Saturday, August 11, 2012

It's Wisconsin's world, the rest of you just live in it.

Wisconsin continues to be the “it” state of American politics.

Vice presidential candidates don’t normally have much impact on a ticket. It is generally more important to select someone who will not hurt the ticket than it is possible to select someone who can help it.  

I may be turned by Badger pride, but this time may be different.

If so, it won’t be so much be because of Ryan himself (although I think he’ll be a hit). It will be because of what his selection says about the campaign that Romney intends to run and how Ryan will help him run it.

Like him or not, Paul Ryan is one of the more serious politicians in America. People my age – and I am not young – have known for our entire adult life that an entitlement crack-up was on the way. Ryan has been one of the few national leaders who have taken that issue seriously and offered proposals to address it. He is one of the only politicians to have articulated a vision of limited government and an America that remains a place where government serves, rather than manages, its population. More fundamentally, he is willing to make the numbers of that vision – what the government takes in and sends out - add up.

He has been, frankly, an adult among children. He has repeatedly demonstrated, as he said this morning, “the courage to tell you the truth.” The fact that he has risen to prominence is one of the more encouraging things about the current political environment.

So it speaks well of Romney that he has selected Ryan. It tells us that he does not simply expect the voters to reject President Obama’s re-election, but to make a case for another view of our national government – one that recognizes that you do, in fact, “build it” and the government’s job is to create the conditions under which you can do so – and not to build it for you.

Ryan will not only help Romney make that case, but is an embodiment of Romney’s willingness to make it. This is a momentous selection.

Cross posted at Purple Wisconsin.


Tom said...

I agree that Ryan is a great VP pick, and is great presidential material.

But I'm royally pissed at him for not running for the nomination in the first place. He begged off because of family reasons, but those reasons hold just as strongly for being veep. I and a lot of other Republicans and conservatives would much rather have Ryan as president than Romney.

Can we lead a coup to get him nominated at the convention?

Billiam said...

While I like Ryan as well, I doubt that enough of the citizenry are ready to have an adult discussion about fiscal reality. Instead of controlling spending, they want more taxes. They seem to have a blind spot, never seeing that EVERY time, no matter what party is in charge, you give them more, they spend double or better. You CAN NOT do that. They, don't care. The more they spend, the more votes they can buy.

Ah hell, maybe I've grown too cynical. I trust neither party to actually fix anything. Besides, change comes from Congress, at least, it still does. The way Congress is abdicating their Constitutional responsibilities, it won't be long before they're little more than gelded mouth pieces.

Anonymous said...

"He has been, frankly, an adult among children."

"I doubt that enough of the citizenry are ready to have an adult discussion..."

Now, why is it that some conservatives insist that they are the "adults" compared to other people??? Seems childish to me to make that supposition.

Food for thought…a libertarian states that Ryan is NOT a true conservative based on his record.

Billiam said...

Wow, anon. No where in my post do I single out Cons v. libs. Childish of you to project, wot? There are those who call themselves conservatives that were for the auto bailout. They were wrong, as were those who were for tarp, or QE's 1&2. BTW, Ron Paul won't be on the ballot, and I don't like Johnson all that much. So, am I to sit back, and snipe at all those not wise enough to think as I do? BTW, that was sarcasm.

Tom said...

Yes, anon, Paul Ryan was part of the big-government, big-spending Republican grand ole time when he was part of the majority. Since then, he's been a fantastic opposition leader.

It's an open question of what Ryan "really" is. I'd like to hear his explanations. My best guess is he's a savvy politician who didn't rock the boat in order that he could gain power and institute real reform within the party. That could be wrong.

Some people certainly would have preferred he gone the principled route, like Ron Paul. Personally, I'm not willing to say that, when it comes to government, principles are more important than effectiveness. If all politicians would act with principles, that would be one thing. But Ryan's clever statesmanship (if that's what it is) may bring about better fiscal reform than Paul's principles ever have or would.

Anonymous said...

Billiam, with your reputation, the implication is clear.

Tom--Paul Ryan was part of the big-government, big-spending Republican grand ole time when he was part of the majority. Since then, he's been a fantastic opposition leader.

Code for "flip flopper". Hey, don't blame me, I'm just using the definition crafted by conservatives.

"But Ryan's clever statesmanship (if that's what it is) may bring about better fiscal reform than Paul's principles ever have or would."

To my knowledge, Paul has NOT wavered in his principles, much to the delight of the Tea Party crowd. If "clever statesmanship" refers to compromise, I thought true blue conservatives find that word to be one not in their lexicon. In their view, or so I've been told, compromise equates to RINO.

Anonymous said...

The Romney/Ryan strategy of treating the American voters as adults who will be able to grasp the importance of the choice they'll be faced with in November is a risky one, but let's pray that it works.

