In an interview with NBC, Bill Clinton turned Paul Ryan over his knee and gave the Ayn Rand worshiper a quick verbal spanking.
Paul Ryan’s preview of your speech today, quote, “My guess is, we will get a great rendition of how good things were in the 1990s, but we’re not going to hear a lot about the last four years.” How tough are you going to be tonight?
That’s almost a reverse of what I intend to do. I’m going to say very little about the 1990s and when I was president. People know we had the longest economy– economic expansion in history, they know we produced four surplus budgets, and they know that the incomes rose to an all-time high. They know we moved a lot more people out of poverty than before or after I left.
That’s not what this is about. This is about the choice for the American people. I want them to know what based on my experience, I believe the president has done, where I think we are, and why I think they should support him. And that’s what I’m going to focus on. I’m going to say very little about what happened in the ’90s.
Mr. President, what do you make of Mitt Romney and what do you make of Paul Ryan?
I think that um– Governor Romney showed how dogged and determined he was to win this nomination. And how one after another, these opponents would rise up to be his main opponent of the week. And he must’ve felt like he was playing Whac-A-Mole all during the Republican primary. In the process, he committed himself to a politics that was well to the right of where he had governed as governor.
And well to the right of– any president we’ve had in a long time. But sorta in the wheelhouse of where Paul Ryan has been. Paul Ryan’s a– you know, appealing guy, small town story, smart guy. And a great devotee apparently of Ayn Rand. He said, you know, that we’re in a great contest between individualism and collectivism. But I don’t agree with that.
I think we’re in a great contest between hyper-individualism and what I would call communitarianism. Do you think we’re all in this together or should it be every person for himself? So– I respect how hard they both work and how smart they are and I do believe that as they presented themselves at the convention that they are good family people and they believe in what they say.
But I disagree with them. I think that this rather dramatic turn to the right and turn against the whole idea of compromise that the Republican Party has made, it is a mistake. Now it’s true that Mr. Ryan was willing to compromise his Medicare plan with– with– Congress– Senator Wyden. But that budget, the cuts in that budget and– what it would do not just to poor kids but to middle class families and to Medicare people who are in nursing homes paid for by Medicaid.
The– the– it’s unbelievable to give upper-income people another tax cut as a way of closing a deficit. We got a deficit problem. We don’t– even if they don’t want to raise taxes on higher income people, why are we cutting ’em more? So I just disagree with him. I– I like them– they’re personally fine. And I’ll always be– grateful that Governor Romney helped me save the AmeriCorps program when I thought it would be eliminated early in the Bush years. But boy I disagree with their approach.
In other words, little boy, I am a former President of the United States and you have no clue what you are talking about. I think what Paul Ryan was doing was dreaming out loud. There is no way that President Clinton is going to pull a Chris Christie and make the keynote speech all about himself. President Clinton knows that he is there to make the argument for reelecting Barack Obama.
It seems that President Clinton might view Paul Ryan as a personally nice, but naive little boy who is caught up in his Ayn Rand fan fiction disguised as a budget to know how big boy politics really works. Even at his pro-business worst, at heart Bill Clinton is a communitarian. He understands that the entire basis for Paul Ryan’s ideology is childish nonsense that holds the greatest appeal for selfish teenage boys, and rich kids who never really grew up.
Note to Paul Ryan, don’t ever open your mouth and try to guess what the greatest living American politician is going to do. Bill Clinton has forgotten more about politics that Paul Ryan will ever know, but what Ryan’s prediction and Clinton’s reply emphasize is that this is an election being contested by children on one side and adults on the other.
The children have been throwing a temper tantrum for four years and screaming that they want their country back. The men and women of the Democratic Party are here to tell them no. We can’t trust you with the country. The last time we left you in charge you acted irresponsibly, so until you grow up, Democrats will run the show.
The difference in this election is that adults like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama are not going to let children like Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan be in charge.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association