Updated: 7:00 AM ET August 17, 2012
THE PAUL RYAN SELECTION
The Koch Brothers Get Their Man
I've waited a few days to lay out my analysis of the selection of Paul Ryan for the VP slot on the Romney ticket. Unlike politicos like Dick Morris who bad-mouths the selection privately and shills for it publicly, I'll tell you what I really think. My sources tell me David Koch played a key role in Ryan's selection and that Koch's wife Julia had been quietly lobbying for Ryan. The selection was cemented at the July 22nd fundraiser Koch held for Romney at the former's sumptuous Hamptons estate.
Koch pledged $100 million more to C-4 and Super PAC efforts for Romney for Ryan's selection.
The upside of Ryan's selection is clear. Romney, distrusted by party conservatives, won't have to worry about his right flank or the base throughout the fall as John McCain did, theoretically leaving Romney free to seek independent swing voters in the middle. The downside is Ryan may be so tattooed by the Democrats for his "extreme" positions that Romney's ability to win these votes may be limited. The shift of the debate from jobs and the economy to entitlement funding is not beneficial to the Republicans as it will allow the campaign to play out on the Democrats strong suit issue.
Meanwhile the idea of Ryan as a radical is laughable. Ryan put forth a budget proposal which did nothing to curtail Social Security and military spending. His famous budget allows the deficit to continue to grow. Ryan has worked almost his entire adult life (the last twenty years) cashing a government check in D.C. Ryan supported the auto and bank bailouts, voted for the Troubled Asset Relief Program in 2008 and for increasing the debt ceiling in 2011. Ryan voted for the Iraq War resolution in 2002, keeping troops in Iraq indefinitely, against withdrawal of U.S. troops from the Balkans in 1999 and for the authorization for use of military force against Afghanistan in 2001. He also voted for the re-authorization of the Patriot Act in 2006 and 2011 and for the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 which allows the federal government to arrest and incarcerate a US citizen without bail, charges or a trial.
The idea of Paul Ryan as a libertarian is a joke. Ryan is a big government, Washington DC Republican who votes to fund foreign interventionism and the erosion of our civil liberties. Ryan began his political career as an acolyte of one of my heroes, Rep. Jack Kemp. Yet Ryan has wandered far from Kemp's genuine concern about the poor and disadvantaged. Ryan has become more of a faux deficit hawk and less of a pro-growth proponent.
Then there is the question of Ryan's clothes. I'm not sure if he gets his threads from the Salvation Army or the Goodwill. His suits are too large as are his dress shirts. He appears to be wearing a plastic belt. The Romney team should enlist supply-side guru Larry Kudlow to coach Ryan, not on economics but on how to dress. Shortly after his selection, Ryan headed to Las Vegas to kiss the ring of Las Vegas Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson. Problem is Adelson keeps his ring in his back pocket!