Wednesday, August 24, 2011

2012 (non)Contender: Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan is not running for President, and I’m not happy about it. Not at all. Ryan is the kind of guy we need in the White House right now to set the agenda this country will follow for the next 20-50 years. But he’s not running. Still, T-Rav has requested that I profile him, so here goes.

1. Economics: Ryan is a fiscal conservative who generates a lot of respect among conservatives. He got his start as a speechwriter for Jack Kemp’s 1996 presidential bid and became an economic analyst for Empower America, a group set up by solid conservatives Kemp, Bill Bennett, Jeane Kirkpatrick and Vin Weber. He got elected to the House in 1998 and currently serves as the chairman of the House Budget Committee.

● He favors privatizing Social Security to let people invest their own retirement.

● He proposes a two-tiered flat tax, with a 10% tax on income up to $100,000 and 25% thereafter, with no deductions.

● He proposes eliminating the capital gains tax, abolishing corporate income taxes and replacing them with an 8.5% consumption tax, abolishing the alternative minimum tax and eliminating the estate tax.

● He proposes freezing spending now, not in the future. In April 2009, Ryan proposed a budget that would have (1) eliminated the Stimulus Bill, (2) imposed a five-year freeze on discretionary spending, and (3) changed Medicare so that it pays for private insurance rather than providing government insurance. The government’s Medicare actuary endorsed Ryan’s plan as the best way to save Medicare from bankruptcy.

● He voted against the first $825 billion stimulus (Jan 2009) and the third $60 billion stimulus (Sept. 2009), but voted for the second $192 billion stimulus (July 2009).

● He favors a Balanced Budget Amendment and the line item veto.

● He voted to require partial debt repayment in bankruptcy.

● He voted for the Bush tax cuts, voted to eliminate the marriage penalty and the estate tax.

● He voted to terminate federal mortgage programs.

● He favors free trade.

● Ryan did vote for TARP in 2008 and the GM bailout, but he actually has good explanations for this. He voted for the TARP to stop what he (probably correctly) believes would have been a depression. Here is his explanation:

TARP. I’ll take one at a time. I believe we were on the cusp of a deflationary spiral which would have created a Depression. I think that’s probably pretty likely. If we would have allowed that to happen, I think we would have had a big government agenda sweeping through this country so fast that we wouldn’t have recovered from it. So in order to prevent a Depression and a complete evisceration of the free market system we have, I think it was necessary. It wasn’t a fun vote. You don’t get to choose the kind of votes you want. But I just think as far as the long term objectives that I have — which are restoring the principles of this country — I think it was necessary to prevent those principles from being really kind of wiped out for a generation.

And he voted for the GM bailout so Congress could put restrictions on the bailout, because Obama stated he would otherwise hand GM a blank check from the TARP:

Auto. Really clear. The president’s chief of staff made it extremely clear to me before the vote, which is either the auto companies get the money that was put in the Energy Department for them already — a bill that I voted against because I didn’t want to give them that money, which was only within the $25 billion, money that was already expended but not obligated — or the president was going to give them TARP, with no limit. That’s what they told me. That’s what the president’s chief of staff explained to me. I said, ‘Well, I don’t want them to get TARP. We want to keep TARP on a [inaudible]. We don’t want to expand it. So give them that Energy Department money that at least puts them out of TARP, and is limited.’ Well, where are we now? What I feared would happen did happen. The bill failed, and now they’ve got $87 billion from TARP, money we’re not going to get back. And now TARP, as a precedent established by the Bush administration, whereby the Obama administration now has turned this thing into its latest slush fund. And so I voted for that to prevent precisely what has happened, which I feared would happen.
2. Social Conservative: Ryan, a Catholic with three children, is a social conservative.
Abortion: Ryan has a 100% pro-life record according to the National Right to Life Committee:
● He voted to ban federal health coverage that includes abortion.
● He voted to ban federal funds from being used for abortion overseas.
● He voted to defund Planned Parenthood.
● He voted to criminalize taking a minor across state lines to get an abortion.
● He voted to criminalize injuring a fetus during a crime.
● He voted to ban partial-birth abortion.
● He voted to extend the 14th Amendment to fetuses.
● He voted to forbid human cloning.
● He voted against embryonic stem cell research.
Gays: He gets a 0% rating by gay groups:
● He voted to prohibit job discrimination based on sexual orientation, but opposes hate crimes laws.
● He voted for a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. . . or a donkey and a walrus.
● He voted to prohibit gay adoptions in Washington, D.C.
Cultural Issues: Ryan voted to allow school prayer, to protect the Pledge of Allegiance, and he supports an anti-flag desecration amendment.
3. Environmentalism: I haven’t found a specific statement on global warming, but Ryan gets near zero marks from environmental groups:
● He wants to bar the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases.
● He favors offshore drilling, drilling in ANWR, and building new refineries.
● He opposes tax incentives and subsidies for alternative energy and conservation, but has supported subsidies for the oil and gas industry -- though he did oppose Bush’s national energy policy.
● He opposes CAFE standards.
4. Guns: An avid bow hunter, Ryan gets an A rating from the NRA.

