William Saletan’s Love for Paul Ryan is Based on Fantasy

In American national politics, it doesn’t get much more extreme than Paul Ryan, or the Ryan-Romney budget. That’s reality. Mitt Romney taking on Ryan as his running mate is like Barack Obama taking on Bernie Sanders or Dennis Kucinich. The Ryan-Romney budget is one of the most extreme policy proposals in the history of our country, as extreme as the PATRIOT act or the Alien and Sedition acts– wartime legislation that drew on national panic. Romney’s purported strength is that he’s a moderate technocrat, a can-do businessman who will use his fiscal prudence and New England moderation to help get our national house in order without, you know, letting New Orleans get swallowed by the sea or accidentally invading Turks and Caicos. This is, of course, bullshit; Romney is neither a moderate nor a technocrat nor a fiscal conservative nor a particularly skillful executive. The Ryan nomination is merely the coup de grace, the last confirmation that Romney is an extremist beholden to a mad, extremist wing of a mad, extremist party. This is not business as usual; this is arch-conservatism by any measure.

The question is whether our media will tell the truth about this extremism. If Obama was actually to nominate Sanders or Kucinich, our political media would report on it as if the President had personally sodomized Lady Liberty while reciting The Communist Manifesto and paying children to go gay. Romney’s nomination of the even-more-extreme Paul Ryan has mostly been met with observations about Ryan’s good looks and his supposed seriousness and “wonkiness.” In the war for the Presidency of 2012, one of the key battles will be over this issue exactly: will our comprehensive failure of a new media tell the truth about the extremism of Romney, Ryan, and the Ryan-Romney budget? Will those of us opposed to Republican extremism be able to call a spade a spade and spread the word about the Romney ticket’s ultra-conservative policies?

Today we get William Saletan, Slate’s Official Correspondent on You’re a Slut and I’m in Charge of Your Uterus, waxing orgasmic about Paul Ryan. Ryan, you see, is the way a Republican “should be.” I take it that part of the point here is that those mature, centrist types like Saletan believe that we’re best served if our politicians fill predetermined roles based on vague and artificial standards, as if choosing elected officials is no different than a casting call for some shitty movie. So, you see, what the Republic needs is not for the party that is correct on the merits to succeed; what the USA needs, instead, is for someone to fill the role of Meta-Republican. That this is a vision of politics that should be reserved for children and imbeciles, I take as self-evident, but it’s almost entertaining to see someone lay their dysfunctional political ethos out there. Hey, Billy– supporting politicians based on how well they’d play the role of generic Republican on The West Wing is fucking insane.

Ah, but the specifics! The details! For, indeed, Paul Ryan is a details man. (Except that he isn’t.) Let’s get to them.

“Ryan is a real fiscal conservative. He isn’t just another Tea-Party ideologue spouting dogma about less government and the magic of free enterprise.”

Why would a fiscal conservative support a budget that cuts tax revenues by $4.5 trillion dollars over the next ten years? Why would a fiscal conservative support the Iraq War resolution, which has cost us hundreds of billions? Why would a fiscal conservative support Medicare Part D? Why would a fiscal conservative propose a budget that keeps $40 billion in subsidies to oil companies, at a time when they are reaping record profits?

“He has actually crunched the numbers and laid out long-term budget proposals.”

Except that he hasn’t. This details-oriented, number-crunching fiscal conservative has neither laid out the details nor crunched the numbers… as Saletan himself admits.

“My liberal friends point out that Ryan’s plan leaves many details unclear. That’s true. But show me another Republican who has addressed the nation’s fiscal problems as candidly and precisely as Ryan has. He’s got the least detailed budget proposal out there, except for all the others.”

So, in other words, he deserves credit for laying out a comprehensive budget plan, even though he hasn’t laid out a comprehensive budget plan, because he’s a little more specific than his shiftless, cowardly compatriots. Ah, the soft bigotry of low expectations.

