Happy Saturday, folks! Did you hear? Mitt Romney has announced his running mate for the presidential election — Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI). Let’s get to know him, shall we?
1. He’s 42. On a personal note, there are a couple things about Ryan that are off-putting to me. First, he’s only 10 years older than me. That’s the age difference between me and the oldest boyfriend I’ve ever had. In other words, Paul Ryan is young enough to be my boyfriend. Or I’m old enough to be his girlfriend. Whatever. On one hand, I’ve always been bothered by the fact that so many of our elected officials are so old and out of touch with the youngest generations of voters. On the other hand, a VP who fits within my dating age range on OK Cupid freaks me out a little.
(The second thing about Paul Ryan that is off-putting to me is that he looks so much like this guy — a Republican, by the way — that I used to have hate sex with. I say hate sex because we had fun together in the bedroom, but, like, fought about everrrrrrything outside of the bedroom and sometimes I found myself thinking, Ughhhh, I hate him! It didn’t last all that long — like, a month — but it was a weird time.)
2. He’s a big fan of Ayn Rand. “The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand,” he said at a D.C. gathering honoring the author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. “I give out ‘Atlas Shrugged’ as Christmas presents, and I make all my interns read it. Well … I try to make my interns read it.” Even if you’re a fan of Rand’s writing and character development (as our own Ami is, sigh), Rand’s philosophy — that selfishness is a “virtue” — is quite troubling! Rand called altruism as “evil,” condemned Christianity for its work helping the poor, and described Arabs as “almost totally primitive savages.” Though Ryan has distanced himself from Rand’s atheist beliefs, and not that you should base your vote this November on which books line the candidates’ shelves, it’s worth noting whose writings they’re most influenced by.
3. He’s not a friend to gay people. Ryan voted in 1999 in favor of banning same-sex couples from adopting in the District of Columbia (over which Congress often exerts control); he voted against repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (which barred members of the military from being “out”); when the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act passed through the House in 2009, Ryan voted against it; earlier this year, he supported Wisconsin’s state constitutional amendment to ban on same-sex marriage; and he twice voted for a federal marriage amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
4. He thinks fertilized eggs are people and should be treated as such under the eyes of the law. Ryan was among 62 other Republicans who co-sponsored the Sanctity of Human Life Act, which declares that a fertilized egg “shall have all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood.” Under such a law, abortion, some forms of contraception and invitro fertilization would be banned.
5. He’s extremely and proudly anti-choice. Paul Ryan has been heralded by pro-life groups for his stance against abortion, even in cases of rape or incest. He also voted to defund Planned Parenthood.
6. His economic plans calls for just two tax brackets. Paul is best known for authoring “The Path to Prosperity,” an alternative budget plan that would, among other things, replace “the current tax structure with two brackets — 25 percent and 10 percent — and cut the top rate from 35 percent.” Uh, so what does that mean? Basically, according to a study prepared by the congressional Joint Economic Committee and verified by independent experts, Ryan’s plan would raise taxes on families making less than $200,000, even while it gives millionaires a tax cut. Funzies!
7. He was voted “Biggest Brown Noser” in high school. This is neither here nor there, I just think it’s funny.
8. He has a very lush head of hair. So does Mitt Romney. I honestly think this is the least bald ticket since Bill Clinton and Al Gore.
9. He wants to privatize Medicare. One of the more controversial aspects of his “Path to Prosperity” involves changing the existing version of Medicare, in which government provides seniors with a guaranteed benefit, into a “premium” voucher system to spend as they want. This is where it gets complicated, so I’ll turn to Politico to explain further:
The idea is to turn Medicare into a program that subsidizes private insurance plans. A voucher would do that by sending the money to seniors, and they’d go out and buy the plan. With premium support, Medicare pays the money straight to the plan that the senior chooses.
So yes, there’s a difference — but it’s hairsplitty. What worries people about vouchers is the idea that the money will be limited, and it won’t cover their costs. Will the payments be limited in premium support? Of course. That’s how it saves money.
There’s a lot more at the link which explains what aspects of ObamaCare that Ryan’s plan would keep, etc. I think this is one of the more important and complicated issues of this election year, so read up!
10. He is a very good public speaker. Unlike Mitt Romney, who, let’s face it, might be a member of the Borg, Paul Ryan is really good in front of a microphone and in interviews. He speaks with ease, confidence, and affability. And he has a very beautiful set of baby blues.
11. He thinks Social Security is a “Ponzi Scheme.” Since 2005, Ryan has advocated for privatizing the retirement benefit and investing it in stocks and bonds.
12. He kind of hates Mother Earth. Well, maybe he doesn’t hate her, but he loves the money Big Oil lines his pockets with more. He has a long history of voting against various environmental protection laws and has implied that snow invalidates global warming.
This is just a smattering of information about Paul Ryan of course, and I did waste two full paragraphs on how his existence relates to my personal life, so I urge you to read more! (Plenty o’ links below to start with.) Feel free to share what you know, think, and feel about Paul Ryan and Romney’s decision to choose him as his running mate!