The Infantile Randroid on deck
Judging from the emails flooding my inbox from big Democrats and Obama campaign officials, Romney picking Ryan may end up very good news for the country. This is not because Ryan is going to help Romney win, needless to say. It's because of this, from Jim Messina of the Obama campaign:
Congressman Paul Ryan is best known as the author of a budget so radical The New York Times called it "the most extreme budget plan passed by a House of Congress in modern times." With Mitt Romney's support, Ryan would end Medicare as we know it and slash the investments we need to keep our economy growing -- all while cutting taxes for those at the very top.
And this from Senator Patty Murray:
Ryan is best known for the extreme budget that bears his name -- one that would end Medicare as we know it while giving huge tax breaks to billionaires and corporations. A Romney-Ryan ticket is a frightening prospect for the middle class and anyone who might one day need Medicare or Social Security.
As anyone who reads this blog knows, for the past couple of months there has been an aggressive effort to create this "fiscal cliff" hysteria and push through large cuts to the safety net and other important programs in exchange for some millionaire tip money and a small reduction reduction in defense in the lame duck session. I've been sick watching what seemed to be a runaway train.
But this could change the dynamic. Up until now all this talk has been largely under the radar and away from the campaign trail as everyone tries to talk about jobs and the current economic woes. After all, that's what the people of the country actually care about. But that's over. With Ryan on the ticket his dystopian Randroid budget will be on the ballot. If we're very lucky the Democrats will say things on the campaign trail that will make it much harder for them to agree to a Grand Bargain in the lame duck.
It's possible that they will try to thread this needle and say they are the grown-ups etc, etc. The President has certainly been trying up until now, in discrete ways. This is from a major NY Times story just this week:
As president ... he has come to believe the news media have had a role in frustrating his ambitions to change the terms of the country’s political discussion. He particularly believes that Democrats do not receive enough credit for their willingness to accept cuts in Medicare and Social Security, while Republicans oppose almost any tax increase to reduce the deficit.
I'm guessing that they're all going to have to stop thinking like this with Ryan on the ticket. Changing the terms of the political discussion in this particular way is not a way for Democrats to win elections and the Obama campaign clearly knows this since they haven't been talking about their desire to cut Medicare and Social Security on the trail. Running against the Ryan vision demands that they give up on any public support for Grand Bargains and giving a full-throated defense of the safety net that he wants to destroy.
It doesn't mean the Lame Duck monster has been put down. They can always go back on their word. But this makes it a little bit harder.
By the way, I've been writing about Ryan for a very long time and not because he's so good-lookin'. He's not a normal politician, he's a dangerous Ayn Rand acolyte who should never be allowed to get near to real power.