“Eventually, you can’t borrow enough money to make good on your promises, and everyone’s screwed. Ryan understands that the longer we ignore the debt crisis and postpone serious budget cuts—the liberal equivalent of denying global warming—the more painful the reckoning will be.”

See, liberals get all worked up about global warming and climate change denialists, but they are denialists when it comes to the budget. Gee, what does Paul Ryan have to say about climate change and the irrefutable scientific evidence about it? Oh, right. He’s another science-denying lunatic, an extremist of the worst kind when it comes to environmentalism. I really wonder what Saletan thought he was doing here; did he think no one would check Ryan’s record when it came to climate change?

“Ryan refutes the GOP’s bogus arguments, too. He proves that you don’t need private-sector experience to be a good lawmaker.”

In other words, his candidacy is an argument against giving Mitt Romney the presidency. Brilliant!

“He proves that a genuine conservative, as opposed to a Tea-Party ideologue, votes for bailouts when economic sanity requires them.”

When millionaire bankers need bailouts, that’s economic sanity. When we give senior citizens subsidized medicine so that they don’t have to choose between getting medical care and eating, well, that’s liberal treachery.

“Ryan also shows that a real conservative doesn’t worship any part of the budget, including defense. His expenditure caps can’t be squared with Romney’s nutty pledge to keep military spending above four percent of GDP.”

Facts are stubborn things, William. Does Paul Ryan support cutting the defense budget, as fiscal conservatism would require? He does not.  As Politico’s Philip Ewing put it, “For all his reputation as a budget hawk, Ryan has been a dove when it comes to defense spending.” When Saletan suggests that Ryan supports cuts to the defense budget in the name of fiscal conservatism, he’s just lying. Straight up dishonesty, and no other word for it.

“And Ryan destroys Romney’s ability to continue making the dishonest, anti-conservative argument that Obamacare is evil because it cuts Medicare. Now Romney will have to defend the honest conservative argument, which is that Medicare spending should be controlled.”

Another argument against the man at the top of the ticket, and an ugly euphemism on the part of a rich, spoiled neoliberal like Saletan. “Controlling” Medicare spending here means slashing it at an epic level, forcing millions of our seniors to go hungry, lose their homes, or die of preventable disease. But I’m sure all of that seems like small potatoes to a man in love like Saletan, particularly for a wealthy man in love. Romney’s plan on Medicare is the height of extremism, breaking a promise to our elderly and our poor that this country has kept for decades. It’s despicable, and it’s despicable for Saletan to lionize it.

“This morning I heard Ari Fleischer say Ryan is a good pick because Republicans don’t want somebody who thinks and talks like an accountant. That’s exactly wrong. What’s great about Ryan is that he does think like an accountant.”

Except that accountants actually count things, and lay out every detail, and as we’ve already established (as Saletan has already established!), the Ryan-Romney budget does no such thing.

“So what? Screw the polls. Republicans will be on the right side of the spending debate. They’ll be on the right side of the substance debate, too. Instead of bickering about Romney’s tax returns and repeating the obvious but unhelpful observation that the unemployment rate sucks, we’ll actually have to debate serious problems and solutions. That’s great for the country.”

As anyone with the most basic understanding of our political shitshow knows, we’ll mostly have a substance-free political contest about the fact that Obama has a funny name (and he’s blackety-black) and who would you rather have a beer with. Please.

“I’m not saying Ryan is the nation’s savior. He has serious flaws. His discipline on spending isn’t matched by restraint on tax cuts.”

Oh, in other words, ever word you’ve just said is fantasy, and your basic argument is founded on bullshit? Thanks for telling us now!

“And unlike many of his colleagues, Ryan isn’t a wanker or a hater. He’s in it for solutions, not spite.”

