A Real American Horror Story

is this the face of a criminal? Or a victim?

A woman should not leave two children in a truck in the sun with the window partly open and the keys left in the ignition. Not even if she’s homeless, has no one to watch her kids and chooses to take an awful risk so that she can make the job interview that just might be her path out of poverty and desperate decisions.

When you’re faced with nothing but bad or terrible choices who wouldn’t try to choose the least awful option? Shanesha Taylor shouldn’t have done it, but she did it and all it got her was a week behind bars, her children taken from her and the scorn of every morally superior idiot who never committed a sin and is armed and ready with a pocketful of rocks.

So much cynicism. So little heavy lifting to prove this story isn’t every bit as tragic a damning indictment of both bad personal decisions and an American society that doesn’t give two slimy shits about poor people as long as they stay out of sight and die quietly in their hovels.

Is anyone really giving Shanesha Taylor a pass for the bad decision to leave two infants in a locked car? No, but nobody has nominated Taylor as Mother of the Year material either.   There are plenty of creepy politicians like Paul Ryan happy to exploit the most helpless while accepting back-slapping praise for guns, not butter budgets.

Contemporary conservatives like Ryan  backhand away any concern for someone like Taylor. His ilk are determined to punish people like Taylor for her sins. The sin of being a poor Black woman with children who probably doesn’t vote the right way.

Shanesha Taylor without tears.

I understand Ryan’s lack of compassion for and inability to identify with Taylor’s plight. They have never been an impoverished, homeless and desperate Black woman with two kids facing a bad choice and a worse choice.    Any indignation I feel for Taylor’s irresponsible decision is tempered by sympathy for the dilemma that drove her to make it.

“I have no mercy or compassion in me for a society that will crush people, and then penalize them for not being able to stand up under the weight.” Malcolm X said that. I second it.

Like me, he was a Black man who could see the connections and contradictions of Shanesha Taylor’s story and those whom self-righteously penalize her for being too weak to carry the weight of a system that fails poor women and children with disgusting certainty.

How many Wall Street executives are sleeping on a thin mattress with their backs to the wall lest they receive a midnight visit from a Nazi skinhead with a swastika face tattoo? Think of all those corrupt Congresscritters who resign to “spend more time with their families” as well as their mistresses and boy toys on the side. If leaving infants in a truck in the heat of the Arizona day is grounds for legal sanction then what should be done with a president, vice-president, National Security Adviser and Secretary of Defense who lie an entire country into a phony war and kill nearly 5,000 U.S. troops and possibly a million Iraqi citizens?

If George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleeza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld don’t deserve to be arrested for war crimes, can’t they at least have the goddamn decency to hide in their holes like the criminal scum they are? Why hasn’t someone performed a citizens arrest yet and marched the lot of them into The Hague or at least a Supermax prison?

This is what real criminal behavior looks like.

Putting Taylor behind bars may satiate the need to make her pay for her bad judgment, but it glosses over how states like Arizona balance the books on the backs of their least affluent and most needy citizens eventually creating “solutions” as dire as the original problems.

Criminalizing poverty is insane. Conservatives have made it their mission to slash and gut social programs designed specifically to assist women like Shanesha Taylor. Welfare, daycare and childcare, food stamps, homeless shelters, jobs programs, WIC, and anything else that isn’t a sacred cow like tax cuts and military spending.

A tax cut wouldn’t have helped Taylor and neither will Paul Ryan’s latest punish the poor Congressional budget. The Republican Party wants people to learn how to catch their own fish instead of sitting around and waiting for someone to give them fish to eat. They forget how hard it is to catch a fish when you can’t afford to buy a pole or bait.

Probation, jail time, and the other suggested corrective measures for Taylor show the disdain of the well-fed and markedly unsympathetic for a woman who doesn’t look like them, doesn’t belong in their circles they travel in and whose circumstances they can’t begin to conceive.

Conservatives like the idea of poor people working, but they want them to suffer a bit for whatever little help they receive and if they can be humiliated and have their dignity peeled away from their body in strips, that’s always good for a laugh.

When they actually break down in tears as Shanesha Taylor did, then it’s downright hilarious.

Taylor is, we are told, a bad mother. A loser. A dope who probably made dopey and bad decisions all her life so we must hold her up to contempt and compare her to welfare cheats and con artists.

