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.