Oh really? That’s funny. When the Human Rights Campaign gives a guy a 0%zero— for his treatment of gay rights, I’d call that exactly being a hater. I’d call someone who favors the total criminalization of abortion exactly a wanker and a hater. I know that Saletan wants every woman seeking an abortion to come to his apartment so he can personally reprimand them and talk about what terrible slutty whores they are, but dude. Total opposition to abortion rights is the definition of being a hater.

“He’ll be the best kind of debater, open to criticism and amenable to compromise.”

Do you want to know why Tea Party America loves Paul Ryan, why he is the guy for the Republican base? Precisely because he is not a compromiser, precisely because he is an ugly, grasping extremist. You don’t get to be a bugle boy in the Republican army unless you’re on the lunatic conservative fringe, and this man was just given his stars as a general. Read what the conservative blogs say about him. They love him because he WON’T compromise, because he is thoroughly, enthusiastically ready to destroy this country and imperil its elderly, its children, its disabled, its poor, and its students in the name of his insane ideology. To call this man “open to criticism and amenable to compromise” is a statement of such total bullshit, such jaw-dropping, incomprehensible dishonesty, it makes me blush.

This is, truly, the stupidity that surpasses all understanding. Will Saletan has glanced around the political party and, spying a cute boy in the corner, projected all of his teenaged fantasies onto him, reality be damned. August is not yet two weeks old. Yet I will read no stupider piece, no grander statement of delusion and deceit, in the entirety of the 2012 Presidential election. Congratulations, Saletan; you’ve finally impressed me.

68 replies
  1. 1

    Sorry man but it is NOT the same fvcking thing as putting Bernie Sanders on the ticket. Bernie is an honorable man and NEVER lies. Ryan is a lying scumbag. Please correct this post or explain what you mean.

  2. 2
    Martin says:

    Ryan is precisely their Kucinich. Ideologue with no legislative accomplishment whatsoever.

  3. 3
    SST says:

    Nice piece. One question: are you still planning on not voting in November? Not tryna be an asshole, I’m legitimately curious.

  4. 4
    schrodinger's cat says:

    I guess Ryan gives Saletan star bursts.

  5. 5
    The Other Alex Jones says:

    I’m gonna vote for Romney/Paul for the simple reason is they’ll destroy the US faster than Obama/Biden will. And once its destroyed, maybe something better will come out of it.

  6. 6
    Violet says:

    William Saletan’s Love for Paul Ryan is Based on Fantasy

    I did not need to know about William Saletan’s fantasy life. Ugh.

  7. 7
    MattF says:

    From what I’ve seen, Ryan is a considerably better politician than Romney and a considerably better liar. That about exhausts the “considerably better”s.

  8. 8
    gnomedad says:

    Master, his Meta-Republican count is off the scale!

  9. 9

    @The Other Alex Jones: Your nick is apt.

    DIAF, Traitor

  10. 10
    Zach says:

    I don’t understand why Paul Ryan would say yes to the VP spot when he probably could’ve announced he was running for President the week before the Iowa caucus and won the nomination (you don’t need to qualify for the ballot in Iowa; Ryan would’ve won without even campaigning given the disarray on the (R) side at the time)… Gingrich+Santorum made a pretty good run at it without even really having campaigns or popularity to speak of; Ryan would’ve cleaned up.

  11. 11
    AkaDad says:

    Cut taxes for the rich, raise taxes on the poor and middle class, and privatize Medicare. Obama is doomed. Suck it, Libs!

  12. 12
    AA+ Bonds says:

    Ahahaha now America is fucked no matter who wins because Paul Ryan will run for President as soon as he possibly can

  13. 13
    MattF says:

    @Zach: Ryan’s behavior fits into the classic mold of political thuggery. Thugs don’t want to be out in front, they want to be brought by wealthy cowards to do the dirty work. I’m not 100% persuaded that this is what Ryan’s doing, but it fits the template.

  14. 14
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @The Other Alex Jones:
    Google Skoptsy and get back to us.