But race has nothing to do with it. Gender has nothing to do with it. Poverty has nothing to do with it and how do we know this? We don’t. We just say we do because then its all of the individual’s fault and society is blameless.

American Injustice.

Taylor lives in an America most Americans don’t see because she cannot claim “affluenza” to escape responsibility.  Pleading she would not fare well in prison  is not a defense available to her.  Any society that has no fairness, understanding or compassion in it for desperate people is a society with no goodness or mercy in it and is not a society that can be defended.

“This is America’s opportunity to help bridge the gulf between the haves and the have-nots. The question is whether America will do it. There is nothing new about poverty. What is new is that we now have the techniques and the resources to get rid of poverty. The real question is whether we have the will.”

One day we will have to stand before the God of history and we will talk in terms of things we’ve done. Yes, we will be able to say we built gargantuan bridges to span the seas, we built gigantic buildings to kiss the skies. Yes, we made our submarines to penetrate oceanic depths. We brought into being many other things with our scientific and technological power.

It seems that I can hear the God of history saying, “That was not enough! But I was hungry, and ye fed me not. I was naked, and ye clothed me not. I was devoid of a decent sanitary house to live in, and ye provided no shelter for me. And consequently, you cannot enter the kingdom of greatness. If ye do it unto the least of these, my brethren, ye do it unto me.” That’s the question facing America today.”

~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Beyond Vietnam — A Time to Break the Silence” delivered on April 4th 1967

 

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Paul Ryan Throws Out Race Bait. Catches Himself Looking Racist.

A race hustler gets caught hustling race.

Paul Ryan, former Republican vice-president candidate and notorious Ayn Rand denier had some interesting thoughts on the problem of poverty.

He probably should have kept them to himself.

At a town hall meeting in Racine, WI on Wednesday, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) was confronted by a black constituent about his remarks disparaging lazy “inner city” men as a drain on the economy.

Think Progress reported that 61-year-old Alfonso Gardner of Racine asked the erstwhile vice presidential candidate exactly what he meant when he said “we have got this tailspin of culture in our inner cities in particular of men not working, and just generations of men not even thinking about working and learning the value and culture of work.”

“You said what you meant,” said Gardner to Ryan during the question and answer section of his appearance. When Ryan said “inner city,” Gardner contended, it was “a code word for black.”

Ryan acted offended that Gardner brought race into the discussion, saying, “There is nothing whatsoever about race in my comments at all.”

Gardner was overreacting, he said, “I think when we throw these charges [of racism] around, it should be based on something.”

Think Progress’ Scott Keyes spoke to Gardner after the event, who said, “He’s out here shucking and jiving. He’s been in Congress eight terms and just now talking about poverty?”

The go-to guide for the sophisticated bigot.

The go-to guide for the sophisticated bigot.

Furthermore, when Ryan made his remarks on Bill Bennett’s AM radio talk show “Morning in America,” he referenced white supremacist writer Charles Murray, who the Southern Poverty Law Center said uses “racist pseudoscience and misleading statistics to argue that social inequality is caused by the genetic inferiority” of African-Americans.

Maybe Ryan actually has a genuine interest in bettering the plight of those generations of inner city males who aren’t working.

Maybe.

More likely Ryan is blowing a particularly high-pitched dog whistle where the problem of inner city Black men not working is based on the fact they’re Black men living in the inner city.

I’d be more inclined to get Cryin’ Ryan the benefit of the doubt if he wasn’t referring to theories of a slob like Charles Murray, the living half of the two twits who wrote the spectacularly racist The Bell Curve and he wasn’t running this smack on a radio show hosted by Bill Bennett, a former Secretary of Education who once told a caller, “I do know that it’s true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could — if that were your sole purpose — you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down.”

If Paul Ryan gave a shit about the serious issues of Black men and the conditions they face in the inner city, he’d get off his dead ass and support some legislation that might put people to work like the president’s American Jobs Act that has languished in Congress since 2011.

But Ryan doesn’t give a shit. He’s another smart-ass White guy who wants to talk Black problems to death with bullshit analysis, hang-wringing sob stories and not a goddamn bit of action. I am SO tired of these opportunistic jackholes like Ryan who riff on subjects they know nothing about and care even less and think referencing a racist like Murray gives them some clout and we should pay attention to them.

