Well, now we have the answer. Who would Mitt Romney, one of the most vacuous, detestable vultures to run for president in memory, pick to be his running mate? Why it’s Paul Ryan, a slightly less vacuous, but equally detestable vulture. There was certainly no concern for ‘balance’ on the ticket. No, the Republicans want you ordinary people and minorities to know straight up that they hate you. They’re coming for your way of life, for the very humane programs and policies seen to be a central part of civilized government in this country for the last 75 years, and in the rest of the civilized world for much longer. And they’re coming for your rights too: full throttle ahead for the continued disenfranchisement of minorities, old people, young people, and poor people everywhere. You know, ordinary people. This way, all those people will continue to be unseen, and now no longer heard at the polls. No hiring policies that compensate for generations of inequality. No right to sue over the hostile environment and exploitation they may face once employed, or for discrimination of any kind. No recourse at all for the continuing humiliations visited upon people who weren’t born between third and home base.
Get ready for unprecedented levels of dog whistle racism and whining about people who aren’t ‘Real Amercuns’ sucking lazily off the public nipple. Get ready to hear that ‘we just can’t afford’ any more coddling of the weak and less able among us. If you thought Ronald Reagan was a nasty piece of work, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Yes, these two absolutely despicable humans have a Plan. And that is to shred every last piece of the social contract that might protect a disadvantaged or ‘undeserving’ (read Black, Latino, or disabled) person, while expanding the exponentially more costly tax-based giveaways to corporations and the already rich. Who cares if Social Security is privatized and no longer guaranteed, if you can just pay your financial planner to manage that account in addition to the others? Who cares if Medicare is slashed to the point of skeletal remains when you have the unlimited resources you got from Daddy to pay out of pocket for everything? Medicaid? Forget about it. And if you didn’t earn or inherit, invest and profit enough during your life to achieve this level of ‘self-sufficiency’? Well, of course you’re less fit to begin with and a drag on the gene pool. This is true sociopathy, folks. The real deal.
Make no mistake, though. Picking Paul Ryan, though it entails some risk for Mitt, is intended to help polish the turd that is Romney’s background of absent minded privilege, of never having done a hard day’s work in his life, of never having earned a thing in his vicious life of scavenging and easy predation. Ryan is intended to make the ticket look like it has ‘ideas,’ as if reading Ayn Rand in high school makes you some kind of intellectual. It doesn’t. Of course, it doesn’t necessarily make you a bad person either. But still being a devotee of such sewage as a grown man, a supposed ‘family’ man at that? Well, that just makes you a nearly perfectly immoral life form. That’s Paul Ryan.
Yes, there certainly appear to be two kinds of people who come from a relatively privileged childhood and then truly “make it big” in life. Those who recognize and credit the advantages and mentorship they received; and those who just love the view from the top while hating on the kinds of people they left behind, those who haven’t had the help and luck the successful so richly benefit from.
So here is Ryan, a former ‘middle class guy’ (he might even claim he’s working class since he once worked at a McDonalds, and sold Oscar Meyer wieners, after all. How American!?), who wants to pull the ladder (i.e. economic support) away from anyone who hasn’t already risen to a point of no longer needing it. Daddy was a lawyer in a mid-sized Wisconsin town. The Ryans were among Janesville’s founders. Summers were spent in the Rockies and at YMCA camp. The family even depended on his father’s social security benefits after his untimely death (What unpardonable hypocrisy, Paul). Ryan went on to be named “Biggest Brown-Noser” in his high school class, and went on to kiss major political ass in the offices of Vin Weber, Jeanne Kirkpatrick, Jack Kemp, and Bill Bennett. Privilege, what privilege? Help from others in ‘making it,’ what help? That’s Paul Ryan.
No, there’s no reason to put any stock at all in that John Galt, self-reliance crap. What Romney and Ryan will be driving for is a third world-style kleptocracy, composed of 1% of the people sipping cognac on their tax-deductable private jets, back from the Caymans to one of their many resort-area compounds, while the other 99% drift further into poverty and sub-human living standards, no matter how many hours they work.
The Romney-Ryan ticket will be drenched in misogyny as well. Ryan’s history of sponsoring fetal personhood bills and a whole host of other anti-abortion measures, and Romney’s willingness to turn his back on past support for Planned Parenthood are clear signals to women that their reproductive rights are in jeopardy if these men are in charge.
If these men are in charge. Therein lays the solace. As Hrafnkell Haraldsson points out, at least these men are campaigning for the presidency from a losing position. Afraid even to face their constituents or the media, it will be interesting to see how they handle any pointed questions the debates raise (provided we can count on moderators to generate any). This ticket will absolutely depend on low-information, often racist, voters enamored with right wing media and their shout-outs to angry white people afraid of losing their ‘way of life.’ In point of fact, the vast majority of this country would be harmed by the policies these men represent. Paul Ryan’s own family would have been. Too many of the voters the Romney-Ryan ticket attracts will be middle and working class people, and that is a shame of our nation indeed.
(Thanks to Douglas Foster who co-wrote this piece)
Deborah is a former social work professor who taught social policy, mental health policy, and human diversity. Proud to be called liberal, she happily pays her taxes after being raised in a home that needed long-term welfare. Contrary to the opinion of many, she is living proof that government investment in children leads them out of poverty having received services from Head Start to Pell Grants. Deborah works with low-income, first generation, and disabled college students who are at high-risk for dropping out of college in a program designed to help them graduate. She lives with her husband, stepson, and an aging cat.