5. Immigration: Ryan gets a 0% rating from pro-illegal groups:
● He voted to build the fence between the US and Mexico to prevent all unlawful U.S. entries, including entries by terrorists, unlawful aliens, narcotics, and contraband.
● Ryan favors worker verification systems for employers and deportation of illegal immigrants.
● He has stated an opposition to anchor babies, but has not specifically addressed the issue.
● He opposes giving illegal aliens in-state tuition and welfare, but has voted against requiring hospitals to report illegal aliens who receive treatment.
6. Other: He has voted to curtail frivolous lawsuits, to limit attorneys fees in class action suits, to stop lawsuits against gun makers and food providers. He favors whistleblower protection for employees. He voted to require voters to show identification. He tried to stop earmarks in 2005. He wants all laws to cite their Constitutional authorization. He favors reforming the UN by restricting its funding. He has a mixed record on campaign finance reform (voting for some restrictions and not others). He voted against Congressional oversight of CIA interrogations. He voted to deploy SDI. And he voted to allow commercial airline pilots to carry guns.

One of the early endorsers of Marco Rubio, he also challenged the Bush administration on their lack of fiscal conservatism (though he did vote for the Medicare prescription drug benefit). In 2009, he wrote an interesting essay in Forbes entitled “Down With Big Business” in which he attacks lobbyists and crony capitalism.
I don't agree with all his views, but all told, Ryan is the kind of solid, serious, smart conservative we need. He understands conservatism and knows how to explain it. He's got unmatched fiscal conservatism in the mold of Jack Kemp. Though he is a social conservative, he doesn't seem obsessed by those issues. He's got Pawlenty's nice, but without the meek. He has a wonk's attention to detail and yet he is surprisingly gripping as a speaker. He has made mistakes, but he's not a guy who will rely on others to tell him what to believe or how to implement it, nor is he half a package pretending to be the full serving. Too bad he's not running.


Joel Farnham said...


I hope he reconsiders it. Perry is probably breathing a great sigh of relief.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, you will fulfill my requests and like it!

More seriously, this shows why Ryan ought to run, in my opinion. He's had a slightly mixed record in the past, but he's been solid on all the issues that matter. I don't know, maybe he thinks he can do more good in the House, which I would respect. But it disheartens me that he won't be in the race, especially because none of the other candidates are acting even half as serious about our entitlement crisis. Oh well, I can dream...

Tam said...

Boo hoo. President Ryan, we never knew ya.

Cheryl said...

A donkey and a walrus? Huh? I don't get it.

Unknown said...

Andrew: The announcement that he was considering a run was the first real excitement I had felt in the race. As much as I liked Pawlenty, he didn't generate any fire. Ryan would have. This is a big disappointment for me.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, I'm pretty sure Perry is pretty happy right about now as well. I think Ryan would have completely derailed him. As it is, the only other person I see that could stop him now is Palin, unless there's someone no one has even considered yet.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Commentarama is about customer service! LOL! Even if you are a Rams fan. ;-)

I agree about Ryan. As I say, he has made mistakes and there are things I disagree with, but (1) he learns fast from his mistakes, (2) you just can't doubt his principles, and (3) you know that he actually understands and believes the things he says -- he's not doing politics by focus groups.

I wish he would run, but apparently he won't. And who knows why. I could just be that he doesn't want to expose his family to the nastiness that the MSM will heap upon them? Running for President really has become a game that only the biggest jerks are willing to play sadly.

AndrewPrice said...

Tam, Yeah, it's sad.

AndrewPrice said...

Cheryl, Hmm. That must be a typo. ;-)

Actually, that's what happens when you spend a couple hours staring at dozens of pages of notes.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, Same here. He was the first potential candidate that really excited me. And it's very disappointed that he's not running. Oh well, life is full of disappointments.

T-Rav said...

It's a shame, Andrew. I thought by this point, I would be really excited by our field of candidates, but...not so much. I mean, they'd all be better than Obama, but I don't feel like they're addressing the most important stuff.

I will ignore your comment on the Rams.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Ignore away, there are many more NFL sleights where that came from! ;-)

Honestly, it's been like this in most primaries. The last primary where I thought we had decent choices was 1988. Since that time, it's been nothing but pretenders. We seem to always get a couple "I'm old, it's my turn" guys (Dole, McCain) and a bunch of flunkies. It's very frustrating.

Ed said...

Andrew, I think Ryan would have been great. I guess you can't hold it against him that he won't run, but I really wish he would have. Think we can draft Rubio?

