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Friday, July 30, 2010

Galtian Nincompoop

by digby

I wish I could figure out why everyone in DC thinks Paul Ryan is so smart, but apparently it's just an article of faith that this guy is some sort of intellectual powerhouse. I guess it's because he isn't completely illiterate and can speak in words with more than one syllable. I guess I just have a slightly more holistic definition of intelligence than the ability to speak wonk.

For me, it doesn't take anything other than this, to tell me everything I need to know about the breadth of Ryan's intellectual capacities:

"The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand," Ryan said at a D.C. gathering four years ago honoring the author of "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead."


"Almost every fight we are involved in here on Capitol Hill  . . .  is a fight that usually comes down to one conflict - individualism versus collectivism. If we actually accomplish this goal of personalizing Social Security, think of what we will accomplish. Every worker, every laborer in America will not only be a laborer but a capitalist. They will be an owner of society.  . . .  That's that many more people in America who are not going to listen to the likes of Dick Gephardt and Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy, the collectivist, class-warfare-breathing demagogues," said Ryan

That sounds pretty damned dumb to me.

But some people think he's brilliant, no doubt about it:

GLENN BECK: Nice to meet you, sir. Tell me, tell me your thoughts on progressivism.

PAUL RYAN: Right. What I have been trying to do, and if you read the entire Oklahoma speech or read my speech to Hillsdale College that they put in there on Primus Magazine, you can get them on my Facebook page, what I've been trying to do is indict the entire vision of progressivism because I see progressivism as the source, the intellectual source for the big government problems that are plaguing us today and so to me it's really important to flush progressives out into the field of open debate.

GLENN: I love you.

PAUL RYAN: So people can actually see what this ideology means and where it's going to lead us and how it attacks the American idea.

GLENN: Okay. Hang on just a second. I ‑‑ did you see my speech at CPAC?

PAUL RYAN: I've read it. I didn't see it. I've read it, a transcript of it.

GLENN: And I think we're saying the same thing. I call it ‑‑

PAUL RYAN: We are saying the same thing.

GLENN: It's a cancer.

PAUL RYAN: Exactly. Look, I come from ‑‑ I'm calling you from Janesville, Wisconsin where I'm born and raised.

GLENN: Holy cow.

PAUL RYAN: Where we raise our family, 35 miles from Madison. I grew up hearing about this stuff. This stuff came from these German intellectuals to Madison‑University of Wisconsin and sort of out there from the beginning of the last century. So this is something we are familiar with where I come from. It never sat right with me. And as I grew up, I learned more about the founders and reading the Austrians and others that this is really a cancer because it basically takes the notion that our rights come from God and nature and turns it on its head and says, no, no, no, no, no, they come from government, and we here in government are here to give you your rights and therefore ration, redistribute and regulate your rights. It's a complete affront of the whole idea of this country and that is to me what we as conservatives, or classical liberals if you want to get technical.

GLENN: Thank you.

If infantile Randism is smart, then Paul Ryan is a genius. Strangely, a lot of people, even the president, seem to think so. He named this very smart fellow to the deficit commission.

Krugman takes on the latest Ryan ramblings about interest rates:

I’m sure someone will try to come up with a reason why Ryan is being smart here, but the truth is that he’s stone-cold ignorant.

Now, he wouldn’t be the only ignorant member of Congress. But wait — my colleague David Brooks tells me, this very morning, that

Paul Ryan, the most intellectually ambitious Republican in Congress, lavishly cites Brooks’s book. Over the past few years, Ryan has been promoting a roadmap to comprehensively reform the nation’s tax and welfare system.

So this is the smartest Republican Congress has to offer?

Of course, Ryan’s idea of fiscal reform is to run huge deficits for decades, but claim that it’s all OK because we’ll cut spending 40 years from now; and he throws a hissy fit when people challenge his numbers, or call privatization by its real name.

But hey, he’s intellectually ambitious

So's his BFF, Glenn Beck.