To the editor:
Depending upon where one stands on the political spectrum, Mitt Romney’s choice of Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate is either a bold and brilliant political move, a cynical curtsy to the most extreme right-wing elements of the GOP who have long doubted Romney’s conservative credentials, or a gift to the Democrats almost as generous as John McCain’s ill fated choice of Sarah Palin four years ago.
Now, there is no denying Romney’s choice of Ryan was bold; whether it turns out to be brilliant or not remains to be seen.
There is also little doubt the choice of Ryan was a bone thrown to his fellow Tea Party, government-hating, deficit hawks who dominate the base of the GOP and the right-wing blogosphere.
Whether the choice of Ryan turns out to be the gift to President Obama some of my fellow liberals think it will be also remains to be seen.
After all, unlike Palin, Ryan is intelligent, articulate, even if one does not agree with his politics, and, by all accounts, a genuinely likable guy.
The term “right-wing extremist” does not apply to Ryan, but the term “right-wing ideologue” most certainly does.
Anyone who doubts that assertion should consider this.
Ryan was a member of the bi-partisan Simpson/Bowles Deficit Reduction Commission.
That commission made recommendations that angered liberals and conservatives alike.
The commission’s recommendations angered liberals because they viewed them as draconian and harmful to middle- and working-class Americans, given the changes to Social Security and Medicare for which the commission’s final report advocated.
Those same recommendations angered conservatives, including Ryan, because they were not draconian or harsh enough.
Ryan voted against the commission’s recommendations.
Ryan is, indeed, a right-wing ideologue who is as determined to privatize Social Security and Medicare in a backdoor attempt to dismantle them as his right-wing ideological forebears were determined to prevent both programs from being enacted in the 1930s and 1960s, respectively.
Whether or not the selection of Ryan turns out to be a brilliant political stroke that benefits Mitt Romney, or whether or not it turns out to be a political gift to President Obama, remains to be seen.
But one thing is certain, the selection of Ryan is going to, finally, bring close scrutiny to the right-wing, supply side, “trickle down” economic ideology that has, by and large, dominated American life since Ronald Reagan and Milton Friedman imposed it on the nation in 1981 in their attempts to “starve the beast” and eliminate government from playing any role in the life and workings of the nation and its people.
Let’s hope that scrutiny wakes people up to just how much is at stake in November.