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, I doubt it. He's made no move to enter the race this year, though he is clearly angling for the future. We have some excellent choices building for 2016, we just don't have an great choices for 2012.

rlaWTX said...

this just makes me want to cry...

But thanks for the profile, now I know more about why I like him. You get 5 stars for customer service!!!

rlaWTX said...

This leaves us with...
Cain, McCotter, Perry, Bachman, Romney, Huntsman, & Paul - right? Or am I missing someone who IS running?

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks rlaWTX! We do aim to please!

Yeah, this just reinforces why Ryan should have run. He would have been a great conservative President. Now we need to find someone else.

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, There's also Santorum and Gingrich. Then there are some minor guys like Romer, who I'm not even sure is campaigning.

On the sidelines, they are still trying to draft Christie and Jeb Bush and possibly Rubio.

rlaWTX said...

so that REALLY leaves us with:
Cain, McCotter, Perry, Bachman

Which REALLY REALLY means Perry & Cain...


< sigh >

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, I think it will come down to Perry v. Romney, with non-Perry people picking Romney by default (kind of like last time). Bachmann might be able to overtake Perry if he stumbles. But I can't see Cain being much of a player in this race.

and yeah... ** sigh **

I'll take a closer look at the top tier people again soon. Maybe there's something good about them that we missed?

// crosses fingers

Ed said...

Andrew, I've been reading a lot about Perry lately and I don't really like what I'm seeing. I'm thinking Bachmann may be the better choice.

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, I'm not thrilled with what I'm seeing either. There was an article in the Examiner that really took him to task for doing the bidding of donors. I guess we'll have to wait and see?

AndrewPrice said...

By the way, I don't know if anyone saw this, but Howard Dean has basically endorsed Huntsman. LOL!

Thanks Howard. That should kill the guy off.

rlaWTX said...

more on the discussion of the field...

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks rlaWTX, I'll check that out!

Here's the link: LINK

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, It's an interesting analysis, but my problem with it is that it's purely a surface analysis. It assumes that Romney and Perry are "fiscal, social and security conservatives" without ever defining the term and without asking if that's true. George Bush and John McCain would both qualify as "ideal" conservatives using the same test, though clearly there were issues with both when you dug into their actual views.

I'm not saying that either Romney or Perry will necessarily be bad, I'm just saying that I have concerns about them that Levin is just glossing over and assuming aren't a problem. And I would like to see the people who have the power to quiz these candidates get to the heart of those problems.

T-Rav said...

Yeah, I'm worried about it coming down to Romney vs. Perry. Of the major contenders in the field, I'm still rooting for Bachmann more than any of the others, though it's just as much process of elimination as it is personal enthusiasm. No way do I want Romney, I still don't fully trust Perry, it will be a cold day in Hell before I vote in the primary for Ron Paul, and...yeah. So that's that. If Bachmann gets out, unless I catch fire for Perry, I think I might stick my fingers in my ears, sing "la-la-la-I-can't-hear-you" and back McCotter all the way. That sounds reasonable.

By the way, and I don't think this is going to happen anyway, but if Ryan isn't at the top of the ticket, then under no circumstances should he be the VP nominee. If he ain't calling the shots at the WH, he's far too valuable where he is to leave.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I am not thrilled with anyone in the race and I'm not sure between Perry and Bachmann. I'll have to look a little deeper into both. I'm probably leaning toward Bachmann, but I think it's irrelevant -- I think Perry will win. I love McCotter, but he's polling pretty close to 0% so that's just a pipe dream.

On Ryan, I agree entirely. Being the VP would be a waste and a stupid move. For one thing, we need his brain where it can implement policy, not in a job where he travels the globe for public relations. Secondly, as VP, you get tarnished by the faults of the President. So why take a job that only has a downside? VPs almost never amount to anything. He either needs to (1) stay where he is, (2) become President, or (3) become a governor.

DUQ said...

It is depressing, but we need to look forward not backward. I will take anyone who can beat Obama -- except Huntsman. Hang in there team!

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, We will indeed look to the future. So as Mr. Roark used to say on Fantasy Island. . . "smiles everyone, smiles." ;-)

CrispyRice said...

Sound like he would've been great. Alas. Well, there's always 4 or 8 or even 12 years. Hopefully he's just feeling like he has other work to finish (or maybe he wants to raise his kids first) and it's not that there's a skeleton lurking somewhere.

AndrewPrice said...

Crispy, True. We could sure use him now, but maybe he has something more important to do. And maybe he just doesn't want to put his family through the media circus. It's hard to blame him if that's the case. It really is obscene what the MSM does to candidates these days.

rlaWTX said...

If they are still in the race, I intend to waste my primary vote on Cain or McCotter. Perry might have a harder row to hoe in TX than he expects, but I figure he'll still take the TX primary in a landslide (vs Yankee Romney - oh yeah!)...

