Yer Paul Ryan Reading List

by evanmcmurry

I’ll throw out a couple of quick reactions to this morning’s news:

1) This flies in the face of all the anti-Washington rhetoric the right has been flinging around the past few years like potato salad in a food fight; the only place outside of his home district where Paul Ryan has ever been heard of is taken seriously is Washington, DC. Somebody (Sarah Palin?) is going to have to explain to voters how every Democrat who legislated in complete sentences since 2006 is a Beltway insider elitist, but this guy’s “Trust me, I’m a wonk” schtick is the recipe for responsibility.

2) Speaking of Sarah Palin, Ryan’s number one cheerleader is Weekly Standard‘s Bill Kristol. Kristol is, more than anybody save John McCain and Steve Schmidt, responsible for Sarah Palin’s selection in 2008. So, great track record there.

3) Back in March, I did a hit-and-run study of poll numbers from the tea party resurgence and until after the debt ceiling debacle, and charted the vicissitudes of Obama’s and the GOP’s approval rating. Needless to say, at the start of 2011, the GOP was on the rise, and Obama’s numbers were the lowest they’d ever be (41%ish); he was floundering. By September 2011, the GOP’s numbers had peaked and reversed; they were plunging to pre-tea party levels, while Obama was creeping back up toward the 48-50% at which he now polls, and from which Romney can’t seem to dislodge him.

Care to name the event that statistically correlated with that switch? If you picked “Paul Ryan releases budget proposal slashing Medicare,” you win. No, correlation does not equal causation; but, as I’ll never tire of pointing out, Americans only like budget cuts in the abstract; once you start naming specific programs that affect voters, you get real unpopular, real quick. If there’s one take away from Ryan’s selection, it’s that Mitt Romney just chose as his running mate the guy who put the brakes on the GOP’s comeback.


  • Pierce, as usual, cuts right to the chase: “This is a guy in love with his own concocted genius.”

The Tax Policy Center finds that the Ryan plan would cut taxes on the richest 1 percent of the population in half, giving them 117 percent of the plan’s total tax cuts. That’s not a misprint. Even as it slashed taxes at the top, the plan would raise taxes for 95 percent of the population.

Finally, let’s talk about those spending cuts. In its first decade, most of the alleged savings in the Ryan plan come from assuming zero dollar growth in domestic discretionary spending, which includes everything from energy policy to education to the court system. This would amount to a 25 percent cut once you adjust for inflation and population growth. How would such a severe cut be achieved? What specific programs would be slashed? Mr. Ryan doesn’t say.

That was in 2011, by the way; that 25% bumped up to anywhere from 40 to 90% in Ryan’s 2012 proposal.

  • Me, on Ryan and Catholics. Somebody (not my Jewish ass) should write an article on whether Romney might have just jeopardized some of the Catholic vote. (It’s possible!)
  • On Paul Ryan’s, er, evolution from Ayn Rand’s waterboy to ditching Objectivism as an “atheist philosophy” when in shouting distance of Catholics.
  • Paul Ryan has his own “Hey, Girl” meme.
  • All of the above, with some good ol’ “bless his heart” sarcasm.