NO. We shouldn’t.

Ryan is a man going places in American politics and much like Sen. Rand Paul who has made some encouraging noises in talking about race. At least for a prominent Republican even if Paul falls Whitesplaining the same awkward way Ryan does.

Nobody needs to tell a Black male what’s broken. I’ve heard all that in barbershop conversations for over five decades now.   All  I want to hear from Ryan is what’s the plan to fix it?   Beware when a right-winger who’s never spoken about poverty or race before starts talking about it.  Odds are he’s only spreading verbal fertilizer.

Ryan isn’t going to do anything about the problems of “inner city” men.  He just likes talking about it because it makes him seem sincere and really cares when we know he really doesn’t.  My advice to Ryan is to take the advice of another Republican, Frederick Douglass who had some thoughts himself about what should be done about those Black people problems.

Everybody has asked the question…”What shall we do with the Negro?” I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us!

A path to stupidity is what this doofus wants to put the country on.

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Rob Portman’s Coming Out is A Profile In No Courage

“Look, Rob, you can bring your Black friend, but leave your gay son at home. Got it?”

Big political news.  Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) became the most prominent member of the GOP caucus to come out.  In favor of same-sex marriage, that is.  Portman, who was on Mitt Romney’s short list of possible vice-presidential running mates attributed his change of heart to his son coming out as a gay man.

I have come to believe that if two people are prepared to make a lifetime commitment to love and care for each other in good times and in bad, the government shouldn’t deny them the opportunity to get married.

That isn’t how I’ve always felt. As a congressman, and more recently as a senator, I opposed marriage for same-sex couples. Then something happened that led me to think through my position in a much deeper way.

Two years ago, my son Will, then a college freshman, told my wife, Jane, and me that he is gay. He said he’d known for some time, and that his sexual orientation wasn’t something he chose; it was simply a part of who he is. Jane and I were proud of him for his honesty and courage. We were surprised to learn he is gay but knew he was still the same person he’d always been. The only difference was that now we had a more complete picture of the son we love.

So let’s review: it’s okay to previously be on record as opposing gay rights and same-sex marriage just so long as your positions “evolve” once you learn your son or daughter is one of those people you’ve actively discriminated against.

It has to become personal. Oh, and you have to be a Republican too.

I was blind but now I see. Go forth and sin no more. Hallelujah!

Portman remained a religious-based, anti-equality, bigot throughout his entire career prior to his sonny-boy coming out only to be “transformed” and “evolve” when his previously held beliefs suddenly became personal for him.

Until it did he was fine with discriminating against someone else’s child.

  •     Let the military decide on don’t-ask-don’t-tell
  •     Supports Amendment to prevent same sex marriage
  •     Supports banning homosexuals in the military
  •     YES on banning gay adoptions in DC.
  •     YES on Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage

“Same-sex marriage? Sure I have sex the same way in my marriage.”

As recently as 2011, Portman was a typical Republican homophobe actively opposing same-sex marriage and not apologizing for it.  I’m not nearly as impressed by my home state Senator’s partial-reversal as some folks are. It’s nice. It’s late, but it’s still nice. I’m sure those gays and lesbians Portman happily discriminated against will be glad he’s getting off their backs.

Hooray, and so what if Rob Portman goes forth and sins no more? Just because you got religion doesn’t mean you’re not a sinner anymore.

Everyone was wondering why Romney chose Paul Ryan over Portman as his vice-president when it was obvious Portman could have helped Romney in the critical state of Ohio (you know, that place that when it was declared for Obama and ended Election Night sent Karl Rove into such a frenzy he tried to eat his own foot).

Now we know why. Ryan didn’t have a gay son.

Esquire’s Charles P. Pierce shares my skepticism about Portman’s epiphany.

If Will hadn’t come out, or if he’d been as straight as Nebraska highway, Portman wouldn’t have cared about the sons and daughters and brothers and sisters of all the other Dads who love them and want them to have the same opportunities? It’s not just the implied notion that discrimination is OK unless it inconveniences Sunday dinner with the Portmans. It’s also the relentless banality through which even “decent” Republicans struggle to come to simple humanity. Does any group of people have dark nights of the soul that are so endlessly boring and transparently insincere?