  15. 15
    AA+ Bonds says:

    A bunch of Democrats like Paul Ryan because they are all dumbasses together about the budget and we are going to get to read a lot about it

    Everything is fucked

  16. 16
    AA+ Bonds says:

    Probably: Paul Ryan did not run for President because he knew very well he was getting the VP slot from Romney, months ago, and also knew that no one would beat Romney

  17. 17
    gnomedad says:

    I’m transitioning from worrying about whether Obama will win to worrying about what will happen when he does. The wingosphere is full of countdowns to Obama leaving office. Because, you know, people only voted for him because they were afraid of being called racist and are totally bummed because Obama broke all his promises to do things nobody wanted him to do and they totally know better now.

  18. 18
    AA+ Bonds says:

    Also, the media hates Romney, but they love Paul Ryan because the world is shit

  19. 19
    AA+ Bonds says:

    The good news is that vice presidential picks mean pretty much nothing

  20. 20
    Zach says:

    @MattF: Yeah it’s almost like he saw how successful Sarah Palin was hitching onto a loser to boost her own profile and is trying to do the same thing. One can only hope.

  21. 21

    […] Balloon Juice’s Freddie deBoer: In American national politics, it doesn’t get much more extreme than Paul Ryan, or the Ryan-Romney budget. That’s reality. Mitt Romney taking on Ryan as his running mate is like Barack Obama taking on Bernie Sanders or Dennis Kucinich. The Ryan-Romney budget is one of the most extreme policy proposals in the history of our country, as extreme as the PATRIOT act or the Alien and Sedition acts—wartime legislation that drew on national panic. Romney’s purported strength is that he’s a moderate technocrat, a can-do businessman who will use his fiscal prudence and New England moderation to help get our national house in order without, you know, letting New Orleans get swallowed by the sea or accidentally invading Turks and Caicos. This is, of course, bullshit; Romney is neither a moderate nor a technocrat nor a fiscal conservative nor a particularly skillful executive. The Ryan nomination is merely the coup de grace, the last confirmation that Romney is an extremist beholden to a mad, extremist wing of a mad, extremist party. This is not business as usual; this is arch-conservatism by any measure. […]

  22. 22
    Zach says:

    Also, has there been a single Democrat on TV “warning” Republicans that this was a bad idea like Karl Rove was warning Democrats about attacking Romney on Bain, taxes, etc? When the other side gives you tactical advice it’s a good indication that you did the right thing. Today I see Democrats high-fiving rather than tut-tutting Republicans for their poor choice, though.

  23. 23
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @Zach:

    Ryan isn’t as smart as he thinks he is, but he’s a cunning little shit. He knows well enough that Romney is a fuckerfool and election FAIL is bound to happen. At some point after the election, he’ll respond to emessem knob jobs and reluctantly state that Romney failed because he wasn’t sufficiently conservative. He wants to be a shoo-in for the 2016 nomination so selling out Romney (Who will be as thoroughly erased from Republican memories as G.W. Bush) will be seen as heroic.

    It’ll be Ryan and Rand Paul in ’16.

  24. 24
    Zach says:

    @AA+ Bonds: This is pretty much true. The best (Edwards) and worst (Quayle, and yes I’m including Palin) VP picks of my lifetime didn’t change the fundamentals of the race. There is some home-state effect, though… I have no clue why Bob McDonnell hasn’t been in discussion more — squeaky-clean record, rah-rah America background, ran a tough race in a big swing state that Mittens needs to win… there is the transvaginal probe thing, but that ship sailed long ago.

  25. 25
    Geeno says:

    @The Other Alex Jones: And the odds on that are…???
    Seriously – historically, how often has that happened?

  26. 26
    The Other Alex Jones says:

    @Dennis SGMM: Boy, you had to really reach to find that obscure sect. Too bad that diversion won’t help in the instant; rather that paints you as one who deflects when reality hits you square in the face.

