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Mr. Big Dog

Paul Ryan: Romney's gift to Obama

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Ole' David gets it and sums it up quite nicely. Way to shoot yourself in the foot. Thanks, Mitt. You've done the country a huge favor!

Washington (CNN) -- In a classic "Saturday Night Live" sketch, Christopher Walken plays a music producer with just one message for his bands: "More cowbell! I gotta have more cowbell!"

Sometimes you wonder if Walken is producing this year's election, too. In Mitt Romney, the GOP has nominated its least ideological candidate since Richard Nixon. At every turn, the party has demanded, "More ideology! I gotta have more ideology!" With the selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate, Romney has now acceded to that wish. The least ideological Republican candidate since 1968 has committed himself to the most ideological Republican program since 1964.

Democrats must be stunned.

The first battle in every election is the battle to decide what the election is about. What's the question voters must answer?

In 1992, for example, Republicans wanted the election to be about George H.W. Bush's steady leadership in a dangerous world: the end of the Cold War and victory in the Persian Gulf. Democrats countered, "It's the economy, stupid!"

This year, an incumbent even more embattled than George H.W. Bush has his own preferred election theme. He doesn't want to debate his own record, which is pretty dismal. He wants to debate the record of the congressional Republicans elected in 2010, a bunch radically less popular even than the president himself.

You'd imagine that Romney's job was to refuse the Democratic invitation, to choose his own ground for the election, and to keep his distance from the congressional GOP. You'd imagine, but you'd be wrong.

Romney has instead chosen to bolt himself to the House Republicans. He has chosen as his running mate Paul Ryan, the House Republican leader -- not their formal leader, but their intellectual leader, the person who set their agenda. He has effectively adopted Paul Ryan's agenda as his own: big immediate cuts in spending, a dramatic cut in the top rate of income tax to 28% and a bold reform of Medicare for those 55 and under.

Obama's message in 2012: "Forget the economy. It's Medicare, stupid!"

The Romney-Ryan response? "We agree. Medicare it is."

The Romney-Ryan team will tell you that fixing Medicare is crucial to their plans for economic growth. By assuring markets that Medicare costs will grow more slowly after 2023, a Medicare fix -- it's argued -- will ignite job creation in 2013. In the meantime, federal spending cuts and upper-income tax cuts will restore business confidence.

Will voters accept this argument? Possibly, although relatively few economists will do so.

Most economists would draw a distinction between the government's fiscal problems over the medium term and the economy's problems in the near term. The economy's near-term problems can be traced to the housing crisis.

Americans assumed crushing levels of debt in the 2000s to buy expensive homes, homes they assumed would continue to rise in price forever. In 2007, household debt relative to income peaked at the highest level since 1928. (Uh oh.) When the housing market crashed, consumers were stranded with unsustainable debts, and until those debts are reduced, consumers will drastically cut back their spending. As consumers cut back, businesses lose revenue. As businesses lose revenue, they fire employees. As employees lose their jobs, their purchasing power is reduced. As purchasing power is lost throughout the economy, housing prices tumble again.

Rinse and repeat.

Since 2008, the debt burden on households has declined somewhat, partly because of increased saving, mostly because of mortgage default. But household debts have declined nowhere near enough, and the pace of household debt reduction is slowing.

The result: slow recovery of the private economy, weak consumer demand, paltry job growth -- considerably offset by continuing job shrinkage in the public sector.

Paul Ryan's various plans and road maps contain many interesting elements for the reduction of government in the decades ahead. They do not respond to the most immediate and urgent problem: prolonged mass unemployment caused by heavy household debt.

Why not? There's why the ideology makes itself felt. Conservatives ardently believe that big future deficits are the cause of today's unemployment. They feel it. They know it. And they don't want to hear different.

When naysayers worry that the Romney campaign has over-indulged the ideology, the answer quickly comes: "Well, Reagan was ideological in 1980 -- and he still won. Why can't Romney do the same, especially since the economy is even worse now than it was then?"

Fair answer. Here's the difference: Although Ronald Reagan was a highly ideological candidate, he did not run a highly ideological campaign. Quite the contrary! Precisely because party conservatives trusted Reagan's ideological commitment, they allowed him space to move to the center.

Seeking the GOP nomination in 1976, Reagan had pledged large immediate cuts in federal spending ($90 billion, at a time when that was a lot of money). In 1980, Reagan emphasized an easier-to-swallow message of tax cuts, not spending cuts -- and indeed promised that he'd protect the Medicare program he'd opposed when it was created in the mid-1960s.

No such leeway for Mitt Romney. He has been constrained first to endorse Paul Ryan's budget plan (which he did in December 2011 after months of attempted evasion), to endorse a cut in the top rate of income tax to 28% (March 2012), and now finally to choose Ryan himself as his running mate. No leeway -- and now no exit.

Conservatives exult that the GOP will now offer the country "a choice, not a referendum." That phrase does not make a lot of sense. (What is more of a choice than a referendum?) But there's good reason why conservatives say it. They are looking for a rephrasing of the slogan uppermost in their minds: "a choice not an echo" -- the title of the best-selling manifesto that helped persuade Republicans to follow Barry Goldwater to disaster.

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Ryan unlike Palin has quite a bit more brain.


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Ryan driving this weiner mobile can be turned into something to attack ... ideas are flowing :devil:


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Yet another hack piece trying to misdirect by focusing on one part of the whole. The Obama campaign can only try and obscure the overall picture and hope it's enough.

