Posted under Election 2012
As Wisconsinite there is certainly a measure of pride whenever someone from our fair state makes it big, as Paul Ryan has done by becoming the first politician from our state to make a major-party Presidential ticket. The only others to do so (Bob LaFollette in 1924 and Pat Lucey in 1980) did so only on non-major party tickets. I just wish Congress Ryan spent a lot more time in Wisconsin than in Washington D.C.
Ryan, since he graduated college from Miami of Ohio (and even before then), has spent much of his adult life in Washington D.C. He is the perfect candidate of Conservative INC. because he largely springs from its environment. His career has basically been mostly in D.C., in the policy aide milleu for Republican Congressmen like U.S. Senators like Bob Kasten and Sam Brownback and then as a flunkie for Jack Kemp’s Empower America group. The district he represents was the one I used to live in when Les Aspin represented us in Congress. He won first two victories fairly comfortably for a Republican largely because the demographics of the district changed from 1992, (Aspin’s last win before becoming Defense Secretary under Clinton) to Ryan’s first election in 1998. The growth of the suburbs around blue collar towns like Racine and Kenosha, the sprawl of Chicagoland, put more Republican voters in what a Democrat-leaning district. Redistricting after 2001 made it a safe GOP seat.
He voted like a Bush II Republican from 2001-2008 because that’s Conservative Inc. was doing, backing Bush II to the hilt. And then when that backing amounted to nothing but ashes, he and the entire “conservative movement” reinvented themselves once again into “revolutionaries” (notice the cycle involved)The “Ryan Budget” is basically nothing more than Conservative Inc. playbook. All the factions get what they want with little regard for fiscal reality. Even Ron Paul voted against it. That should tell you something.
This was a choice made out of political weakness, not strength. VP nominees are chosen based on poll numbers of the nominee at the time of the decision, electoral strategy, party considerations and the expectations of the nominee. Romney finds himself behind in a race he shouldn’t be and already Conservative Inc. is starting to snipe from the sidelines. “Here you go!” he says like giving a panting dog a bone to please it. And no doubt they will be pleased. They’ll think Ryan will be the “real” President if he’s elected.
So is Ryan the Randian “objectivist” or Jack Kemp clone or Bush II loyalist or what have you? I think what he is is whatever the times call him to be. He started out probably in the Kemp mode, then became loyal Bushian and was so “miserable” about it he kept running running for re-election and rediscovered his inner-Rand after Bush II left the scene, because that’s what voters and activists and Conservative INC. apparatus wanted. If politics is the ability to keep tabs on the pulse of the electorate and adjust accordingly to maintain one’s position, then Ryan is one good politician. Just don’t expect him to cast no votes on things like TARP or the Iraq War for that very reason. Most objectivists find out that you keep the inner Rand inside you when you make it big in D.C.
Will this much matter? Will Ryan help Romney carry Wisconsin? No. Only Romney can do that and only Romney can win the election. VP nominees can only hurt, rarely do they help which makes the focus they receive so unusual for impact they truly have.