“The House-passed budget resolution fails to meet these moral criteria.” stated the US Conference of Catholic Bishops to Representative Paul Ryan. Sister Simone Campbell stated that Ryan’s budget “rejects church teaching about solidarity, inequality, the choice for the poor, and the common good. That’s wrong.” The faculty of the Jesuit affiliated Georgetown University told Ryan that “Your budget appears to reflect the values of your favorite philosopher, Ayn Rand, rather than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Her call to selfishness and her antagonism toward religion are antithetical to the Gospel values of compassion and love.”
It has been twenty-four hours since the announcement of Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney’s running mate, and it still does not look good. From video of Ryan attacking the nation’s military leadership to the rank opposition to his budget from religious groups, Ryan could be a disaster, or at least as David Frum put it, a drag on the ticket.
The Romney Campaign has managed to set the world record for naming a running mate and then throwing him under the bus. Romney has already started to try and distance himself from the Ryan Budget even though he has recently praised it and even been said to be willing to sign it. Kevin Madden, a Romney spokesman, stated “Gov. Romney is at the top of the ticket. And Governor Romney’s vision for the country is something that Congressman Ryan supports.”
The Romney Campaign even sent out these talking points:
1) Does this mean Mitt Romney is adopting the Paul Ryan plan?
· Gov. Romney applauds Paul Ryan for going in the right direction with his budget, and as president he will be putting together his own plan for cutting the deficit and putting the budget on a path to balance.
· Romney’s administration will go through the budget line by line and ask two questions: Can we afford it? And, if not, should we borrow money from China to pay for it?
· Mitt Romney will start with the easiest cut of all: Obamacare, a trillion-dollar entitlement we don’t want and can’t afford.
· Mitt Romney also laid out commonsense reforms that will make good on our promises to today’s seniors and save Social Security and Medicare for future generations.
2) Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have different views on some policy areas — like Medicare spending, entitlement reform, labor, etc. — do you think those differences are going to hurt or help?
· Of course they aren’t going to have the same view on every issue. But they both share the view that this election is a choice about two fundamentally different paths for this country. President Obama has taken America down a path of debt and decline. Romney and Ryan believe in a path for America that leads to more jobs, less debt and smaller government. So, while you might find an issue or two where they might not agree, they are in complete agreement on the direction that they want to lead America
Which seems to be along the lines of someone saying that ‘we’re going to spin the Ryan Budget into something else, but we’re going to actually just stick with it.’ So far, Romney has been unwilling to do more than talk in generalizations about his plans for the economy and government hoping that no one will notice. This makes it very easy for the Democrats to attack the Romney Campaign using the Ryan Budget.
David Axelrod, Obama’s senior adviser, called Ryan a “right wing ideologue”, and stated “It is a pick that is meant to thrill the most strident voices in the Republican Party, but it’s one that should trouble everybody else – the middle class, seniors, students.” Jim Messina, Obama’s campaign manager, stated that “The architect of the radical Republican House budget, Ryan, like Romney, proposed an additional $250,000 tax cut for millionaires and deep cuts in education, from Head Start to college aid. His plan would also end Medicare as we know it by turning it into a voucher system, shifting thousands of dollars in health care costs to seniors.”
Ryan, who used his father’s Social Security death benefits to go to college and has little in the way of private business experience, has had some praise and some defenders. Mark McKinnon at The Daily Beast stated:
A failure to act. A terrible, stunning legacy for any leader. But far worse when it is the president of the United States. And that’s the point driven home by Mitt Romney’s selection of the young Paul Ryan as his running mate. For Ryan dared to lead when Barack Obama did not.
After more than three years of what promised to be a historic, transcendent presidency, the nation still faces record unemployment, with nearly $16 trillion in debt and the looming insolvency of Social Security and Medicare. Yet Congress is paralyzed. And the president appears powerless to heal divides or change the direction of the country.
McKinnon apparently forgets the fact that Obama did lead, but that the Republicans did everything in their power to undermine and block Obama’s attempts at leadership. What is more, Ryan appears to be leading in the same way that the 7th Earl Cardigan lead. For those who do not know him, he was the Lieutenant General who lead one of the most celebrated defeats in military history- the Charge of the Light Brigade.
Romney Campaign surrogates are already trying to spin the Ryan VP nomination into something that they can use or at least deflect from. For instance, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus stated that Obama “stole $700 billion from Medicare to fund Obamacare. If any person in this entire debate has blood on their hands in regard to Medicare, it’s Barack Obama. He is the one that’s destroying Medicare.”
This is, of course, a blatant lie. The reduction in money going to Medicare are not cuts, but reductions in spending as people are shifted off of Medicare into other insurance structures. The Huffington Post notes that:
Republicans frequently use this Medicare talking point, even though it’s false. While the Affordable Care Act does reduce Medicare spending, as Politifact has explained, “Those dollars aren’t taken out of the current budget, they are not actual cuts, and nowhere does the bill actually eliminate any current benefits.”
Instead of targeting beneficiaries, the spending cuts largely come from reduced payments to hospitals, discounts on prescription drugs and cuts to private insurers under Medicare Advantage.
With regards to his social views, Paul Ryan stated in his acceptance of the nomination that “Our rights come from nature and from God, not government. That’s who we are. We promise equal opportunity, not equal outcomes.” This, of course, flies in the face of what the Founding Fathers believed.
With regards to LGBT rights, Ryan would rather not talk about them. In this video, at around 1:55, Ryan downplays the importance of marriage equality. He also voted against repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act, no longer supports the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and wants a Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage and civil unions. In 2007, he stated that gays do not have a choice in being gay, but we are not sure if that is his position today. Of course, his theocratic views of government means that he would rather ignore the idea that LGBT people are born that way and, instead, punish them for being born as they are.