tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC August 15, 2012 1:00am-2:00am PDT
pot and it's also having the candidate himself by the end of this kind of rhetoric with a low-rent accusation. no question about it. we'll see what the response is from the white house and the obama campaign. michael eric dyson, thank you for your time tonight. that's "the ed show." the "rachel maddow show" starts right now. good evening, rachel. > good evening, thank you. and thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. you know the actor ryan gosling? a few years ago -- i can't believe it was a few years ago, but a couple years ago, a fan site for ryan gosling popped up online and became an instant hit. it changed the world online. the site had kind of a profane name that i will not repeat here, but needless to say, it specialized in photos of ryan gosling looking handsome, and those photos were paired with sweet and funny tag lines superimposed over the photo as if they were word bubbles. thinks he was saying. so like this one, where mr. gosling says, hey, girl, i was just thinking about how awesome you are. or this one, hey, girl, i heard
you like saving the environment and gas money, so i got a hybrid. this one, hey girl, i heard you like beards, so i grew one last night. if you have not seen the original ryan gosling version that started it all, you have probably seen some of the spin-offs. for example, there is the feminist version of the ryan gosling hey girl meme, at the feminist site, he still says hey girl, but it comes out like this. hey girl, the post feminist is deeply rooted in classism, but i still think we'd make cute babies. or hey girl, gender is a social construct, but every likes to cuddle. or hey girl, you built a room of your own and a room in my heart. the ryan gosling hey girl meme has even intersected with other internet memes over time. remember the texts from hillary thing earlier this year. hillary clinton text message
conversation. her texting from the bad ass military plane. they're imagineered onto a photo. here is one, hey girl, and she responds, it's madam secretary. there's also a ryan gosling hey girl meme for librarians. one for museums. one where he specifically talks only about how much he loves national public radio. but the hey girl thing has spread even beyond ryan gosling. wisconsin congressman paul ryan has been the subject of a hey girl fan site since roughly april on the fan site, he is shown saying funny things about the budget while looking cute. but now that paul ryan is not just a congressman from wisconsin, now that he is the presumptive nominee for vice president, now paul ryan's hey girl meme has gone a whole new direction. as in hey girl, you're pretty fine, but fertilized eggs should
have more rights than you. xo, paul ryan. or hey girl, got birth control? not for long. xo, paul ryan. or hey girl, i'm the last choice you'll ever be allowed to make, xo, paul ryan. or this one, hey girl, i'm from the 1970s, but my ideas about your body are from the 1950s. xoxo paul ryan. hey girl, you'll love my choices for your body. xoxo, paul ryan. the folks behind the new hey girl paul ryan website made themselves known at a campaign event for congressman ryan today in colorado. they made themselves known by way of an airplane trailing a banner behind it. they noticed it during the event and tweeted a photo of it. hard to read at this distance, but the banner towed behind the airplane says, hey girl, choose me, lose choice p. ryan. there's more to the paul ryan/ryan gosling mash up internet meme now. there's a twitter account
registered to paul ryan gosling. his recent tweets include hey girl, you look so cute when you're losing your reproductive rights. hey girl, i would have voted for the fair pay act, but lilly ledbetter, i hardly know her. at the event in colorado, the same one with the airplane towing the banner flying past, the folks at politico.com got word of a paul ryan themed prank at the event. you had to submit your name in order to get an admission ticket to the event. an admission ticket for the event was issued to somebody who said their name was fertilized egg. see, there it is on the ticket. name of attendee, fertilized egg. if you look at who ordered the ticket for fertilized egg, it said the person who ordered the ticket was fert z. eggers. what all this is about with paul ryan is this. the whole idea of fert z. eggers, a fertilized egg being
declared a person for political purposes really has special resonance in colorado where this event was today. the personhood for fertilized eggs idea is the ragged radical edge of the anti-abortion movement in this country this year. declaring a fertilized egg to be a person is way to not just crack down on abortion rights but to criminalize all abortion in every circumstance with no exceptions and to criminalize everything else that could effect an egg that has been fertilize. that doesn't just mean criminalizing all abortion. it goes beyond that and likely mean, criminalizing emergency contraception, criminalizing the most popular forms of birth control in the country, hormonal birth control. criminalizing the iud, which trust me, someone you know is using right now to keep themselves from getting pregnant, it would criminalize most in vitro fertilization. for example, three of mitt
romney's sons who have reportedly had some of their children using in vitro fertilization, like lots of people have, would be considered murders because using in vitro fertilization would make them murders of eggs that were utilized for the fertility and then did not become babies. even for people who are super, super anti-abortion, the personhood thing is seen as kind of nuts. personhood is remembered as the thing that was too radical even for the hugely anti-abortion conservative electorate in mississippi last year, right? mississippi voted personhood down by double digits when it was on the ballot there last fall. even the national right to life committee said what they were trying to do in mississippi was too radical. the national right to life committee called it a waste of time, and not only did personhood lose in mississippi in 2011. it also lost in 2010 when it was in the ballot in colorado.
