Monday, August 13, 2012

Mitt Romney Picks Grown-Up Child Star Eddie Munster As Running Mate. Yaawwwwn.

So by now, you all know that Mitt Romney has chosen Wisconsin Congressman and former child star Paul Ryan as his VP. The world hasn't seen such an uninspired pairing since Cop Out. At least that movie had the sometimes-funny Tracy Morgan. Romney/Ryan just has two guys who both grew up in affluent families trying to pass themselves off as everymen Washington outsiders. Which, again, is about as convincing as pairing an aging action star with a black guy who barely speaks function English.

You can prolly tell what movie I saw (again) this weekend, right?

Anyways, in coming days we'll undoubtedly see the Democrats paint Ryan as a radical who wants to dismantle every social safety net and make it easier for the rich to stay richer. Republicans will paint him as a brilliant policy wonk here to save us from ourselves. Reality is, like most running mates, not a single person will cast their vote in November because of (or in spite of) Ryan or the increasingly embarassing Joe Biden. These guys are called running mates for a reason.

That said, here's a handful of my random thoughts on the selection.
Tea Party Hypocrisy - Did you know Ryan has been a Washington insider his entire career? It's true. He was a Congressional intern, turned Congressional staffer, turned Congressman. For a bunch of people who put such a premium on hating the government, they're awful silent about this guy, who is as much a creature of DC as one can possibly be. He even met his wife here. And surprise, she comes from an affluent family with a boatload of political connections as well. Ryan also owes a huge part of his success to government instutions like state supported colleges, and oh yeah, the Feds. But hey, that whole "Government Sucks!" thing apparently only applies to Obama. Who, might I add, has more private sector experience than Ryan. But anyways.

Romney Hypocrisy - Anyone remember a few months ago when Mittens said that he wanted to amend the Constitution to require anyone running for the Presidency to have a minimum of 3 years of business experience? He also said that anyone he chooses as a VP needs to be ready to be President should something happen to him. Uhhh, yeah, so much for that.

Ryan Really Hasn't Accomplished Much - Policy ideas aside, Ryan's actual legislative record is about as prolific as my podcast. 13 years in DC. Two bills passed. One renamed a post office. The other changed the tax rate on bow & arrow equipment. No, seriously. As for his reputation as a deficit hawk, Ryan voted for the Bush tax cuts, two wars, TARP, and the Bush prescription drug program. And no, none of this stuff was paid for with offsetting cuts.

Ryan Is, However, Right. Sorta. - Folks, at some point, entitlements like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will all need to be addressed. The problem is, privatizing these programs or giving Seniors vouchers to find their own coverage is just to reckless and wanton a solution. I give credit to Ryan to at least suggesting some changes as a Congressman. As a VP however, he's already backpedalling from his own plan, taking the Social Security plan off the table. Reality is, such a massive change needs to happen with bipartisan effort. Anyone with half a brain knows that in this current political environment, nothing of the sort will ever happen.

This Doesn't Move The Needle Much - Again, people don't cast Vice Presidential votes. The Romney ticket, if history is a guide, will likely only get a momentary 1-2% poll bounce. Barring something cataclysmic happening, this race is still going to come down to one thing: job growth. Last month's 165k number was great. If we see anything near 200k for the August and Sept, this election is effectively over. Nothing Romney/Ryan can do about that.
Question: What do you think about the Ryan selection?

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