Romney’s middle-of-the-night announcement on Friday of Paul Ryan as his running mate was particularly irritating on a personal level, because I’d been on a late night flight to Seattle and didn’t get the news until 2AM here, which was, of course, 5AM in New York. Everyone has theories about the timing of that, but of course, the bigger story is that Romney clearly has decided the way to win is to pander as hard as possible to the far right. Paul Ryan is a conservative of the sort that doesn’t even exist in the real world, he’s so far to the right. Charles Pierce’s column on this is getting linked far and wide on this issue, and that’s because he has it exactly:
Paul Ryan is an authentically dangerous zealot. He does not want to reform entitlements. He wants to eliminate them. He wants to eliminate them because he doesn’t believe they are a legitimate function of government. He is a smiling, aw-shucks murderer of opportunity, a creator of dystopias in which he never will have to live. This now is an argument not over what kind of political commonwealth we will have, but rather whether or not we will have one at all, because Paul Ryan does not believe in the most primary institution of that commonwealth: our government. The first three words of the Preamble to the Constitution make a lie out of every speech he’s ever given. He looks at the country and sees its government as something alien that is holding down the individual entrepreneurial genius of 200 million people, and not as their creation, and the vehicle through which that genius can be channelled for the general welfare……
In any way that will come to matter to the people whose lives his policies will make harder and more miserable, Paul Ryan is still the high-school kid living off Social Security survivor benefits and reading Ayn Rand by flashlight under the sheets.
Everyone who was mildly nerdy or into politics at all knew this guy in high school or possibly even college. The white guy who refused to accept that he was doing so well generally because he was soaking in privilege, and couldn’t even begin to admit that, in a fair world, his utter lack of real merit would have him falling to the bottom of classes and out of the range of the better universities admissions processes. The guy who would invariably get angry crushes on the smart liberal chicks, and try to convert them by foisting Ayn Rand novels on them, which would only in turn make them the kind of women who, years later, are still so stunned by the crap that they can’t stop mocking it. By and large, those guys mellow out as they age. They sometimes become less intensely libertarian and start accepting that we really don’t need to eliminate the federal highway system for the sole purpose of appeasing the white man’s desire to believe he’s never had to be dependent on anyone else for anything. Or, they even start to put their thinking caps on and get liberal. Relationships with women because less fraught as the fantasy of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl who you convert to Rand fandom fades.
Paul ryan is what happens when that maturation process never happens. It’s disturbing how little the centrist Villagers licking his ass don’t see it, which just makes me wonder if they ever really aged past high school, either.