It’s like listening to Kierkegaard sell flatware. I’m glad there’s another vote for marriage equality here. I’m also glad I didn’t have to listen to the full explanation behind it.

Me too and frankly I don’t get why I should give Portman credit for doing what he’s supposed to do.

It’s wonderful and terrific that Rob has decided to stop discriminating against a group of people. But am I supposed to bake him some cookies too?

Loser’s Lunch

Inspected and rejected by 62 million Americans.

There’s a question being asked over Mitt Romney breaking bread with Barack Obama at the White House today and that is why?  Why would Obama want to dine with the man he beat soundly three weeks ago?   Better still, why would Romney accept the invitation?

Because it costs the president nothing to be gracious to his challenger and for Mitt’s part, it’s not as if he has anything better to do.

Speculation runs rampant that Romney might be offered some advisory role to the president or even a lesser Cabinet position such as Secretary of Commerce.   Not going to happen.   Obama has plenty of qualified people to select from for his second-term Cabinet and there will be some Republicans included, but let’s not take this “team of rivals” thing too far.

There’s no place for Romney in the Obama Administration.   Romney brings nothing to the table Obama can’t get from somebody better qualified and on his side.   The worst kept “secret” of the entire campaign was how much these two guys don’t like each other.   Unless Obama makes him the ambassador to Switzerland or the Cayman Islands so he can visit the millions of dollars he’s off-shored,  Romney couldn’t be less interested in spending the next four years deferring to the man who denied him his heart’s desire.

If Obama doesn’t want to hear Romney’s suggestions and Romney is praying Obama doesn’t embarrass him by offering him a gig, what exactly will they talk about?

“I love you honey.” “Me too.”

Still President Obama: So Mitt, how’s Ann doing?

Not President Romney: Fine.

Still President Obama:  How’s your coffee?  Need it freshened up?

Not President Romney:  No.

Still President Obama:  U Mad, Bro?

Not President Romney:  Hell to the yeah.  

I hate to be a bad winner…no, that’s a lie.  I love being a bad winner because I don’t like Mitt Romney and it gave me a great deal of personal satisfaction to not simply see him lose, but to completely fail.  The moment was there for Mitt Romney to show his character and he passed on it.  He could have said the president ran a better campaign.  He could have given some credit to those who voted against him.   Even in defeat, Romney could have done more to put aside the rancor and division of a bitterly fought and highly contentious election.

But Mittens wasn’t going on like that.  All those millions and it still didn’t buy Romney and .   He had to go out crying like a little bitch about Obama handing out “gifts” to his base.   Paul Ryan dealt from the bottom of the race card deck himself when he credited (or blamed) Obama’s victory to turnout in “urban areas.”

The “Obama Is Your Santa Claus” riff is one you hear and read being pushed by Republicans refusing to face the cold, hard facts.   Romney’s “chief strategist” Stuart Stevens offered up an alternate take on reality in a op-ed explaining why his candidate lost, but he couldn’t resist playing the race card.
On Nov. 6, Romney carried the majority of every economic group except those with less than $50,000 a year in household income. That means he carried the majority of middle-class voters. While John McCain lost white voters younger than 30 by 10 points, Romney won those voters by seven points, a 17-point shift. Obama received 4½million fewer voters in 2012 than 2008, and Romney got more votes than McCain. ..There was a time not so long ago when the problems of the Democratic Party revolved around being too liberal and too dependent on minorities. Obama turned those problems into advantages and rode that strategy to victory. But he was a charismatic African American president with a billion dollars, no primary and media that often felt morally conflicted about being critical. How easy is that to replicate?

Really, Stuart?   You’re proud that your boy appealed only to White voters making over $50,000 a year?     That’s what you’re thumping your chest about.   No wonder Mittens lost.   Apparently it’s impossible and particularly when you’re getting bad advice from a “strategist” that all you need to do to win is to appeal to pissed-off White men and ignore the rest of the country.   Who at the Washington Post thought it was a good idea to give a loser a podium to brag about how he lost?

This lunch  is gonna be a little awkward, but through a confidential source I can reveal what’s  on the menu for Mittens.    The White House chefs whipped  up a feast of sour grapes as the appetizer , an entree of crow,  dessert of a big slice of  humble pie and a glass of curdled milk.

