Sunday, August 12, 2012

Something I didn't expect

I admit it: I hadn't seriously considered the idea that Mitt Romney would choose Paul Ryan as his running mate.  A number of economic commentators have already delved into the Paul Ryan choice.  Paul Krugman said briefly that we have a Republican Team of Gordon Gekko (Romney) and John Galt (Ryan).  I think the most light-hearted (if pinot noir can be light anything) is Brad Delong's reposting from Talking Point Memo article on Mr. Ryan's run-in with an economist who thought others ordering two $350 bottles of pinot noir was insensitive for a man who proposes to cut programs for low income and elderly persons severely.

Robert Reich wishes to remind us that the House Budgets which have been proposed by Paul Ryan have been thinly-veiled social darwinism (let old and poor people fend for themselves).  Mark Thoma quotes a few older posts by Paul Krugman about the "mystery meat", bunk, whatever you'd call it, in Paul Ryan's budgets.

Ezra Klein suggests that Romney's choice of Paul Ryan is an attempt to change the national dynamic of the Romney campaign (which isn't getting enough traction to actually win, according to some).  I heard the woman who led the Veep search committee on CNN (from prior broadcast) say that they approached the process very analytically and presented Romney with "the facts".

One hypothesis I have is that Romney was thinking like a finance guy, wanting to balance out his "portfolio".  Some have criticized Romney for not having sufficient "substance" in his run for president.  Paul Ryan is perceived by many to be "all substance".  In fact, the National Review seems to think that he is the man with "the plan" to solve all of the nations problems.  Those problems are having an advanced, reasonably functional welfare state (with notable gaps).  Paul Ryan is concerned with "retirement security", so he wants to undermine Social Security from within by privatizing it.  Paul Ryan is concerned with saving Medicare so he wants to get rid of it.  Additionally, Paul Ryan supported the budget-busting Medicare part D expansion (with no revenue or cuts to offset), but he's a "fiscal conservative" and a "deficit hawk".

I'm beginning to think that the Democrats have just discovered political phlogiston.  The media will find it very easy to attack him, because his public fumbles are well-documented.  Let's just hope they don't give him a pass because their old narrative is that he is a "Very Serious Person" (to use Krugman's phrase).

1 comment:

  1. Hey Julian! Yes I was suprised about Ryan as well-very pleasantly.

    I was hoping for two weeks that all the smoke about Ryan would be true but held out little hope.

    You are right that Ryan is "all substance"-added to Romney's ticket who by himself has none.

    I don't think we've ever had a campagin like this before where the canddiate for Vice President's ideas and thoughts are more important that the Presidential candidate but there's a first time for everything.

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