In choosing Paul Ryan as his running mate, Mitt Romney has made an even more extreme choice than John McCain made in choosing Sarah Palin in 2008. You can tell I'm serious because I didn't say Mittens, Spunky and John-Boy, and haven't picked a nickname for Paul yet.
The Ryan choice completes Mitt's morph from moderate Republican businessman with aspirations of ultimate power to the signing pen for Grover Norquist. If you don't know what that means, you need to know.
Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform and one of Washington’s most influential anti-tax conservatives, told National Public Radio in 2001, “I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.”
Grover Norquist and his organization are the folks who make Republican candidates at all levels sign a pledge to never raise taxes. This ultimately led to the teabag contingent coming close last summer to denying the US government the ability to pay its bills, in direct violation of the US Constitution. If Ryan hadn't been born, Grover would have invented him.
Because there are so few undecided voters this year, Mitt needs to shore up the conservative fringe of the Republican base. Ryan is the choice to do that. In spades.
In the spring of 2009, I heard Paul Ryan speak on his proposed changes to health care at Cato. I thought he was joking. But no, he wants to completely destroy Medicare, Medicaid and every other social program. Don't believe me? His budget, in full, is after the jump.
Here's the Cliff Notes version:
It substantially restructures Medicare; cuts Medicaid, food stamps, and transportation infrastructure; and it reduces the top tax rate from 35% to 25%. Regarding Medicare, the 2011 version of the Ryan budget would transform it from a government-run program to one where future seniors receive a voucher or premium support to purchase health insurance from private insurers. The Congressional Budget Office said the plan would force most seniors to pay more for their health care than under the current Medicare system. [...]
Ryan and his allies say a bold plan - reforming entitlements like Medicare and Medicaid - and slashing discretionary spending is needed to reduce the deficit and debt. But critics argue that the pain comes primarily from the poor and middle class. An analysis from the liberal-leaning Center on Budget Policies and Priorities says that 62% of the spending cuts in the Ryan budget would come from low-income programs, while 37% of its tax benefits would go to those making more than $1 million per year.
If you want to read the full CBO analysis, click here. For a synopsis, click here. If you are confused as to what percentage of the Federal budget is currently spent on what, see the true breakouts here.
This is going to be THE issue of the election. That is, the question of whether the US government exists to protect our borders, enact legislation, print money, oversee the courts, and work for the interests of the citizenry, or whether government ceases to exist at all. And make no mistake, the ultimate goal of Ryan and Norquist is to destroy government so that the United States is a corporate fiefdom. Mitt's out of the mix on this one, so long as they give him the title, he doesn't actually care what else goes on around him.
So get up, get informed, and get active. This is the seminal election: the one where we hold the line against the darkness or end up a third world nation. No snark - it's that extreme.