Bon appetit. 

Romney and friends.

“Hi, I’m Mitt and I’m down with my brown and black peeps.”

Wake the #@&$! Up, Obama!

It’s a fight now, but only because Obama made it one.

Dear Mr. President,

I’m doing my part to reelect you.  I’m wearing a “Obama/Biden” button.  I stuck a campaign sign in my yard (and handed out more to family and friends) and a bumper sticker on my car and my wife’s (despite never receiving the ones we were supposed to get for the campaign contributions we made a few months ago.  Because you’ve been busy running the country, I’ll cut you some slack on that, though my wife is a little sore about that Obama car magnet she didn’t get).

We’ve given money to both you and your fellow Democrats.  Don’t take this the wrong way, but one thing I’ll be glad about is when this election is over, I can get my junk mail folder back into some reasonable shape.   Every day I get pleading e-mails from Senators, governors, members of Congress, party insiders, ex-presidents, ex-vice presidents and all sorts of Democrats/liberals/progressives begging for another $5 or $20 or $100 to make the difference and put them over the top.  I’d love to help, but I’m a working man with bills to pay.   If I could do more, I would do more, but I can’t and I’ll be glad when you and your friends stop pestering me for dollars I don’t have to give.

The other night, I went to one of your campaign offices to get these yard signs and this nice older gentleman convinced me to sign up to work a phone back the final weekend before the election.  Why I offered to do this when I know I work weekends and I’m dead tired those mornings I agreed to call complete strangers to vote for you, I have no idea.   I suppose I want to feel as though I did my part whether you win or lose.

Now I have a question.  Have you ever seen Saving Private Ryan   Well, I want you to do me a favor Mr. President.   Remember what Tom Hanks told Matt Damon?   It’s time for you to do what he did.   Earn this.

I’m a little annoyed at you, Mr. President.  No.  Scratch that.  I’m not a little annoyed.  I’m a lot annoyed bordering on seriously pissed off.   After that debacle of a debate performance last week you may have noticed your lack of actions have had some serious consequences with the polls.  Mitt Romney has come back from the dead and he has now tied you in some polls and leads you in a few others.  According to whom you believe the race is a dead heat.

Were you not listening, Mr. President when Samuel L. Jackson told your supporters to “Wake the fuck up?”   Did you think that meant you could take a 90 minute nap last Wednesday in front of 60 million Americans?   Or are you suffering from sudden bouts of narcolepsy?

You didn’t just disappoint me, sir.   You disappointed your supporters who were expecting you to fight harder for your own job.   Or are you just trying to make things needlessly dramatic in this last month?   If the polls are to be believed, I think you succeeded quite nicely.

No panic. No stress.

I am “in” it to win it, Mr. President.  I got your back.  Do you have mine?   Can you show me next week when you’re debating Romney you want to keep the job he wants to take from you?   Can you prove to everyone you’ve given reason to doubt that you actually give a damn?

Your vice-president, Joe Biden, will have his chance to set things right on Thursday when he squares off against Mitt’s man, Paul Ryan.   Nobody will ever accuse Joe of lacking passion.  If anything, he has to put a leash on his passion in case his mouth out runs his brain.   But a debate between Biden and Ryan won’t change the race that drastically.   Only you can do that.   You’ll have two more shots at doing so.    Foreign policy is on the agenda for the October 16 debate and the last one is a town hall-style meeting on the 22nd.    That’s it.   In a race that will come down to who is more successful in energizing their base in nine or ten key states, turnout matters more than money, more than polls, more than ads, more than endorsements.   \

It comes down to who wants it more.

Do you want it bad enough, Mr. President?   Do you want it more than Mitt does?   Are you willing to put in the time and the work to keep what is already yours?

Mitt isn’t going to give up.  You had a chance to make him and you didn’t take it.   That’s history now and if you lose this thing that shabby first debate will weigh heavily in the reasons why you lost.

But you haven’t lost.  I went to vote today and I know there is an enthusiasm out there to keep you in the White House.   There is what Dr. King called, “the fierce urgency of now.”   Now is when this election is won or lost.

I am in.  I am doing my part.  I’m going to work for you and my country, Mr. President.   I still believe in hope and change and I know it takes more than four years to bring it about.