  27. 27
    The Other Alex Jones says:

    @Geeno: Patience, padawan. Entropy alone will keep things moving for a while. All one has to do is look at how many changes in various governments in the last 100 years to know that things can change on a dime.

    After all, there is no more Soviet Union.

  28. 28
    Bruce S says:

    Frankly, William Saletan isn’t even worth all of these (free) pixels. His existence as a “journalist” is a function of the internet having too much time and space on it’s hands.

  29. 29
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @The Other Alex Jones:
    I’m a Lit major who worked most of my life as a machinist and I’ve always enjoyed researching the odd little corners of history. I first heard of the Skoptsy when I read Alfred Bester’s The Stars My Destination and I found their craziness so human and affecting.

    I’ve been hit in the face with everything from an Alameda County Sheriff’s truncheon at the Oakland AFFEES demonstrations in the Sixties to fathering an autistic child to gum surgery. You, son, are fucked up.

  30. 30
    forked tongue says:

    Dear MSM: STOP SAYING PAUL RYAN IS GOOD LOOKING.

    The man is a sallow, lemon-sucking face ache.

  31. 31
    forked tongue says:

    Who the fuck is William Saletan? Seriously,does he have a following? Are there people who rub their hands when they sit down to the keyboard and say “Oh Boy, let’s see what William Saletan has to say today”?

    Mitt the Shit suggested a constitutional amendment to prevent anyone from running for Prez without three years in the business sector. Would it be too much to ask the nation’s editors just to take an informal pledge not to employ someone as an opinionator unless they can show ten people who give a flying shit what they have to say???

  32. 32
    Geeno says:

    @Dennis SGMM: One could only wish that were common among republicans.
    Talk about your generational clock ticking!

  33. 33
    Zach says:

    Some enterprising blogger ought to start a “Show us the life certificate!” movement whose adherents demand that Paul Ryan prove he is not a zombie.

  34. 34
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @forked tongue:
    Ten? That’s setting the bar a bit high.

  35. 35
    Bruce S says:

    I don’t want to burst anyone’s bubble, but there is a major downside to the Paul Ryan pick for Dems. After several months of exposing the Ryan Budget plan as a major focus of the campaign, and looking the “fiscal cliff” in the eye the day after the re-election, Simpson Bowles is going to seem like a rational default Democratic position. It’s not. It’s a terrible plan based on some (although not nearly as many) of the same dishonest and “1%er” assumptions as Ryan’s atrocity. In a sane world, Simpson Bowles would be the conservative Republican strategy and Democrats would be rallying around some approximation of Simpson-Bowles Commission Member Jan Shakowsky’s alternative or the Progressive Caucus budget.

    I don’t think liberals are even a little bit prepared to fight Simpson Bowles – with a genuinely liberal – or even responsibly moderate – fiscal strategy. Not even to a compromise. Pelosi, who I admire tremendously, has said she could “live with” Simpson Bowles.

    The country is fucked. The Tea Party and 1%ers like Pete Peterson have successfully framed the discussion and the broad assumptions moving forward, even if the disastrous extremism of Paul Ryan is watered down to the Meet The Press/Morning Joe-friendly “conservatism disguised as centrism” levels sought by Old Scrooge Simpson and investment banker Bowles. And this ball got rolling, if you’ll remember, when Dick Cheney declared that “Reagan taught us deficits don’t matter” and Bush declared war on very concept of the Clinton surplus. They started this mess by scrapping fiscal conservatism and deficit reduction as a legitimate goal, and somehow have managed to turn the tables and use the deficits they largely created and grew to strangle any hope of liberal policy or governance in Grover Norquist’s bathtub.

    Just saying…

  36. 36
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Zach:

    So, Ryan is going for the grift?

    Makes sense. He’s an integrity free sack of shit.

    Just like Palin.

  37. 37
    Patricia Kayden says:

    So those of us who believed Romney would pick Ryan turned out to be correct. This is great.