that was after it lost in 2008 on the ballot in colorado. the reason it's such a hot issue today at the paul ryan event attended by fert z. eggers and friends, is because it looks like it's going to be on the ballot again. and personhood for fertilized eggs, banning contraception, banning all abortion, banning in vitro fertilization, it may be too radical for mississippi, for colorado, but the vice presidential nominee this year is the guy who sponsored personhood for the whole country. paul ryan sponsored a ban on all abortion and on in vitro fertilization. david gregory asked him if maybe the republican party was focusing too much on contraception, his answer to whether he was concerned about that was no.
these last couple years have seen a roll back of american women's reproductive rights. it's been a departure from just the constant fighting about abortion that is always happening at some level on our politics. over the last couple years, republicans have been fighting issues that everybody thought were settled even as we kept arguing about abortion. they have been rolling back rights over the last couple years that american women have been taking for granted at this point. it's not just regulating abortion, it's banning abortion at certain time periods and not allowing exceptions for rape victims and incest victims, something that nine states have done over the last two years. going after rape victims and incest victims. it's voting to get rid of the entire federal family planning assistance program. title 10. it's voting to defund planned parenthood, to block women from getting cancer screenings and birth control. it's fighting access to contraception. not just regulating abortion here and there. it's wholesale efforts to shut down. no exceptions for rape and
incest, rolling back access to contraception. they have been more active, aggressive, and controversial than at any time since roe v. wade was decided. and they have been successful. last year, republicans pass said a record number of abortion records in the united states. they enacted 131 new anti-abortion laws just since the 2010 elections. it's unprecedented in the history of legal abortion in this country. and it has had a material effect on women's lives. there was a stomach-churning article in the "texas tribune" this week about abortion access now being so restricted in texas that texas women are crossing the border into mexico, visiting unregulated mexican pharmacies and self-medicating with drugs they hope might induce abortion. taking the drugs without doctor's prescriptions, without instructions on how to use them, at risk to their lives and health.
for women living near the mexican border, back-alley abortions are back and the new back alley is across the border in mexico. even as republicans have been able to go farther in restricting these rights now than at any time in the last 40 years, there have been some things that are still just a bridge too far. like the personhood thing, for example. the personhood thing came nowhere near passing, not even in mississippi. it was too far. we talked on the show last night, republican candidates in colorado, even the ones who supported personhood last year, are sprinting away from it. they know personhood is a bridge too far. the other thing that has been a bridge too far is the idea of forced ultrasounds. forced ultra sounds is something that republicans did get passed last year in texas and this year in louisiana and arizona. and in virginia. but not until in virginia there was a national furor over it. and that gave virginia governor
bob mcdonnell's national profile a national profile that scuttled any chances he had of being picked as mitt romney's vice president. a washington post column back in february talking about how he fell off the short list for vice president because of the ultrasound fight he got himself into in virginia. assuming that the republican presidential candidate is mitt romney, it would be much harder for him now to tap governor bob mcdonnell as a running mate. they would have to devote time to defending the ultrasound bill. the ultrasound controversy was probably very unhelpful to the calculus that romney will make at the convention. bob mcdonnell in virginia made the mistake of becoming nationally famous for his stance on his state's ultrasound bill. that made him politically untouchable and toxic on the national stage. do you want to know who co-sponsored the national version of the bob mcdonnell forced ultrasound bill? congressman paul ryan of wisconsin.
