Mitt Romney’s choice for his VP running mate really tells you all you need to know about the choice this year for the Presidency. Paul Ryan is about as far right as you can possibly get on the economic spectrum – a hardcore Ayn Rand ideologue who’s policy proposals consist of stripping away what is left of government and leaving the country to the ravages of the free market.The ‘Ryan Plan’ was touted as the boldest conservative economic proposal in the history of the Republican Party, meaning it was in reality, completely insane.
But not only is Ryan a militant libertarian, he’s also a lazy one who doesn’t actually bother to check whether his sums add up. Writes Paul Krugman of Ryan’s lauded economic proposal:
Ryan hasn’t “crunched the numbers”; he has just scribbled some stuff down, without checking at all to see if it makes sense. He asserts that he can cut taxes without net loss of revenue by closing unspecified loopholes; he asserts that he can cut discretionary spending to levels not seen since Calvin Coolidge, without saying how; he asserts that he can convert Medicare to a voucher system, with much lower spending than now projected, without even a hint of how this is supposed to work. This is just a fantasy, not a serious policy proposal.
Vice Presidents don’t have much say over actual policy when in office, but Romney’s pick was designed to be symbolic. He’s reaching out to the hard right this election and clearly aims to draw a stark contrast between himself and Obama in economic terms. Given Obama is pretty centrist when it comes to policy (at least in international terms), this is actually pretty scary.
George Bush’s Presidency was extremely militant from a foreign policy perspective, and a Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan Presidential ticket would equal that from an economic point of view. They would make Bush look like a socialist if they enacted even a fraction of the proposals in Ryan’s plan for the country. As Nate Silver writes:
Various statistical measures of Mr. Ryan peg him as being quite conservative. Based on his Congressional voting record, for instance, the statistical system DW-Nominate evaluates him as being roughly as conservative as Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota.
By this measure, in fact, which rates members of the House and Senate throughout different time periods on a common ideology scale, Mr. Ryan is the most conservative Republican member of Congress to be picked for the vice-presidential slot since at least 1900. He is also more conservative than any Democratic nominee was liberal, meaning that he is the furthest from the center.
If you needed another reason to get out and vote for Obama this November, this is a pretty damn big one.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.