“What kind of country do we want to have?” That was the question asked by Mitt Romney's new running mate Paul Ryan during his speech this Saturday morning aboard the USS Wisconsin. It was also the question asked by Chris Matthews when he played the clip of Ryan on Hardball this Saturday. And it was a question met with some terrible answers from one of Matthews' guests, FreedomWorks CEO Matt Kibbe.
Eugene Robinson pointed out that Ryan's budget doesn't balance anything and has draconian cuts to the poor while asking the rich to do nothing. After he stated that he didn't understand how Republicans were going to win based on a slogan of 'I've got mine, you get yours' approach, Matthews brought up Ayn Rand and the GOP mimicking her philosophy.
Kibbe responded by saying Matthews needs to spend some more time reading Ayn Rand, even though Matthews already professed to having read her books and having long outgrown them, a common trait among people who employ critical thinking skills and age-appropriate maturity levels. I guess Kibbe wants Matthews to get back in touch with his inner fifteen-year-old if he seriously thinks he should be picking Rand's novels up again for a refresher now.
If this is the right's response to just how radical Paul Ryan and his proposals have been, I'm flabbergasted. Read more Ayn Rand. Really? Karoli already posted Kibbe and his organization going nuts over the pick of Ryan just after it was announced.
The Plum Line's Greg Sargent posted on just how radical the pick of Ryan is and his post got a mention during this segment, which I was happy to see. Letting Kibbe spew his Libertarian nonsense, not so much.
In picking Ryan, Romney is confirming his commitment to full-flown economic radicalism — something that he had kept well disguised until the Tax Policy Center study unmasked it. The central idea driving the GOP ticket is not just that tax hikes on the rich must be avoided at all costs. It’s that dramatically reducing the tax burden on the wealthy — coupled with deep cuts to social programs and a quasi-voucherizing of Medicare — is the route back to prosperity.
Call it the “Ryan/Romney vision.” Not the “Romney/Ryan vision.” The “Ryan/Romney vision.” The Ryan pick was urged upon Romney by conservatives who wanted him to “go bold,” i.e., to confirm beyond doubt that he will govern from the Ryan blueprint. “We want the Ryan budget,” Grover Norquist said recently, adding that the paramount requirement in the next president is that he have “enough working digits to handle a pen” to sign it. The Ryan pick is a triumph for this wing of the party.
After all, we already know Romney has the skills to handle a pen. He is now confirming what he intends to sign with it.
The Ryan pick is also a break with Romney’s previous theory of the race. He had previously intended to make the campaign about nothing more than a referendum on the economy and Obama’s stewardship of it. Now it will be a choice between two starkly different ideological visions, one that drags the race onto the turf of tax fairness and entitlements — which is much more in line with the debate Dems wanted.
Go read the entire post, but here's a bit more on how the media is going to play into this election and how this debate is framed:
Which raises a question: How aggressively will the news media scrutinize the true substantive nature of his vision? The press has done a great job pinning Romney down on the real implications of his tax plan, largely thanks to that unsparing Tax Policy Center study. Ryan, by contrast, has been widely accorded the presumption of fiscal “seriousness," mainly because he looks so earnest and genuinely despairing in those videos that show him stalking the halls of Congress in the grip of existential deficit angst.
But now that he is the vice presidential pick — confirming that his worldview will be the one that animates the approach to governing the GOP presidential ticket would adopt — here’s hoping the press gets equally serious about pinning down the true implications of his vision, too.
After all, the entire premise of the Ryan pick is that it is supposed to show how deadly serious the Republican ticket is about getting our fiscal problems under control. Indeed, in his announcement speech, Ryan is supposed to say this: “We won’t duck the tough issues…we will lead!” It’s time to pin Ryan down on what he means by “lead,” and to explain it as clearly as possible to the American people. And if Ryan won’t meaningfullly tell us what he means by it, we need to say so.
Exactly. And anyone on the right telling anyone in the media to read more Ayn Rand isn't going to cut it. Kibbe's extremism might go over well with the wingnut base of the Republican Party, but it's not going to necessarily sell so well for the general election. I don't think insisting news anchors read books that anyone with an ounce of sense should have outgrown when they were in their teens is a great start for any policy debate, but that's what Kibbe resorted to over the weekend to defend the pick of Ryan.