republicans tried this forced ultrasound thing in a lot of states. the only reason it didn't end up going through in pennsylvania, for example, was because governor tom corbett of pennsylvania got caught on tape explaining in that way he has that there isn't an avert your eyes provision in that state's version of the bill. >> making them watch, and speaking to that, does that go too far in your mind? >> i don't know how you can make anybody watch, okay, because you just have to close your eyes. >> you just have to close your eyes. governor tom corbett explaining that is part of the reason that pennsylvania, i think, did not get the forced ultrasound bill. paul ryan's bill for a national forced ultrasound law, it has the exact same avert your eyes clause. it has the ability to turn eyes away. that's who the republicans picked for their vice
presidential nominee. i think they did it because they thought people would not notice these things about his record. it was not what he was known for before. it is what he is getting known for now. very quickly. karen finney, former communications director for the dnc, joins us next. [ male announcer ] if you stash tissues like a squirrel stashes nuts, you may be muddling through allergies. try zyrtec® liquid gels. nothing starts working faster than zyrtec® at relieving your allergy symptoms for 24 hours. zyrtec®. love the air.
ryan as his vice presidential running mate, he was probably hoping and thinking that everybody would only think of paul ryan as being famous for that one thing he's really famous for, for being the republicans' young budget want guy. it's day four of paul ryan's vice presidential run, and that no longer appears to be the only thing he's famous for. starting off with a 15-point deficit among women voters, the romney campaign is now coming to grips with the fact they're about to nominate for vice president the man who brought forth the national version of virginia's forced ultrasound bill and the national version of the personhood bill that would ban most popular forms of birth control in this country and that couldn't even pass in mississippi. joining us now is karen finney, msnbc political analyst and columnist for "the hill." she's a former communications director for the democratic party. i'm resisting the urge to say hey girl. >> go on, just do it. you know you want to. >> it sounds like i'm reading a script, so i'm not going to. let me ask you if you think these quick out of the blocks efforts to make paul ryan famous for this are going to stick or
if you think this just sort of reflects a certain spunkiness on the part of pro choice advocates. >> they have understood for a long time, certainly when it came to governor romney, people think he's more moderate than he is. i think they saw that coming. and then with paul ryan, we know that similarly, people think he's more moderate on the social issues like a lot of frankly younger republicans actually are, who are more moderate on social issues, but who are, you know, consider themselves more conservative on the fiscal issues. one of the things the republican party likes about paul ryan as you were talking about, he de-emphasizes, that's how they like to talk about it, the social issues. there was an understanding early on, you have to get out of the box quickly in the period where we know a majority of americans don't even know who this person is, when we're defining him, we cannot reach election day without people understanding how severe his opinions on these issues and his positions frankly
on the issues really are. >> there has been a dry run for this already in the campaign, in mitt romney has also de-emphasized issues. the pseudo social issue he was willing to talk about a lot was being really anti-immigration. beyond that, he wasn't willing to talk much about gay rights, abortion rights, some of the other issues. the democrats have tried very hard to fill in that blank in mitt romney's record. the obama campaign, i think, has run a surprising number of ads overtly about his record on choice. was that successful and is that the same template they follow on ryan? >> it's absolutely successful and it will be the same template they follow for ryan. here is the miscalculation that the republicans have made on women. women see the issues, not just equal rights and talking to us like we're not equal human beings, which is totally offensive in the first place, i don't know and i have been rapes, come on. but at the same time, there are economic issues. every woman where know who is on birth control knows how much it
is and it's money that is not going to anything else. mothers will say i can get my car fixed or my kid's teeth fixed, but i need the car to go to work to pay for the dentist. when people are living that close to the edge, medicare where 56% of medicare recipients are women and talk about voucherizing the program, or talk about social security, any of the ryan budget that will cut all of the programs that frankly a lot of women rely on, women understand it as an economic issue, not just an equality issue. >> you are an authority on how democrats think and talk. put yourself in the mindset of a republican advising romney and ryan on this. would you tell them to run from ryan's record on these issues? with romney, he, for example, said he was absolutely in favor of personhood, this mississippi bill that has all of these implications. they have run from his record on this, i don't think very
successfully, but they have tried. will they do that on ryan and should they? >> he's an extreme conservative, governor romney. severe. yes, but i think what they'll do, they'll microtarget this, meaning which voters do we need to communicate that message to. remember when mitt romney was asked, for example, about sandra fluke, he said, i wouldn't use that language. he knows sometimes you have to cool it, and then other times, you have got to make sure that you're communicating to your base with those dog whistles. >> if they are successful in microtargeting it and not making it a national story when they choose to address the story, that would mean that the internet and social media have failed. i don't think that will happen. >> that can't happen. >> hey girl, karen finney, thank you very much for being here. there is something that is being widely reported about congressman ryan which is absolutely inaccurate. he's been characterized all wrong all the time. tonight, some information that will disprove the common wisdom on congressman ryan and allow
♪ freak out >> the classic disco song la freak was written about mean bouncers at new york's legendary studio 54. the song was famous for the refrain which started off having the f-word in it followed by off. it used to go ah, f off. since it could not be sung on the radio, it became freak out, you mean bouncers. tonight, the republican party is doing a spectacular cover of la freak with vice presidential candidate paul ryan playing the role of the mean bouncers at studio 54. sadly, there was no awesome bass line, but a lot of "ah, freak out" on the record. please stay tuned.