    For the Democrats. Ryan is as extreme as the Repubs can get. Very easy to attack and tear down. Let the throw-granny-from a cliff ads begin!

  38. 38
    Gus says:

    Jesus Fuck, I was listening to NPR this morning, and you’d think he’d nominated Churchill. The correspondent sounded like he was masturbating while he was describing what his meant to the Romney campaign. Then they interviewed EJ Dionne and Matthew fucking Continetti. Both sounded ecstatic, as Dionne pointed out for different reasons. It’s up to the press, now. Which has me really fucking worried.

  39. 39
    MaxxLange says:

    Ryan is correct that Medicare costs blow up in budget projections. I think this is going to eventually force us into single-payer, but it’s going to take decades. This is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. But that’s the only point of contact with reality that I can see. And notice how eagerly they conflate this with Social Security! “Medicare and Social Security costs are out of control!” This is to justify a destructive and unnecessary attack on Social Security. Of course destroying Medicare is also a primary goal for Ryan.

    The whole plan is more or less held together with supply side duct tape , isn’t it? After we slash SSO benefits, raise the retirement age to 75, AND push elder people into the private insurance market with their coupons and their heart disease and their arthritis, then the individual will stand up by himself. What economy is going to employ these desperate workers, now deprived of either pension or health benefits? The last time a sick, 72 year old guy walked in to your office for a job interview, did you hire him? I think the confidence fairy is supposed to cover this somehow, once the yoke of the moochers is removed from the economy, there will be adequate jobs for all our senior citizens to afford their $1200/month premiums.

  40. 40
    Bruce S says:

    “Ryan is correct that Medicare costs blow up in budget projections. I think this is going to eventually force us into single-payer, but it’s going to take decades. This is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. But that’s the only point of contact with reality that I can see.”

    The problem with this is that it is an entirely dishonest and misdirected frame for discussing Medicare costs. Medicare is the most cost-effective health insurance system we have in this country. The only more cost-effective health care delivery in the US is the fully socialized VA hospital system.

    For anyone to talk about cutting Medicare as a way to confront health care costs is an indication they either are playing an ideological card or they are ignorant of the problem. The CBO has determined that Ryan’s voucher/coupon plan actually increases the costs of health care delivery as % of GDP. Not just out-of-pocket costs to seniors, but actual total health care costs for seniors as % of GDP. This is exactly the wrong direction for “fiscal conservatism.”

    The problem is health care costs, not Medicare costs. Medicare is helping to keep overall costs down, although obviously not enough. Which is why your comment about single payer is fully appropriate. But Paul Ryan isn’t right about anything. He’s an Ayn Rand Objectivist fuck who approaches these questions opportunistically and out of sheer ideological zeal. Government insurance is wrong in his sociopathic worldview – even when it helps to address the health care cost problem, which is as you note the only fiscal problem out there that requires something more than relatively modest tweaks and reforms. Ryan is lying when he says that vouchers will cut or reform our national health care costs. It’s that simple – a lie. His scheme increase health care costs, by driving seniors into the arms of private insurers. Ryan doesn’t give a shit about deficits. He hates government programs, hates taxes on rich people and hates any challenge to “free markets”, even in areas where they clearly aren’t generating efficiencies. If he gave a shit about deficits, he wouldn’t have voted with his party on every crank deficit-increasing scheme that Bush-Cheney promoted. If you’ll recall, the Bush tax cuts were originally sold as a solution to the projected Clinton surplus, which these jackasses perceived as a Problem. Underlying that bullshit is the Grover Norquist “Starve the Beast” strategy – bankrupt government so liberals can’t effectively govern. It’s worked. We’re largely having totally wrong conversations because they’ve dug a hole and are able to sell “deficit hysteria.” And, frankly, too many Democrats have bought into that BS.

