romney with the middle, and will probably hurt him there — which is precisely why Romney is already trying to distance himself from his proposed vice president’s budget.

Romney didn’t pick Ryan to appeal to the middle, though. He picked him to appeal to the right wing of the Republican Party, and by that measure, the pick will probably be successful. Whether rallying the base is enough to win the race for Romney, or whether Ryan turns out to be electoral poison — well, we’ll know that in less than three months.

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Image Credit: Donkey Hotey


Wendy Schroeder
Wendy S5 years ago

It's about appealing to Tea Party nuts. Except they think with all their hate of the poor that they are Christian. Ryan admitted in the past he was a big fan of Ayn Rand, atheist and hater of humanity. Now he's trying to lie about it. He is playing from Karl Rove's handbook that if you repeat a lie enough it becomes truth.

Deborah W.
Deborah W5 years ago

With all the foot soldiers now on the march, choice has never been clearer ...

By our own hand a downsizing of America, its freedoms and dreams, could become the reality of a father's spawn this November -- CAREFUL WHAT YOU VOTE FOR.

Michael M.
Michael M5 years ago

So... The gop base are a bunch of greedy white men who have no concerns for others who do not share their limited and narrow views?

Rob Keenan
Rob Keenan5 years ago

The following is from "The Beer Party,"from John Rodgers,:
that can change a bookish fourteen year old's life.

"The Lord of The Rings and Atlas Shrugged.One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with it's heroes,leading to an emotionally stunted,socially crippled adulthood,unable to deal with the real world.The other,of course,involves Orcs."

Cindy B.
Cindy Black5 years ago

OMG, OMG Sarah H -- I will now break my "never be nasty in a discussion thread" code to ask: Did you just get out of a mental hospital????!

This country is mired in a horrible mess that the rich and powerful (all Repug's of course) have wrought on us. The ONLY reason they did it was to get richer and more powerful. Hence we have "The 99%" vs "The 1%," and absolutely unbelievable social disparities in everything necessary for survival. "Trickle-down Economics" was in place throughout. Not only has it FAILED, but it's failed spectacularly, fraudulantly, criminally! Anybody with a teenie-weenie brain can see that big companies don't "share" with the rest of us..... they reward their investors! The investors demand it.

NO SITTING PRESIDENT could reverse such a mess in 4 years. Obama worked hard to do that, though the Repugs fought him every step of the way. Still, it IS happening, albeit slowly.

NOW, these same a-holes that did it to us are saying: COMPANIES ARE PEOPLE! TAX BREAKS FOR THE RICH! etc etc ad nauseum. Oh, what BALLS! IF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE CLUELESS ENOUGH TO SWALLOW THIS ALL OVER AGAIN, THIS NATION DESERVES TO GO STRAIGHT DOWN THE TOILET. (And don't even get me started on the glaring philosophical conflicts, inaccuracies and outright hypocrisies throughout their entire platform!!)

As for me, I won't be living in this country so I'll be laughing from across the pond.

Diane K.
Diane K5 years ago

It's sad to think our deficit began with the Bush era. Hopefully we won't go back to square one, no pun intended.

Michael G.
Michael T5 years ago

Well said Frances here, take another green star.

Frances C.
Frances C5 years ago

One more point. A R&R (Rack&Ruin) team's policies will take us right back to the Bush/Cheney presidency on steroids. We can't afford that, we are still paying off, and cleaning up the mess they left.

Obama/Biden 2012

Frances C.
Frances C5 years ago

Sarah troll, Do you mean "get the economy going" after the colossal melt down under Bush/
Cheney? When they left Obama an economy that was losing eight hundred thousand jobs a month, every month, when the stock market almost crashed, when people were losing their homes, and so many people were in despair? Do you mean that horrible economy, Sarah?

President Obama had a massive task on his hands. He has worked harder than any President I have seen. He stopped the looming next depression. Put in policies that stopped the job losses, and started the slow steady climb of job creation. the stock market recovered, gave us health care reform so millions of people can get medical care, gave women equal pay rights, gay rights, and supports women's health rights. There is more but you get the point, don't you?

Michael G.
Michael T5 years ago

Sarah? Care to back up your tawdry claims and assertions? I don't think you can. Also when you are talking about the present the word is spelled current, when you are talking about a berry it is spelled currant. Just sayin'