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had to face off against another member of congress, named sandy adams. john mica is pretty famous. he's chairman of the house transportation committee. he was facing off against sandy adams who was a tea party republican, thanks to the magic of redistricting, john mica and sandy adams had to run against each other because the two house seats have been combined into one house seat. within the last hour, we got a winner in the race. john mica declared the winner in that race, meaning sandy adams' short-lived tea party congressional career is now over. in the big senate race in florida tonight, republican congressman connie mack has just been declared the winner. that means that connie mack will be taking on sitting democratic senator bill nelson in the general election in november. today is election day in florida. has been very exciting. these races and more.
but look at how all the politics news played on the front pages of florida newspapers today. look. these were the front pages. romney campaigns in florida. how would ryan medicare plan affect florida? with full tickets on the trail, two sides spar over medicare. in florida, medicare is unavoidable topic. ryan will address medicare in florida. medicare shadows romney in florida. there are state-wide elections across the state of florida today, but the headlines there are dominated by something else entirely. and therein lies the big problem with what mitt romney for president, the mitt romney for president campaign has just done with their vice presidential selection. by picking paul ryan for vp, the romney campaign obviously wanted to change the conversation. boy, did they. rather than the conversation in florida today being about, i wonder who republicans will pick tonight to run against bill nelson, or i wonder if a ten-term congressman will get voted out of office tonight, the
conversation in florida is instead, i wonder if mitt romney and paul ryan are seriously going to kill medicare if they're elected in november. medicare and paul ryan's plans for it, being the discussion in florida now, that is a problem for your campaign. you now somehow have to convince the country, you have to somehow convince senior citizens in florida that you don't really want to kill medicare even though you just put the kill medicare guy on the ticket. understandably, this has tied the romney campaign into knots for if first few days of having paul ryan to answer for. dating back to last year, mitt romney has gone back and forth and forth and back about whether he was for the paul ryan kill medicare budget or whether he was against it. so much has happened since then that i think his incoherence on the issue was lost to history for a while, but now that mr. romney has picked paul ryan as his running mate, that
incoherence is not just history anymore. it's policy for now. and it is maybe their biggest problem with putting mr. ryan on the ticket. mr. romney, his campaign, and his surrogates cannot seem to decide if mr. romney is for paul ryan's kill medicare plan or if they're against it. a spokesperson for mr. romney told us mr. romney is on the same page as paul ryan in terms of reducing the budget, but the spokesperson told us that mr. romney will be proposing his own changes regarding medicare. >> with regards to medicare, i would lay out the plan that, well, actually i did a couple months ago that said, again, for higher income recipients, lower benefit. a premium support program which allows people to buy either current standard medicare or a private plan, and this is the proposal which congressman paul ryan has adopted. it's a proposal which i believe is absolutely right on. >> you said during a debate earlier this year paul ryan's latest medicare proposal is absolutely right on. i'm curious, is there anything about it that you disagree with? >> the items we agree on, i think outweight any differences there may be.