  41. 41
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @MaxxLange:

    The problem with our current health care financing system is that it is not sustainable. Too many leeches on it, siphoning off money into their own pockets, driving up costs, care itself declines while the parasites feast on it.

    It’s like cancer. It’s growing, but the growth is malign.

    Like a cancer, you have to cut it out, or lose the patient.

  42. 42
    Bruce S says:

    @MaxxLange:

    My response: “The problem with this is that it is an entirely dishonest and misdirected frame for discussing Medicare costs.”

    Just as clarification, I wasn’t implying that you were dishonest or misdirected, but that Ryan’s strategy and spiel is dishonest and addresses precisely the wrong end of the problem. His attack is on one of the few parts of the system that isn’t a total scam and profit center for private insurers. Which is why Obama’s “cuts” to Medicare – i.e. getting the private companies out of the way – was a step forward and actually improves the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of system, despite the Tea Party hysterics and Romney/Ryan propaganda.

  43. 43
    MaxxLange says:

    You guys are exactly right – I agree. Health care costs are what will be rising, and the private insurance scheme is going to snap at some point as well.

  44. 44
    ShadeTail says:

    @Bruce S:

    Your entire rant is undermined by one tiny point: the Simpson-Bowles proposal has been dead in the water since before it was even proposed. The chance of it ever happening is pretty much zero, regardless of how badly the Ryan plan crashes and burns.

  45. 45
    Smiling Mortician says:

    @Dennis SGMM: Nicely done.

  46. 46
    liberal says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    The problem with our current health care financing system is that it is not sustainable.

    It’s not just the financing (ie, the insurance side). Health care itself is crazy. The medical system, whereby each doctor gets to decide to do whatever she wants despite what science says, is crazy.

    We could have single payer tomorrow, and it would save us lots of money, but unless we get top-down cost/benefit constraints (aka “death panels”), medicine’s going to eat up the rest of the economy.

  47. 47
    TS says:

    @forked tongue:

    Dear MSM: STOP SAYING PAUL RYAN IS GOOD LOOKING.

    They have to say something good about him for a day or two

  48. 48
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Cool, a new troll.

  49. 49
    Citizen_X says:

    @The Other Alex Jones:

    I’m gonna vote for Romney/Paul for the simple reason is they’ll destroy the US faster than Obama/Biden will. And once its destroyed, maybe something better will come out of it.

    I disagree, but at least I would be finally free to pursue my “shoot everyone named Alex Jones” hobby.

  50. 50
    Bruce S says:

    @ShadeTail:

    So fill in the blanks and explain what happens, genius.

  51. 51
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @MaxxLange: You don’t understand conservative thinking; they want to believe getting old and sick is a lifestyle choice.

  52. 52
  53. 53
    Brian R. says:

    I love when pundits applaud Paul Ryan because he “crunched the numbers.”

    Yeah, he crunched them. But the results don’t add up.

    It’s like they’re praising him as some kind of math wizard simply because he completed a pop quiz. Sure, he said that 2 + 2 = 5 and 3 times 6 is “eleventy freedom” but, come on, we have to applaud him for trying.

    Gold star for little Paulie!

  54. 54
    Bruce S says:

    @ShadeTail:

    Incidentally, if you want to take issue with my “rant” that’s fine, but do it on the basis of what I’ve actually said. If you don’t think Simpson Bowles isn’t the “default moderate” position already touted by the idiot mainstream media/punditry, and that Democrats will take at least rhetorical refuge in it – or if you think that Simpson Bowles is an excellent contribution to the deficit discussion and I’m mischaracterizing it as an essentially conservative “1%er” piece of shit, do that. But I didn’t predict that anyting would actually pass through this dysfunctional congress or any specifics of legislative action. I “ranted” against the notion that Simpson Bowles is a decent or “moderate” agenda for Democrats to be touting and my fear that too many – or even most – of them will wrap themselves in Simpson Bowles rather than an authentically Democratic alternative. It’s a question of whether you want to accept very bad “conventional wisdom” hatched and touted by crazy old coots, investment bankers and useless self-anointed pundits who are almost always wrong or try to forge a more honest and constructive political agenda that is not rooted in phony fear-mongering, “soft” class warfare and hype.