But the economy has a tendency not to cooperate with the spin of late and I don't think it's going to improve in the next 3 months. Then we'll see if having some sort of plan, as opposed to no plan at all wins out


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All Romney and Ryan have to do is explain the magnitude of the national debt to the American public.

If anything, Americans understand debt very well.

10 trillion dollars in 2008. 16 trillion in 2012 - a 60% increase in less than 4 years. Surpassing 8 years of Bush who racked up 5 trillion in debt, as well as the 42 Presidents before Bush combined (another 5 trillion).

Obama can't spin his way out of this one. His usual "blame Bush for everything and anything" song and dance shtick is laughable at this point.


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The Vice-Presidential Debate will be one not to miss.


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The Vice-Presidential Debate will be one not to miss.

These so called "self-funded" entitlement programs are a ponzi scheme. Medicare is the worst of the bunch, and Obamacare uses that as it's model. The only way that system can work is to tell old people, "Sorry, it costs too much money to keep you alive any longer, so you are going to die." Cost controls will only exacerbate the situation, as we have already seen. Doctors are refusing to take new patients. Forcing doctors and hospitals to take the patients that need the most expensive care for partial reimbursement and recovering your costs with other patients is what has driven healthcare costs skyward to begin with.

Edited by The Patriot

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These so called "self-funded" entitlement programs are a ponzi scheme. Medicare is the worst of the bunch, and Obamacare uses that as it's model. The only way that system can work is to tell old people, "Sorry, it costs too much money to keep you alive any longer, so you are going to die." Cost controls will only exacerbate the situation, as we have already seen. Doctors are refusing to take new patients. Forcing doctors and hospitals to take the patients that need the most expensive care for partial reimbursement and recovering your costs with other patients is what has driven healthcare costs skyward to begin with.

Under that definition, any insurance is a "ponzi scheme".


keTiiDCjGVo

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My fiance was explaining to me about this guy this morning. Seems even the strongest Republicans thinks he is to much. Seems he also trys to use the fact he is catholic to back up his ideas when infact he is condemned by the Bishops.

American polotics is so messed up. You have two partys that are so contrasting but 90% of the people want something in the middle.

They want better healthcare but don't beleive Obamacare will work.

They don't mind taxes going up as long as it helps the middle classes not just the poor.

They want a strong military to protect them but don't beleive they should be in Iraq.

None of the parties cover this.

All Romney and Ryan have to do is explain the magnitude of the national debt to the American public.

If anything, Americans understand debt very well.

10 trillion dollars in 2008. 16 trillion in 2012 - a 60% increase in less than 4 years. Surpassing 8 years of Bush who racked up 5 trillion in debt, as well as the 42 Presidents before Bush combined (another 5 trillion).

Obama can't spin his way out of this one. His usual "blame Bush for everything and anything" song and dance shtick is laughable at this point.

Wasn't the US in no debt for a period while Clinton was in charge?


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A lot of talk about Ryan because it's current news. Not many people making any comparison with Biden. Of course there is not much to compare. Biden is just a plain moron.


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I see nothing wrong with a Presidential candidate adopting the ideology of his vp-running-mate.

Especially when he gets all confused with the big words the GOP has thrown at him, when asking him to study the GOP plank.


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Wasn't the US in no debt for a period while Clinton was in charge?

No! You need to learn the difference between debt and deficit. Don't feel bad because there are too many that don't know the difference.

Edited by Neonred

If at first you don't succeed, then sky diving is not for you.

Someone stole my dictionary. Now I am at a loss for words.

If Apple made a car, would it have windows?

Ban shredded cheese. Make America Grate Again .

Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day.  Deport him and you never have to feed him again.

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Yet another hack piece trying to misdirect by focusing on one part of the whole. The Obama campaign can only try and obscure the overall picture and hope it's enough.

This "hack piece" is coming straight out of the Republican corner. Obama and his campaign ain't got nothing to do with it. Or are you suggesting they made Frum write this? Chicago style an all.

Time for the tin foil yet?

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All Romney and Ryan have to do is explain the magnitude of the national debt to the American public.

If anything, Americans understand debt very well.

10 trillion dollars in 2008. 16 trillion in 2012 - a 60% increase in less than 4 years. Surpassing 8 years of Bush who racked up 5 trillion in debt, as well as the 42 Presidents before Bush combined (another 5 trillion).

Obama can't spin his way out of this one. His usual "blame Bush for everything and anything" song and dance shtick is laughable at this point.

I think Americans also understand very well that collecting fewer taxes and increasing defense spending further will NOT fix the deficit and debt problem. They further understand that you cannot slash spending enough to make up for that lost revenue and still have the economy grow. Mitt knows this, too, by the way which is why he is already on record saying that any spending cuts must be delayed at least a year. And then there's the issue of "tax cuts for fat cats" (as Mitt has put it in the past when he was just a concerned citizen) in these times that Americans simply won't stand for. You can make an argument - which you yourself have done time and again - that the Bush / Obama tax cuts need to end. All of them. For everyone. That would be a good first step in the right direction to fiscal sanity.

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You can make an argument - which you yourself have done time and again - that the Bush / Obama tax cuts need to end. All of them. For everyone. That would be a good first step in the right direction to fiscal sanity.

I don't think Obama wants to end his tax cuts for everyone - only for the rich, which is purely symbolic and doesn't do much revenue-wise.

He's certainly not going to do it as part of his "legacy", lest he be remembered as the Democratic president who oversaw the biggest tax increase on the middle class since Ronald Reagan.

A tea party freak like Ryan is much more likely to do it.


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