Wednesday night, to my dismay, I heard a Republican speak on national television at a national convention about how America must "keep Medicare ... for our children" and then get applauded by the national GOP delegates. It was none other than Paul Ryan, the Vice Presidential candidate who we are told is a Tea Party favorite.
Paul Ryan proved in his RNC speech exactly why he is the wrong man for the job — he elicits cheers while undermining the intellectual basis of smaller government ideas.
The concept of a government health care system should not be cheered by anyone carrying the title conservative. To add to the shallowness of it all, the GOP is set on attacking Obamacare. This illustrates that government health care is not the problem for the Republicans, who came out in large support for and passed Medicare part D under George W. Bush. Instead, the problem that they see is government health care passed by the wrong kind of person. Maybe the problem is Obama's party, maybe it's his skin color, his international feel and perspective, or his attitude that the Republicans don't like. I don't really know.
What I do know is that Barack Obama proposed and passed a national health care plan. Bush 43 and the Republicans extended a national health care plan through Medicare Part D, and Paul Ryan stood and praised continuation of a national health care plan "for our children." All those people are pretty much on the same page.
It matters not to me whether Ryan was using some Orwellian command of the English language in which "keep" perhaps doesn't actually mean "keep." It's still evident the GOP has lost its footing when they cheer on a sentence about saving Medicare for our children.
Paul Ryan is openly despised by Democrats and openly praised by Republicans, which might make you think he's effectively spreading GOP ideals and attacking Democratic ideals. You see, Paul Ryan is a façade – while he undermines the ideological base of the Republican Party, he gives opponents a straw man to rally against. Instead of having serious discussions as Americans, we are left having discussions about things like “Should the budget be balanced in decades (a la the "ultra-radical" Paul Ryan tax plan)?” or “Should it be balanced never (a la the Bush-Obama style of governance)?”
This discussion is so sickening that it leaves one longing for the Bill Clinton theory on governance (balance the budget while I'm still president), which resembles the Ron Paul theory on governance (balance the budget in my first term). What a strange shift in politics when Clinton 1996 is a mainstream fiscal conservative in his time and Ron Paul 2012 is a radical fiscal conservative in his time, even though both operate according to the same principal – a checkbook should be balanced. Though this author disagrees with this usage, Clinton's name has become synonymous with a style of responsible fiscal conservatism that Paul Ryan will not match by following his proposed budget plan.
To say Paul Ryan is weak soup is not purely the good being the enemy of the perfect. Paul Ryan is a watered down version of sensible fiscal policy being praised and attacked as something radical. It isn’t. It's not okay to pass decades of balanced budgets and to pretend that you are a fiscal conservative. I know that is just supposed to be spin and something okay to do in politics. However, in all honesty, that's just simply what most people call a lie.
Both parties are the problem with our budget. And this week Republicans are choosing Romney-Ryan and demonstrating that they too, as a party, will seek to be part of that problem for at least four more years. After the 2010 Tea Party takeover, some may have imagined we were past this point of Republicans being as bad fiscally if not worse than the Democrats.
In the end, Paul Ryan is an ally of Barack Obama – the president we are told by so many Republicans is the most evil president ever. Paul Ryan portrays himself as conservative, thereby denying the GOP a serious intellectual discussion. Paul Ryan works up Obama's base with his tough and inaccurate rhetoric about balancing budgets and slashing government. He ultimately denies America that same serious intellectual discussion which politics could technically foster, and in the end he helps pave the way for four more years of Barack Obama.
There's little about that scenario that makes me like Paul Ryan at all. This year started out with such promise for the Republicans: On January 3, Ron Paul, a person worthy of the title fiscal conservative dominated the delegate counts in the Iowa caucus and put into motion the plan that his supporters used to dominate the Iowa Republican Party this year and for decades ahead. This week, at the end of that 2012 primary process, we are left with nothing more than the Republicans proposing their own versions of big government programs funded through unbalanced budgets and irresponsible borrowing.
Take your pick: Would you like the Democratic version – showing full support for unbalanced budgets and big government health care and being proud of it? Or the Republican version – showing full support for unbalanced budgets and big government health care and talking dubiously about it?