Paul Ryan is trying out for the job of being Mitt Romney's running mate by completely rewriting his own history. Which would make him a nice match with Romney. Guess he's trying to prove that he can keep up with the boss's Etch-a-Sketch approach to history.
We saw last week that Ryan now wants to pretend that he never really was a big Ayn Rand fanboy, since he figured out that Rand doesn't go down very well with the Bible thumpers who comprise the GOP's most reliable base. But even after he was called out as a liar, he's still trying to run away from his Randbot past -- most recently in Jonathan Weisman's profile of Ryan for the New York Times:
Ryan likes to dispel two "urban legends" around him. First, he said, he is not a disciple of Rand, the strident libertarian. Second, he never drove the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile.
In fact, there is some truth to both. In a 2009 Facebook video, Ryan said the "kind of thinking" in the Rand epics "The Fountainhead" and "Atlas Shrugged" was "sorely needed right now."
As for the Wienermobile, one summer as he was pressing Oscar Mayer Lunchables and turkey bacon on meat buyers in rural Minnesota, two "very nice young ladies" who were driving the hot-dog-shaped vehicle did let him "take it for a spin," he confessed.
This is classic NYT Beltway-style soft-pedaling: Ryan didn't merely say a few nice things about Rand in that 2009 video, which you can watch above. Here's the whole transcript:
RYAN: You know, it doesn't surprise me that sales of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged have surged lately with the Obama administration coming in, because it's that kind of thinking, that kind of writing, that is sorely needed right now. And I think a lot of people would observe that we are living right in an Ayn Rand novel, metaphorically speaking.
But more to the point is this: The issue that is under assault, the attack on democratic capitalism, on individualism and freedom in America, is an attack on the moral foundation of America. And Ayn Rand, more than anyone else, did a fantastic job of explaining the morality of capitalism, the morality of individualism, and this to me is what matters most. It is not enough to say that President Obama's taxes are too big, the health-care plan doesn't work for this or that policy reason, it is the morality of what is occurring right now and how it offends the morality of individuals working toward their own free will, to produce, to achieve, to succeed, that is under attack. And it is that what I think Ayn Rand would be commenting on, and we need that kind of comment more and more than ever.
Contrast that with what he tried to claim last week:
“I reject her philosophy,” Ryan says firmly. “It’s an atheist philosophy. It reduces human interactions down to mere contracts and it is antithetical to my worldview. If somebody is going to try to paste a person’s view on epistemology to me, then give me Thomas Aquinas,” who believed that man needs divine help in the pursuit of knowledge. “Don’t give me Ayn Rand,” he says.
As Blue Texan noted, Ryan spoke at a big event honoring Rand back in 2008:
"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."
“I give out ‘Atlas Shrugged’ as Christmas presents, and I make all my interns read it. Well… I try to make my interns read it.”
Of course, as Scott Keyes at ThinkProgress observes, there are plenty of reasons why someone with Republican presidential aspirations might want to rethink their love of Ayn Rand, considering that she was a flaming atheist who despised Christians.