Bachmann just annoys me. Not a good reason, I know. But it's what I've got.

And yes, VP is NOT a good place for Ryan...

In another discussion I've had lately: do you think that it's a given (assuming of course that the Primary pick is Perry or Romney) that the VP choice will be either female or minority?

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, Bachmann bothers me because I don't think she has any ideas on economics, nor do I think she cares. Plus, so far she hasn't shown any leadership ability. She's good at playing to the crowd and throwing bombs, but I don't see anything that makes me think she could be an effective leader.

I agree about Ryan... not a VP!

On the VP, I would think that the VP will be a minority or female if either Perry or Romney is selected. I don't think that's really necessary, but I think they will see it as major bonus points against Obama. I would look at Condi Rice as the most likely or maybe even the woman in South Carolina (Nicki Haley(?)), if the SCGOP doesn't tear her apart first.

The other possibility is Rubio, who would count as an Hispanic VP.

T-Rav said...

rla, I'm not a huge fan of wasting my primary vote--wait, scratch that, I just remembered I voted for Fred Thompson back in '08. So in fact, I am a fan of wasting my primary vote, which may be what I do this time around if it's certain Romney or Perry will be the eventual nominee. That'll probably be known by the time of the Missouri primary anyway, so it's not like there'll be anything riding on my vote. McCotter 2012!

On the VP, I couldn't care less at this point. I would like it if Rubio got the nod, but since he just entered the Senate, that would be a little fast. But oh well.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, All my votes have been wasted. The states I've lived in have usually voted so late that it doesn't matter. So I usually lodge a protest vote to show my displeasure. Last time, Thompson was already gone by the time we got to vote, and it was all between Romney and McCain, so I voted for Romney to stop McCain. For once, I'd like to vote for someone I like!

DUQ said...

Andrew, Are you going to do Rubio for us too?

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, I will. I'll do a couple of the non-contenders.

Notawonk said...

we better come up with a contender....soon.

AndrewPrice said...

Tell me about it. This is depressing. I wonder how we boost McCotter?

thundercatkp said...

Just think...How sweet 2016 will be. Balanced out once again by the few elite conservatives left. My choice as is right now...Obama.

Nothing left to gain if he gets re-elected...just 4 more yrs of playing golf and taking a well deserved break. ( better than an embarrassing undesissive dope speaking for me)

I don't think any of the elite conservative candidates will touch this campaign.

So. I say..."Let Obama have it...we don't want it anyway!!" ;-) ~~~clicking my go go boots...and a swanning my ponytail


AndrewPrice said...

thundercat, I think you're right that the elite Republicans aren't willing to run this time, but that's a mistake. They think it's impossible to beat a sitting President, but they are wrong. And what they're going to do is hand the presidency for 8 years to an inferior choice unfortunately.

thundercatkp said...


I think they all know more than the I originally gave them credit for. ( I did have a lightbulb moment earlier) I'm proud of the ones that said...not only no but hell no.

I don't think Obama will do anything if re-elected but ride it out...well I'm pretty sure he will want to replace Washington's picture on the dollar...not many people will have larger bills, ya know ;-)

For the first time I am excited about the NEXT presidential election...I still will not know who to vote for in the primary...only difference...they are all sooooo good :)

AndrewPrice said...

thundercat, He better his dirty paws of my dollar bills!

I think you're right, by the way. I think his only plan now is to continue to enjoy the perks of office. He is easily the laziest president we've ever had and the biggest abuser of the privileges of office.

I'm going to write about this Monday, but his wife has cost us taxpayers $10 million just for her vacations so far! That's outrageous.

thundercatkp said...

Andrew...I thought you traded your dollars for bullion and hid it in the Volcano lair? Next you'll be telling only got 1/2 bar...heehee

Lazy works for this case. Hope he at least found Clintons party line.

AndrewPrice said...

thundercat, I doubt he's even bothered to look. He doesn't strike me as a guy who knows how to have any fun!

Gold... what gold? I don't see any gold stacked in a secret volcano lair? Nope. nothing...

Tennessee Jed said...

we got a taste of how the Democrats would go after Ryan if he had run when he made his budget proposal. Yes it is true he is not exactly J.F.K. in the natural charisma department, but I've heard him speak enough and defend his positions to believe he could have been an effective campaigner. His only drawback, I suppose, is a lack of executive experience. Still, had he run, I would have supported him above all others currently in the race.

I think donkey and a walrus was a Beatles song.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I am the donkey goo goo g'joob. LOL! Actually, that's just what happens when I stare at the screen too long.

Yeah, they went after Ryan in their typical nasty fashion. You basically have to expect that these days and it's too bad. It's the most destructive way to play politics, but then the left has always been about destroying it's opponents.

I would definitely have supported Ryan over the current crop. Too bad.

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