Saturday, August 11, 2012
When Paul Ryan said today, "America is more than just a place, though. America is an idea. It’s the only country founded on an idea. Our rights come from nature and God, not from government," I thought, whoa, knock me down with a feather, fella. What president or presidential candidate going back to George Washington wouldn't sign on to that? I wouldn't call it a rationally defensible statement, although I happen to believe most of it myself.* But they are rights in the abstract until a sword is put - literally or figuratively - to the neck of the tyrant claiming divine rights for himself &/or the exclusive right to grant them & take them away at will. Rights are guaranteed by legal code, which require a government strong enough & representative enough to protect them, not by nature or God, or a king who says, "Just trust me." Our Constitution springs entirely from the minds of humans. There's no precedent for it in nature or The Bible.
* There are many other nations in existence right now founded on ideas. The ideas are mostly bad ones.
I'm of the opinion that vice presidential candidates are a wash. They have a job to do in the campaign & they do it. That job is usually to help hold the party base in place while the boss mines the center for votes needed to win. Even poorly vetted mistakes like Thomas Eagleton & Palin didn't effect the ultimate outcome. Someone on Mitt's team convinced him that his party base neither likes nor trusts him. This is a problem. Mitt can't waste his time campaigning in red states he's going to win anyway, just to smack down homosexuals & remind Southern Baptists he loves Jesus. He has to go to Virgina, Ohio, PA, Florida, Colorado, appear in televised debates, & sound like a sane human being to the several hundred thousand independent white middle class suburban women who will probably decide this election. Right now, Mitt reminds them of their first husbands. As for Ryan, he's a good spotlight guy, articulate, & a right wing screwball. But I looked up his election history: He hasn't had to run against a strong Democrat, he hasn't had a close election, & most intriguing, he's never faced off against another Irish-Catholic, much less one as wonky as him but with a pugnacious, battle-tested personality. Ever see Irish-Americans of opposing political views fight? Right wing Irish-Americans are often lunatics with fascistic sympathies & are outrageously anti-union. I mean shoot the fucking strikers kind of loony. You gotta push the right buttons to bring it out of them.
There is something particular about Paul Ryan, though: He comes to the ticket with his own agenda, one he has loudly advocated: The Paul Ryan Budget Plan. Mitt either avows this plan in whole or in part. If in part, Ryan must disavow it in part, & both the avowed & disaowed parts will be scrutinized by the right & left. We're getting a Romney/Ryan Plan, & it's the one Ryan has to sell to the faithful. He can try to do so with a wink.
Labels: THE election