You have to earn it.  You don’t deserve it.  Anything worth having is worth working for.   And you have to go out and get it.  It will not be given to you.

Can you take the momentum back?   Can you put Mitt back on the ropes?  Sure you can.   Hell yes you can!  But will you?

I’ m done with the recriminations.   I’m not going to worry about it.  I can’t laugh at your making fun of your own shitty performance.   I just want you to take this as seriously as everyone supporting you is doing.

And I want you to earn this.   It’s all out there for you, Mr. President.  Show me you still want it.

No he can’t?

Has Todd Aiken Screwed the GOP With “Legitimate Rape?”

McCaskill may have found the one Republican she can beat.

Normally, no one but a political junkie would pay much attention to a Missouri Republican candidate for the Senate has to say about abortion.   What Todd Akin sad was far from normal.   Even for experience campaign observers  Akin’s candid response left their jaws crashing to the floor.

First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV in an interview posted Sunday. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

“Legitimate rape?”   Rape is an ugly crime of hate and violence.  What’s almost as ugly is how pigs like Akin trivialize it to exert their moral authority over a woman’s body.  

Akin’s ill-considered remarks set the race in Missouri on its ear and Republicans in full-blown panic mode as Democrats pounced on the gaffe.   The Republican National Committee said it would not provide funds for Akin’s attempt to unseat Claire McCaskill,  the vulnerable incumbent for control of a Senate seat the GOP desperately wants to wrest from the Democrats.     The calls for Akin to quit the race began almost immediately.

Akin is telling anyone who will listen that he’s in the race, but he’s running out of listeners. Today, even Sean Hannity said he needs to quit.

The G.O.P. needs to pick up four seats to retake the Senate and Claire McCaskill in Missouri is one of the most vulnerable Democrats out there. She was losing to all the Republican challengers before Akin won the primary. They can find a replacement with no sweat, but if Akin hangs on, with the national money drying up, McCaskill could hang on.

That wouldn’t make Karl Rove or the Kochs very happy. The elephant stampede from Akin isn’t because he’s a stupid asshole, but because he might screw up Mitch McConnell’s wet dreams of becoming Senate Majority Leader. Politics trumps decency. Same as it always was.

Bad boy. He’s gotta go.

The Republicans are hoping Akin will drop out and allow them to replace him. Probably with someone not as stupidly insensitive about rape, but likely better at hiding it.

Unless Akin drops out, McConnell could stay in the minority.

Which isn’t to say he doesn’t have his defenders   “This is an effort to try to direct attention away from…Claire McCaskill, who has been supportive of Planned Parenthood – an organization that’s been under investigation for criminal activity,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said.

Akin’s candidacy got an unexpected boost from Democrats who poured a million dollars into ads attacking the GOP favorite, businessman John Brunner and a second challenger backed by Sarah Palin.

It was a political calculation to want the weakest and least electable Republican to run again a vulnerable Democrat. McCaskill was losing to all three of the Republicans in the primary and chose to boost the candidacy of Akin, the one she was losing to by the smallest margin.

If Akin wins the strategy will blow up in the face of McCaskill and the Democrats. If she wins because she suspected or hoped Akin would screw himself, then it was a brilliant move. Either way, she had to choose from the best of nothing but bad options. She chose the least worst one.

at the end of the day, Todd Akin is still a Republican. Akin’s idiocy gives McCaskill something she didn’t have a few weeks ago–an opening and a classic screw-up she can exploit. Akin’s repugnant views are being condemned by the GOP not because they find his view so repulsive. They don’t and his ignorant views aren’t out of the Republican mainstream, but they’re afraid Akin staying in will blow one of their best shots for a Senate pick-up.

You won’t find Mitt Romney or any other national GOP leader saying jack about that because that would mean they would have to accept blame for supporting this babbling fool in the first place–the way Paul Ryan did after Akin won the primary.

“Todd Akin has been a great asset to the House Budget Committee,” Ryan said in a joint press release last November with fellow House leaders, including NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions, and Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Jordan. “His principled approach to fiscal responsibility is exactly the kind of leadership America needs and I appreciate his hard work.”

The Democrats may have given Akin a boost, but it was Republicans who gave him their support. He’s their boy and their problem.

 

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.