Paul Ryan

GOP gets its funds cut for breaking the no dickhead rule

The donors aren’t happy with the shenanigans by the Republicans in Washington and are pulling the pin on their funding.

On a Monday last month, Rep. Greg Walden, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, met with some top GOP donors for lunch at Le Cirque on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan. The donors, a youngish collection of financial industry types and lawyers, had some questions for Walden, a mild-mannered lawmaker from eastern Oregon known for speaking his mind.

Why, they asked, did the GOP seem so in the thrall of its most extremist wing? The donors, banker types who occupy the upper reaches of Wall Street’s towers, couldn’t understand why the Republican Party—their party—seemed close to threatening the nation with a government shutdown, never mind a default if the debt ceiling isn’t raised later this month.

That excuse isn’t going to wash with the money men, who think the GOP are being dickheads.  Read more »

Bludging farming ratbags

Still sticking their bloody hands out 80 years after the depression. 

A Depression-era program intended to save American farmers from ruin has grown into a 21st-century crutch enabling affluent growers and financial institutions to thrive at taxpayer expense.

Federal crop insurance encourages farmers to gamble on risky plantings in a program that has been marred by fraud and that illustrates why government spending is so difficult to control.

And the cost is increasing. The U.S. Department of Agriculturelast year spent about $14 billion insuring farmers against the loss of crop or income, almost seven times more than in fiscal 2000, according to the Congressional Research ServiceRead more »

VP debate songified

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Strange Endorsement

The NRA has endorsed Mitt Romney for president:

I’m proud to announce today that your NRA Political Victory Fund is endorsing Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan for President and Vice President of the United States.

Mitt Romney came to our annual NRA Leadership Forum earlier this year. He looked you, me and every one of our fellow NRA members straight in the eye and pledged to uphold and defend our Second Amendment freedoms.

Mitt Romney will appoint pro-Second Amendment judges to the Supreme Court…defend our sovereign Right to Keep and Bear Arms from the U.N. gun ban treaty…and protect our fundamental right to use a firearm in self-defense!

On the other hand, Barack Obama has spent his entire career trying to take away your freedom to own, use, and carry a firearm.

These guys are deluded, Obama has sold more guns than any other bloke ever.

Better than “Gym Bunny”

The Secret Service gives their charges codenames, most get to choose the codenames themselves. Paul Ryan has chosen a cool one:

Paul Ryan has chosen “Bowhunter” as his Secret Service code name, in a nod to his passion for deer stalking.

The vice-presidential candidate’s choice echoes Mitt Romney’s own selection of “Javelin” and completes an election-year line up that includes Barack Obama’s “Renegade” and Joe Biden’s “Celtic”.

The Secret Service gives families codenames all beginning with the same letter, leaving Mr Ryan’s wife Janna with the gentler title of “Buttercup”, according to GQ.

As well as being a fitness fanatic, Mr Ryan is an avid hunter and stalks the woods of his native Wisconsin armed with a state-of-the-art bow and a quiver of arrows.

The 42-year-old congressman is the only passionate hunter on either ticket and has turned his hobby into an electoral asset.
In an interview for the cover story of this month’s Deer and Deer Hunter magazine he describes how his Winchester rifle was “shaking in my hands” as he killed his first deer at the age of 16.He also reveals how be bought his 10-year-old daughter a rifle for Christmas and brought all three of his three young children into the hunting stands with him.

Yep “Bowhunter” is much better than “Gym Bunny”

Not lying, just deceptive

Politicians seem to lie with the drop of a hat…but is it really lying…or can it be better described as just being deceptive.

Paul Ryan’s speech to the Republican convention last week seems to have been some kind of watershed moment, at least for the media. Many of us watching the speech felt it was full of deceptive statements. That wasn’t a new development. But this time reporters from the big, mainstream outlets said they agreed. That wasa new development. Perhaps the most vivid and important instance was a story in the New York Times, by Michael Cooper, which told readers that several Ryan statements were “incorrect, incomplete or incompatible with his own record in Congress.”

But has the media overreacted? The usual suspects in the right wing press think so. But so do Ross Douthat, the conservative columnist on the Times op-ed page, and Ben Smith, editor-in-chief of Buzzfeed. Neither are knee-jerk defenders of Romney, Ryan, and the Republicans. You should take them seriously. I certainly do.

And they raised some good points. The definition of “lie” is less specific than you might think, at least according to the dictionaries I consulted. It can mean any statement that is deceptive. But in politics we understand “lie” to mean a statement that is flatly, objectively untrue. Very few, if any, of Ryan’s statements would satisfy that narrow definition. Most of Ryan’s statements were deceptive because they left out critical context.