  55. 55
    Gretchen says:

    ryan is the guy you have a $700 bottle of wine with.

  56. 56
    Fred Fnord says:

    Just like to say that it’s nice to see Democrats equating Ryan with Kucinich and Sanders. As if Kucinich and Sanders were just as far away from ‘real Democrats’ as Ryan is.

    I swear, a very large segment of Democrats would prefer twenty years of President Ryan to six months of President Kucinich.

  57. 57
    The Sheriff's A Ni- says:

    @The Other Alex Jones: Ernst Thalman says hello and not to think twice about the Stasi agents knocking at your door.

  58. 58
    Yutsano says:

    @Fred Fnord: The point, she has been missed. And Kucinich will be a private citizen in January. Please feel free to fellate him at your convenience.

  59. 59
    Sophia says:

    About two-thirds of the way through this piece I began to seriously wonder if the Saletan quotes were “shorter” versions. Holy fuck. They are not. He actually wrote that.

  60. 60
    The Other Alex Jones says:

    @Bruce S: +1.

    Unfortunately, many here are willingly whistling past the graveyard.

  61. 61

    So Medicare for all is as extreme as abolishing Medicare?

    Are you nuts?

  62. 62
  63. 63
    Jay in Oregon says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques:
    John Scalzi wrote an essay called Being Poor where he tried to convey an idea some of what it’s like. He’s honest about how he came from a poor household so I presume that a lot of that comes from personal experience, or the experience of those close to him.

    The whole piece is very good, but the sentence that sticks with me was “Being poor is having to live with choices you didn’t know you made when you were 14 years old.”

    That’s what conservatives, with their prosperity gospels and dewy-eyed worship of the rich and powerful, want to punish.

  64. 64
    taylormattd says:

    So are you still declining to vote for Obama?

  65. 65
    taylormattd says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: The amusing this is that the new Alex Jones troll is saying almost the same thing Freddie wrote.

  66. 66
    JackHughes says:

    @Brian R.:

    Apparently, what makes one a Republican “intellectual” is the realization that eliminating one of the largest government expenditures, i.e., Medicare, would really save a lot of money.

    Genius!

  67. 67
    moops says:

    The plan is probably something along the lines of: Put Ryan on the ticket, then at the convention announce they are “flipping the ticket”. Ryan as President, Romney as VP. Just enough cover to say you haven’t lied to everyone, and it would be a way to swap in a candidate that actually can have his background written about and answer interview questions.

  68. 68
    Jeff Stone says:

    @AA+ Bonds: Absolutely agree. Ryan is now the candidate for ’16 and ’20.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Balloon Juice’s Freddie deBoer: In American national politics, it doesn’t get much more extreme than Paul Ryan, or the Ryan-Romney budget. That’s reality. Mitt Romney taking on Ryan as his running mate is like Barack Obama taking on Bernie Sanders or Dennis Kucinich. The Ryan-Romney budget is one of the most extreme policy proposals in the history of our country, as extreme as the PATRIOT act or the Alien and Sedition acts—wartime legislation that drew on national panic. Romney’s purported strength is that he’s a moderate technocrat, a can-do businessman who will use his fiscal prudence and New England moderation to help get our national house in order without, you know, letting New Orleans get swallowed by the sea or accidentally invading Turks and Caicos. This is, of course, bullshit; Romney is neither a moderate nor a technocrat nor a fiscal conservative nor a particularly skillful executive. The Ryan nomination is merely the coup de grace, the last confirmation that Romney is an extremist beholden to a mad, extremist wing of a mad, extremist party. This is not business as usual; this is arch-conservatism by any measure. […]

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