As we speak the Republican message is changing, softening, moving in slightly more moderate directions. This must be the Paul Ryan honeymoon stage. Or maybe he got the “talk” from the GOP telling him to soft pedal his extremism until after the election.
If you go back and listen to Paul Ryan last year and the year before this man had no soft edges. He would not allow abortion even in cases of rape. His budget suggested brutal cuts to social programs and huge increases for the military. His tax policy was the same as that of all Republicans: if Americans give tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans and corporations, jobs will magically appear. If the tax code is revised to take away all tax loopholes, America’s tax intake will increase. If we make government really small and cut all of our safety net programs to the bone we will be doing the people at the bottom a great favor as they will suddenly be energized to succeed. In fact, supporting people who are poor, homeless, and disabled is encouraging them to fail, he tells us.
I know many people do not agree with me, but I think making government small when populations are exploding is the nuttiest thing I have ever heard of. It makes me very nervous because it sounds like an invitation to anarchy. I wouldn’t mind anarchy if there were only a few of us bouncing around the United States and we were all fairly homogenous and peaceful. We aren’t. Even those of us who are relatively peaceful are not peaceful all the time. The partying might be great, but when we weren’t partying I bet there would be hell to pay. No anarchy for me, although I can think of a few things I might enjoy doing that are not allowed now.
Anyway – I’m just saying that I don’t believe that Mr. Ryan is really planning to moderate his plans. He is just waiting until he is elected and can be turned loose to wreak havoc. “Be careful what you ask for because you might get it.”
We are becoming shallow people who are addicted to novelty. Out with the old, in with the new, whether the shiny new thing we admire will be good for us or not doesn’t really seem to matter. Four years ago Obama was new. Everyone was so excited. Now Paul Ryan is new and apparently people are shaken momentarily out of their lethargy. Maybe he will continue to fascinate our fickle tastes for a while or maybe our interests will wane when he starts making our brains freeze and our eyes glaze over by talking technical budget stuff and showing us his charts.
Paul Ryan has been around for the past four years. If anyone in the House of Representatives has been most responsible for the partisan divide it has been Paul Ryan. He wields a lot of behind the scenes influence with Republicans. I believe that he stopped the deal that Obama and Boehner had worked out, the deal that might have prevented our credit from being downgraded. He will tell you that Obama failed, but Paul Ryan did everything he could to prevent us from seeing if Obama’s approach would have worked. He is the “new guard” who exerts a powerful sway over the old guard. He is more conservative than the conservatives. He has brought them into line with a passionate belief in his dogma and his mathematical understanding, with which he dazzled them. Are we really going to fashion America’s future after an Ayn Rand plot? Now I’ll have to reread the darn book, The Fountainhead, again. Maybe I’ll just read the summary on Wikipedia. I don’t expect to be as spellbound by it as Paul Ryan. But he is “a lean and hungry man” and he has obviously either convinced the Republicans that he is all that; or they had Romney pick him for VP so they could get him off their backs.
I just could not disagree with anyone more that I disagree with Paul Ryan. Of course, I get my economic advice from Paul Krugman who also could not disagree with anyone more than he probably disagrees with Paul Ryan. Ryan believes in austerity for everyone but the wealthy. He espouses drastic cuts and very small government. He buys into the rugged individualist, pull-yourself-up-by-your-own-boot-straps mumbo-jumbo that the good old boys believe is the essence of the American psyche. It may have been appropriate when there were only 300,000 Americans and most of America was frontier, but not so much when we number 313+ million with no new frontier except space. He mistakes harshness for wisdom. He wants America to get a martyr complex. Paul Krugman does not agree that pure austerity is the way out of the current economic downturn. He writes for the New York Times opinion section, although he has been on vacation recently. When he comes back you should read his articles so you have something to balance against what Paul Ryan has to say. I still hope, even now that we have my worst case scenario, that we will not go there.
Correction: Apparently Paul Ryan like Atlas Shrugged rather than The Fountainhead. My bad. I’ll probably have to revisit both.
Well ladies, maybe we should take the burqa. We now have a candidate for VP who tried to defund Planned Parenthood, who is a staunch Catholic (rapidly becoming the new evangelicals), who is a man and yet feels it is up to him to fight against a woman’s right to control her own body and make judgments about her own health. And worst of all, it appears there are woman who agree with this piece of atavism sponsored by many in the GOP.
Since we haven’t put a woman in the White House as our President and since most of us are still knocking our heads against that very thick glass ceiling (however cracked it may be) it is possible that no one would notice if we decided to retreat to a self-assigned purdah. Of course, deciding this for ourselves would be far different from the experience of woman who are required to keep actual purdah. And, of course we really cannot do this even if we are voted back to the 1950’s. Probably retreating would be exactly the wrong move, unless keeping silent and letting the world see what returning to the days when abortion was illegal and contraception didn’t exist would look like in America. I don’t think it would take very long for Americans to decide to repeal those laws; think Prohibition. So back to purdah.
All I can hope is that we don’t let ourselves be sweet-talked into believing these Republican guys if they start wooing us. The press has already pointed out how buff Paul Ryan is and something, something about his eyes. Don’t be fooled by the discipline it takes to do that rigorous X90 exercise routine every morning; rigor and inflexibility can be the same sometimes. We have yet to meet Mrs. Ryan and the children because they do not live in Washington, but we will be meeting them. No matter how many nice things Mr. Ryan’s wife says about him, or how much his children like him, we cannot afford to elect this man. Our choices are to stay with the left or buy a burqa and practice our own form of purdah until they desist.