Monday, August 13, 2012

Catnip 8/13/12: The Largest Shiny Object Yet


The Townsend Building from AT&T. Don't think I've posted this before, and if I have, my apologies. Mitt Romney ruined my weekend and I haven't had much time to do anything else but read....

Are you ready to end the New Deal and the Great Society all in one election? This is how we do it...

"The largest redistribution of income from the bottom to the top in modern U.S. history." Mother Jones lays out the charts on how the Ryan plan will literally gut every function of the US government to bestow large tax cuts on the wealthy. You weren't using your national parks or the FBI or those food-safety inspectors, were you?

Romney may be trying to run from Ryan's plan now, but as Jonathan Cohn points out, Romney's numbers make the budget cuts much worse. "But if policymakers exempted Social Security from the cuts, as Romney has suggested, and cut Medicare, Medicaid, and all other entitlement and discretionary programs by the same percentage — to meet Romney’s spending cap, defense spending target, and balanced budget requirement — then non-defense programs other than Social Security would have to be cut 29 percent in 2016 and 59 percent in 2022. Without the balanced budget requirement, the cuts would be smaller but still massive, reaching 40 percent in 2022."

Social issues? Ryan is as far right as they come. Although he has vaguely mouthed support of gay rights, he has voted against them every single time. And abortion rights? Forget it. Ryan would criminalize some forms of birth control. Maybe all of them if he had his way.

Ryan is red meat for the Palinesque base to be sure, with Romney all but ignored on these intial appearances. Will that be enough to put Romney over the top? Ed Kilgore doesn't think so. I tend to agree.

Ryan on energy. He would kill green energy efforts, he would personally profit from expanding oil drilling, and the Koch Brothers are among his biggest campaign donors. 'Nuff said.

The choice of Ryan and the embrace of Tea Party philosophy and economic plans represent the death of the moderate Republican. Even St. Ronnie wouldn't be welcome in today's GOP. "The Ryan budget is a repudiation of Hamiltonian conservatism, Eisenhower-style fiscal conservatism, George W. Bush’s 'compassionate conservatism,' and even Ronald Reagan’s conviction that 'Government can and must provide opportunity, not smother it; foster productivity, not stifle it.'" Sorry Ron, you're out.

Jonathan Chait said it better on Saturday: "Over time the movement and the party have grown synonymous, and Ryan’s nominations represents a moment when the conservative movement ceased to control the politicians from behind the scenes and openly assumed the mantle of power." Be sure and read his excellent and extensive piece on Ryan from April.

Another must-read is Ryan Lizza's profile in the New Yorker. Lizza traveled to Janesville to see what makes this guy tick. Turns out Ryan loved earmarks and stimulus spending as a Congressman, and they are fueling the recovery town after GM pulled the plug on the plant there.

Did you know that Paul Ryan charged his constituents an entry fee to his local town hall meet and greets? How about the time when he laughed at a 71-year old man questioning cuts to Medicare and SS, who was then removed by the police, and later thrown to the ground and cuffed? Real knee-slapper, that one.

Ryan took advantage of insider information to avoid taking a personal hit during the Crash of '08. "Instead of doing anything to help, Ryan left the meeting (with Paulson and Bernanke) 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." A man of character, indeed.

Romney's dilemma: "Over and again Romney will be asked whether he supports Ryanism. If he says yes he looks like the bottom, not the top of the ticket. If he says no, he reinforces rather than ends the impression, already taking hold of independent voters, that he is a shifty opportunist who will do whatever it takes, say whatever has to be said, co-opt whomever it takes, to change the furnishings at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. If he asserts himself by neutering Mr Ryan, he will incur the wrath of the very hard-core Tea Partiers he is now so eager to appease." He won't neuter Ryan, he'll just continue to lie about everything, hoping the media won't hold him accountable. That won't fly during the debates, though.

Off to face what promises to be an interesting day...