Since Mitt Romney announced Paul Ryan as his presidential running mate there has been a barrage of commentary surrounding the seven-term Congressman from Wisconsin. Quite naturally there has been much talk of his influence by Russian-American novelist and atheist Ayn Rand whom he has credited as his inspiration for entering politics. Something which he now is adamantly distancing himself — actually flat-out denying. In an interview with the National Review in April of this year, responding to accusations of his admiration of Rand, Ryan stated, “You know you’ve arrived in politics when you have an urban legend about you, and this one is mine.”
The Paul Ryan-Ayn Rand connection is a relevant issue but that’s not what I wish to focus on. Instead, the overwhelming description by others, including President Barack Obama, of Ryan as “a nice guy”. Addressing a crowd of supporters at a fundraising event in Chicago President Obama stated, “I want to congratulate Congressman Ryan. I know him. I welcome him to the race. Congressman Ryan is a decent man. He is a family man.” Earlier this week in an interview on Democracy Now, author John Nichols describing Vice Presidential nominee Ryan said, “He’s a really nice guy. He’s very easy to get along with. If he were sitting on this show you might disagree but you’d have a real dialogue much more so than you could have with most conservative Republicans.”
It’s true Ryan is no Newt Gingrich or Donald Trump or even Mitt Romney. You won’t hear him raise his voice or take political jabs at his opponents. You won’t even see him get angry. On the surface he comes across as this demure, all-American, affable, guy next door. Which is why he is so dangerous because when one delves deeper you find the real Paul Ryan; an individual whose philosophy is infused with extreme and sinister beliefs. Beliefs of selfishness, unbridled capitalism (which he likes to refer to as “free enterprise) and Plutocracy. He claims he believes in small government and fiscal responsibility, however he voted for bailouts for the banking as well as auto industries. He also voted against curtailing the defense budget.
But when it comes to social programs which assist lower and middle-income families Ryan is vehemently opposed. He considers Medicare and Medicaid a form of collectivism, something which he also rejects. He wants to deconstruct Social Security. He voted against payroll tax cuts, a law allowing workers to contribute 4.2 percent of their pay to Social Security, down from the standard 6.2 percent. He is in favor of voter ID laws, which have been shown to be discriminatory against people of color. He is categorically opposed to abortion, under any circumstances including rape and incest. I could go on and on about the diabolically opposing policies of Paul Ryan to his purported “Catholic faith“. One of the tenets of Catholicism is the belief that it is your moral duty to give to those who are less fortunate than you. Ryan, by his own admission, does not embrace this belief.
There is nothing “nice” about passing legislature which strips people of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. There is nothing “nice” about forcing people to have to leave their families and travel 300 miles to work because the plant where they once worked has closed down. And there is nothing nice about being condescending towards concerned and elderly constituents when they question you about your policies which have an adverse effect on their livelihood.
Paul Ryan is definitely opposed to the concept of helping thy neighbor. He embraces individualism over collectivism. But he is more than willing to climb the social ladder on the backs of everyday working people then callously discard them once he’s made it to the top. That is not characteristic of a nice guy. The only difference between when Paul Ryan shits on you versus when Dick Cheney does is Ryan does it with a polite smile. It’s still, nonetheless, shit.