Anonymous said...

I look forward to hearing how a guy whose votes helped contribute significantly to our fiscal crisis, including one for a deficit-financed entitlement expansion, has great ideas for how to fix this mess.

I look forward to hearing your party support Medicare cuts after ranting and raving about them just, what, 2 years ago?

I also look forward to your party explaining why it's important to go big on entitlements when just, what, 2 years ago? your party was telling us we need to go slow.

I love partisan hypocrisy/spin, it's hilarious.

Anonymous said...

"The Romney/Ryan strategy of treating the American voters as adults..."

Again, what is it with some people and their fixation on that phrase?

Yes, Ryan has conservative tendencies. But has stood by those credentials every step of the way? His voting record does not lie. Would not some conservatives dare call him a RINO?

“But while Ryan’s boyish looks, youthful style, and sharp intellect have garnered him much praise from conservatives desperate to find the next Ronald Reagan, he has one major problem: His actual voting record.

Though he talks like Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman, some of Ryan’s most high-profile votes seem closer to Keynes than to Adam Smith. For example, in the span of about a year, Ryan committed fiscal conservative apostasy on three high-profile votes: The Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP (whereby the government purchased assets and equity from financial institutions), the auto-bailout (which essentially implied he agrees car companies – especially the ones with an auto plant in his district—are too big to fail), and for a confiscatory tax on CEO bonuses (which essentially says the government has the right to take away private property—if it doesn’t like you).

While Ryan’s overall voting record is very conservative, the problem with casting these high-profile votes is that they demonstrate he is willing to fundamentally reject conservatism when the heat is on."

And now the money quote from the source...

“In fairness, Ryan was not alone. Other “conservative” members of Congress voted for at some of these bad bills, but the difference, of course, is that Ryan is the one many conservatives are viewing as a “rising star” conservative wunderkind. (Note: Nobody is arguing Paul Ryan should be “primaried” by a conservative in his Congressional district, but, by the same token, isn’t all this effusive praise a bit overwrought?)

Though Ryan has downplayed his bad votes, what is more interesting is that few conservatives seem to hold them against him. His many defenders (and trust me, I’ve encountered them) cavalierly dismiss his voting record as mere pragmatism, or an easily forgiven mistake, like, ‘Oops, I voted for $700 billion! My bad…’”

Anonymous said...

Billiam, does that adult conversation include lying about welfare waivers for states? Because that's what your candidate is doing.

"Wait, I support him, so that's different, because, see..."

We won't have an adult conversation until both parties are banned by law.

Tom said...

What's ironic is Anonymous is engaging in the same kind of hyperpartisanship she is supposedly criticizing. She's attempting to put Ryan in the partisan damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't cliche trap.

What's worse is she's not simply engaging in an honest debate about what Ryan has and has not done, but is using what she perceives as Ryan's errors as a way of attacking the people she is trying to engage in debate. Instead of acknowledging that both Billiam and I are criticizing a politician we support honestly, she's making all kinds of assumptions that we're as blindly partisan as she is.

I'm game for engaging in an adult conversation about Ryan, if you are.

Anonymous said...

Ryan's roadmap is predicated on balancing the budget on the backs of poor seniors. Even Catholic bishops have denounced Ryan for failing to live up to his faith. Where's the religious principles conservatives used to embrace?

Anonymous said...

5:29 Anon:

The principles of which you speak cost money. Complaining about gays and abortion does not.


Anonymous said...


I am curious how it's possible to have an "adult conversation" about Paul Ryan. I will explain why but please understand, I am not a Democrat. I hate and would prefer to reject the binary choice with which we are faced. If I could I would ban both parties and sentence their blind followers to hard labor as punishment for refusing to think independently. OK? OK.

There are two reason I cannot take Paul Ryan seriously: The first is his votes when the GOP was in power. He voted to cut taxes during a war, which nobody anywhere had ever done before. He voted for every special interest tax cut you can name (I was in the audience for a few of them when he was on Ways and Means - especially the one for hunting arrow manufacturers). He voted for an unfunded expansion of entitlements. He voted for TARP. He voted for the auto bailout.

With me? So then, when his party is out of power, now it's all about deficits. I'll grant you, if you're willing to admit it, that both parties pull this sh#t. Complain when they're out of power, make it worse when they're in power (this is reason #1 both should be banned). So, as I was saying, his party is out of power and whamo! Deficits are a big problem. Everyone knows that deficits are a problem partially - largely - because of things for which he voted. The Bush tax cuts, the wars, the expansion of Medicare. I'm sorry but it's credibility.

