Mitt’s Pick: The Radical Mr. Ryan

“Paul Ryan? So not impressed, Mitt.”

Mitt Romney sure must be sick of talking about his tax returns.  Why else would you pick the Saturday morning  of the last full day of the Olympics you were picking Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, a conservative wonder boy and a Tea Party pin-up as your running mate?

This sure makes it clear Romney is now endorsing Ryan’s meat cleaver approach to the budget. That’s going to be a tough sell to seniors and independents, two blocs the Republicans must have to win in November.

Romney has tried to walk the walk as a mushy moderate who will say anything to placate the right-wing of his party. Tying himself to Paul Ryan and his Draconian budget plans means he’s “all in” for placating the Right even if he drives seniors and Independents right into Obama’s open arms.

Within minutes–not hours–of  the announcement Ryan would be Mitt’s attack dog,  my e-mail Inbox was flooded with messages (and requests for money,  naturally) from the Obama campaign,  Act Blue, Emily’s List, Bold Progressives, and Rob Zerban.   Who the hell is Rob Zerban?   He’s Ryan Democratic challenger in Wisconsin and he’s got his hand out too though he will never spend a single minute boning up to debate Ryan.

Emily’s List: A President Romney would be devastating for women and families, so it’s no surprise he’d pick Paul Ryan. Ryan rammed his radical budget plan to decimate vital programs for seniors through Congress — and did it on the backs of the women and families, like our grandmothers, who need these programs the most. And that’s just the beginning.

Ohio Democratic Party:one story you likely won’t hear is about Ryan’s start in politics, as a young staffer just out of college, working for then-Congressman John Kasich’s Budget Committee. Ryan cut his teeth working long, tireless hours for Kasich, helping him slash programs for working families, grinding progress to a halt, and laying the groundwork to shut down the federal government.   Kasich made a big mark on Ryan, which became entirely clear last year when Congressman Paul Ryan followed in the footsteps of his mentor, proposing a radical, ideological budget that would end Medicare as we know it. These men are truly cut from the same cloth.

No more cheese? Me am unhappy.

Obama for America: 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.

Act Blue: By choosing Paul Ryan as his running mate, Mitt just made the most radical choice possible.   Paul Ryan is the Tea Party’s darling and architect of the GOP’s plan to destroy Medicare. And while dismantling the nation’s social safety net, he will give even more tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires like Mitt Romney.

Okay, okay.  I get the message.  Paul Ryan is a wrong number if you’re a Democrat.   Message received.  I whipped out my Master Card and  made two campaign contributions.  Happy now?

What I find most interesting about Romney’s pick of Ryan is this might be the first time a vice-presidential choice supplied the vision that will guide the nominee and not the other way around.

Naturally most Americans have never heard of Ryan.   That’s about to change.  My junk mail folder filled up this afternoon with the opening salvo of  Democratic opposition research on the Ayn Rand acolyte.

When will the press get over their swooning over Mitt’s dreamy new policy wonk?      Patience, please. First comes the inevitable servile fawning of the lap dog Washington insiders laughingly portrayed as “the liberal media” as they crush on Ryan as a brilliant leading light of fiscal responsibility who is willing to make the tough calls and difficult decisions.

Awww…they’re so cute at that age.

Later comes the vivisection. That is when in a sudden burst of journalistic principles, the lap-dogs of the press do the heavy lifting of actually looking into the details of how Beady-Eyes Ryan plans to euthanize granny so she won’t be such a bother in her sunset years.

If you don’t want to wait for the flaying of Paul Ryan, I suggest you read some Charles F. Pierce of Esquire who has already begun to carve Beady-Eyes from his ass to his appetite.

One day, some years from now, I’m going to figure out how Paul Ryan, the zombie-eyed granny-starver from Wisconsin, managed to fool so many people for so long. He’s a garden-variety supply-side faker. His alleged economic “wonkery” consists of a B.A. in economics from Miami of Ohio — which he would not have been able to achieve without my generosity in helping him out with the Social Security survivor’s benefits that got him through high school after his father kicked. (You’re welcome, zombie-eyed granny-starver. Think nothing of it. Really.)

Whereupon he went to work in Washington for a variety of conservative congresscritters and think-tanks, thinking unremarkable thoughts for fairly unremarkable people. Once in Congress, however, he has been transformed into an intellectual giant despite the fact that, every time he comes up with another “budget,” actual economists get a look at it and determine, yet again, that between “What We Should Do” and “Great Things That Will Happen When We Do” is a wilderness of dreamy nonsense, wishful thinking, and an asterisk the size of Lake Huron. At which point, Republicans who’d like to have careers in five years take to hiding behind the drapes when he comes down the hall. Then, a few months later, he’s at it again. And even some putatively liberal commentators shrug and tell themselves that, at least, Paul Ryan is a Serious Person.

He gets credit for sincerely wanting to “reform” entitlements, when his entire career makes it quite plain that he doesn’t believe in the concept of entitlements, let alone the ones we actually have. He gets a pass on obvious mendacity that none of us would buy from, say, Herman Cain. (In a way, it’s not dissimilar to all those valentines to the mighty intellect of Newt Gingrich that we read back in the early 1990’s, until everybody figured out that Newt’s default position on almost everything was being a thoroughgoing creep.) Outside of the very real possibility that it’s all being done to give Paul Krugman a stroke, I don’t get it.

Ryan is no Palin. He’s way smarter and far savvier. He won’t make dumb gaffes (study up, Joe!).   He’s a Maverick, but a disciplined one. But selecting him makes it clear his radical vision is the one Republicans will begin trying to sell America at their convention and Ryan will either be Romney’s life preserver or anchor.     Mitt picked a radical like Palin, but this one’s got a brain.