But the statements that deserve the most scrutiny in presidential campaigns aren’t necessarily the ones that misstate facts. They are the statements that, as Kevin Drum wrote at Mother Jonesover the weekend, represent “attempts to mislead.” They are the arguments that distort what a politician thinks, what a politician has done in the past, or what a politician would do in the future—in other words, statements that might cause us to vote one way or another based on false impressions of the choice we face.

We’ve gotten a few such statements from the Obama campaign, to be sure. But we’ve gotten many more from the Romney-Ryan campaign.

All politician lie..or at least are deceptive…if you hear one say that they are honest…they are lying.

No poll bounce from Ryan announcement

The expected poll bounce from the announcement of Paul Ryan as VP candidate to partner Mitt Romney hasn’t happened. USA Today had this cartoon:

Nate Silver meanwhile says that the polls are middling after the announcement and he doesn’t think they will improve:

I think the smart money is on Mr. Ryan’s polling remaining mediocre throughout this election cycle. He articulates his ideas well, but with a somewhat intellectual timbre that might appeal more to high-information voters than those who are less invested in politics and are more likely to be undecided in the race. And he has inherently something of a tough sell, since his policy preferences are reasonably far removed from those of the median voter. Mr. Ryan is also on the young side for a vice-presidential choice, and lacks foreign policy experience, so he may have more work to do than the average candidate in demonstrating his credentials.

Instead, this was a strategic choice by Mr. Romney: an effort to reorient the election toward battle of ideas rather than a personality contest. This was not a pick designed to win over focus groups.

It may be a smart strategy for Mr. Romney or a poor one. My reaction to it has become more tepid as I have read accounts of how the choice was made. The pick of Mr. Ryan seems to have been more a “gut-feel” decision than a data-driven one, and I think the evidence suggests that such a process is more likely to lead to mistakes under conditions of substantial uncertainty.

Paul Ryan selected as running mate for Romney

The Telegraph

Mitt Romney chosen Paul Ryan as his running mate in November’s presidential election:

Mitt Romney has taken a rare political gamble in an attempt to change the direction of the US presidential campaign, unveiling Paul Ryan, a radically conservative young congressman, as his running mate.

The Republican challenger for the White House announced Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the 42-year-old author of the party’s drastic plan to slash public spending, as his prospective vice president.

Appearing together at a rally in Norfolk, Virginia, the pair attacked Barack Obama’s “record of failure” and claimed that they were “America’s comeback team”.

Standing in front of USS Wisconsin, a Second World War battleship, Mr Romney hailed Mr Ryan as “an intellectual leader of the Republican Party”, adding: “He appeals to the better angels of our nature”.

“He understands the fiscal challenges facing America: our exploding deficits and crushing debt, and the fiscal catastrophe that awaits us if we don’t change course,” he told 2,000 cheering supporters.

Amid a sea of flags and placards on the dock, Mr Ryan warned the US was “running out of time” to fix its economy and said: “It is our duty to save the American dream for our children and theirs”.

Robert Wright thinks Paul Ryan is a “robot nerd”…and if you watch his acceptance speech it is hard not to disagree:

Yes, Ryan comes off as nerdier than Romney, but he doesn’t come off as much more human. They seem like two slightly different variants of the classic gladhanding candidate for high-school student-body president. Both would be on the debate team, but the Romney model would also be on the football team, whereas the Ryan model would compete in interscholastic math tournaments. Most kids at my high school didn’t especially like either type. They only voted for one of them because there was no alternative.

 

The Blood and Guts election

New York Magazine

The US presidential election this year is shaping up to be the blood and guts election:

But if the Obama 2012 strategy in this regard is all about the amplification of 2008, in terms of message it will represent a striking deviation. Though the Obamans certainly hit John McCain hard four years ago—running more negative ads than any campaign in history—what they intend to do to Romney is more savage. They will pummel him for being a vulture-vampire capitalist at Bain Capital. They will pound him for being a miserable failure as the governor of Massachusetts. They will mash him for being a water-carrier for Paul Ryan’s Social Darwinist fiscal program. They will maul him for being a combination of Jerry Falwell, Joe Arpaio, and John Galt on a range of issues that strike deep chords with the Obama coalition. “We’re gonna say, ‘Let’s be clear what he would do as president,’ ” Plouffe explains. “Potentially abortion will be criminalized. Women will be denied contraceptive services. He’s far right on immigration. He supports efforts to amend the Constitution to ban gay marriage.”

The Obama effort at disqualifying Romney will go beyond painting him as excessively conservative, however. It will aim to cast him as an avatar of revanchism. “He’s the fifties, he is retro, he is backward, and we are forward—that’s the basic construct,” says a top Obama strategist. “If you’re a woman, you’re Hispanic, you’re young, or you’ve gotten left out, you look at Romney and say, ‘This fucking guy is gonna take us back to the way it always was, and guess what? I’ve never been part of that.’ ”