His story about how he was promised that "they'd fight for it in conference committee", referring to the voucher-ization of Medicare when Part D was passed is B.S. Everyone knows you "promise to fight for it" so you can say you did when you know it won't go anywhere. So #1 is credibility, ok? Now maybe if he did a press conference and spent the first two hours saying, "I am partially responsible for this mess. My votes made it worse. I was a total failure at living up to the principles on which I now harp constantly..." then I could forgive him that part. But...

His Roadmap. It doesn't add up. The math simply isn't there. There are not enough tax loopholes to close to pay for the tax cuts for the wealthy. The cuts to discretionary spending are simply not realistic. I am not going to vote for someone who says we must do something that simply will not be done. He may as well campaign on his ability to ride a bicycle to the top of Everest. Even if the economy booms, it doesn't add up.

His original analysis from Heritage - the group that proclaimed the Bush tax cuts would lead to never-ending prosperity mind you - assumed 2.7 unemployment. He released it with that figure in it. That's like claiming to sell a car that gets 1,000 miles a gallon, and then going "oops", actually it only gets 180. Uh, sorry, no, end of argument, you will not be getting my business or my vote.

Say what you want about Obama. He brought Boehner, Cantor and the rest to the table and said, "I'll cut Medicare". That's like a Republican saying "I'll raise taxes". He was willing to deal, to compromise. The GOP? They're petulant children right now. My four year-old could come up with a plan like Ryan's...same deal.

I'll admit Obama hasn't been a great leader, but he hasn't had much to work with. The GOP moves the goalpost after every play. Tell me you see that. You cannot possibly claim that they have negotiated in good faith since they took the House. Go read "Ask Not What Good we Do". The chapter on the Debt Ceiling is frankly terrifying. Simple-minded idiots who pray before taking a vote of that magnitude. Incredible!

That is why I don't see the GOP offering an adult alternative. It's a fantasy.

Anonymous said...

Anony 12:05 a.m., 9:32 a.m., and 5:44 p.m. here.

So, Tom, why call the anonymous' here a "she"? Do you know the gender of the poster? Or are you just being obtuse?

"What's ironic is Anonymous is engaging in the same kind of hyperpartisanship she is supposedly criticizing. She's attempting to put Ryan in the partisan damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't cliche trap."

How is making light of Ryan's voting record "hyperpartisanship"?
A number of conservatives are ignoring his voting record which in a number of cases goes against conservative principles. He is hardly a member of the "hard right".

"Instead of acknowledging that both Billiam and I are criticizing a politician we support honestly, she's making all kinds of assumptions that we're as blindly partisan as she is."

Criticizing? More like a slap on the wrist. If you feel that Romney and Ryan, while not true conservatives, are better than Obama, fine. Just don't pretend that they are members of the hard right when their voting record clearly says otherwise. They are centrists with conservative tendencies.

Conservatives best be careful what they wish for by hitching their wagon to Romney.

Tom said...

Uh, one of those anons, thanks for your post. I'm sure you know which one :)

Anonymous said...

Anony 10:24 p.m. your last entry indicative of your willingness to have an "adult" conversation?

How do you rectify the voting record and past reputation of Ryan, at least according to the viewpoint of a Christian libertarian, to that of the GOP establishment and right-wing media who insists that Ryan is a true-blue conservative?

Anonymous said...

Adults plan for the future, including making difficult choices with finite resources. Children don't.

Anonymous said...

Anony 9:05 a.m., wearing the big boy pants. Praytell, who are the adults?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 9:05 AM:

When in your estimation has either party made difficult choices with finite resources?

I'd say Scott Walker did that last year, even if I don't agree with everything he did. Yet I cannot think of a time in the last decade that Congress has done so.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 5:44 with the long post here:

Further, how do we have an adult conversation with the Romney campaign when they lie about the ACA's reductions to Medicare?

Their recent ad implies it makes cuts to benefits, which it does not. Worse, their own plan would reduce benefits and use the cuts to (partially) finance tax cuts for the rich.

Again, how do we have an adult conversation when the participants make up their own reality?

Anonymous said...

The cuts to Medicare will harm current seniors, but the cuts in Ryan's budget wouldn't have (even though they're the same), but it doesn't matter because we've done a 180 and don't want the cuts...oh and now that means we have to find another $716 to balance the budget, how about with more tax cuts?

Very adult.

Anonymous said...

ONLY $716? Well, have Ryan use his money to balance the budget rather than buy wine for his friends.

Anonymous said...

Fine, $716 BILLION.

I see today Mr. Ryan is against the Defense cuts he voted for.

I see Reince Priebus has informed us that Mitt Romney won't be running on the GOP Platform regarding abortion exceptions for rape and incest. You know, the platform being created largely by his supporters for the convention at which he'll be nominated as the Party's nominee.

Again, how is it possible to have an an adult conversation with this party? It's like negotiating with Hamas.

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