>> are there specific policies in your budget that you disagree? >> there may be. we'll take a look at the differences. >> first of all, he did embrace the ryan budget. he embraced it. >> i have my budget plan, as you know y have put out. that's the budget plan we're going to run on. >> my plan for medicare is very similar to his plan for medicare. >> isn't the ryan plan the romney plan -- >> isn't it. >> hang on. >> i applaud it. >> it sounds awfully like the paul ryan medicare plan. >> but it's very different. >> different. honestly, you would think this would be the one thing they would have prepped for when deciding to pick paul ryan to be vp, but they're totally lost on this. it's a great plan, i'm going to be running on my own plan. my plan is very similar to paul ryan's plan. i'm sure there are lots of differences between my plan and paul ryan's plan. paul ryan is absolutely right
on. our budgets are very different. the romney campaign is try to deflect interest by saying ask obama. he's the one who wants to care medicare. when they are asked how romney's plan differs from ryan's plan, they don't have an answer or every answer or what answer to you want to hear right now? they're going to have to sort out whether they're for or against paul ryan on the presidential ballot, but it's sorted out by republicans. down ballot, there's no such ambiguity about the paul ryan plan. they're all featuring articles about republicans freaking out about what paul ryan's addition to the ballot means to every other republican. in more than three dozen interviews with strategists and operatives, old hands and rising next conservatives alike, the most common reactions to ryan ranged from gnawing apprehension to hair-on-fire anger that
romney has practically ceded the election. >> this is the day the music died, one republican operative said after the roll out. the operative said every house candidate is trying to race to get ahead of the issue. another operative tells politico, a week ago, we were talking about jobs. this week, we're talking about entitlement reform. everybody loves ryan, everybody supported the ryan plan, but nobody thinks paul ryan should be the tip of the spear. perhaps mitt romney is going to figure out a way to put this fire out within his own campaign, for his own campaign. whether they like it or not, every other republican in the country is now running with paul ryan as his or her running mate. here is how one strategist put it to the hill, said, quote, there are a lot of races that are close to the line that we're not going to win now. it could put the senate out of reach. in the house, it puts a bunch of races in play that would have
some primary election results tonight in connecticut. pro wrestling magnate linda mcmahon has defeated former congressman chis shays. she'll face chris murphy in november. and in wisconsin, there's only 3% reporting, but former governor tommy thompson with 3% reporting, is trailing one of his anti-establishment opponents for the right to face tammy baldwin for the seat in november. obviously, 3%, still very early tonight. we'll be keeping an eye on that. the general election is 84 days away, and one of the most interesting questions in all of politics is how the paul ryan pick is going to affect not just romney's chances against barack obama in november, but how the paul ryan pick will affect the
down ticket races, too. joining us now is steve schmidt. senior strategist for the mccain/palin ticket in '08. thank you for being here. nice to see you. >> nice to see you, rachel. >> there's all this hand wringing by anonymous republicans about how they're worried that paul ryan's medicare baggage and other things that are known about him are going to hurt down ticket races. is that just whining or is there substance there? >> if you're in charge of running house republican campaigns, you're worried about this issue because if you look at the special elections that have taken place over the last couple years, you have had any one of a number of different republicans lose after being beaten about the head on the medicare issue. and one of the lessons of it is that when you're attacked on medicare, a lot of these republicans didn't go out and explain the position. didn't talk honestly about the solvency issues around medicare. they got into the fetal
position. when you see mitt romney today equivocating on it's not my plan, it's his plan. my plan is going to be the one we're going to run on, as opposed to defining as a value proposition why it's necessary to reform medicare, a lot of republicans are nervous about the romney campaign's ability to communicate this. if you look at, for example, bain capital, mitt romney had 18 years to prepare for the bain questions and was fundamentally unready. with the pick of paul ryan, it was very predictable that the line of attack was going to be what it is from democrats. and they have been pretty inarticulate on it over the first 48 hours. they're going to have a great opportunity at the national conventions in two speeches with audiences that will approach 40 million people to communicate on these issues directly, but you know, if you're running house republican campaigns or senate races, you know, medicare is a
scary issue historically for republicans. >> if the romney campaign makes the calculation that they essentially don't want to be as brave as you are suggesting, that they don't want to make the case for what paul ryan has suggested doing on medicare and what mr. romney has sometimes said he's in favor of and sometimes equivocates on. if they decided they don't want to do that, they can't defend it, is there any way for the romney/ryan campaign to shed itself of the ryan plan? will they ever be able to distance themselves from what paul ryan so famously proposed if they decide that's what they want to do? >> no, of course not. they're going to have to go out and they're going to have to explain some of the serious issues facing the country. particularly with entitlement issues, the insolvency of them, but it's all part of a package. mitt romney as he hits the convention is going to have to explain why he's running for president, what he wants to accomplish as president, what his mission is, really who mitt romney is.
and they're going to have to talk honestly about how do we grow the economy. how do we fix the entitlement programs. how do we get the nation's debt under control? and so these are big challenges, big issues, and i think with the pick of paul ryan, they have absolutely no choice but to have an adult conversation with the american people on this. and of course, the american people are going to decide because i think there's two very different visions out there, but the romney campaign is going to have to go out and articulate a serious vision. they're not going to be able to fudge around on it like you showed on your video earlier. >> i was thinking about you today and the way that you have talked about strategic decisions being made inside the mccain/palin campaign when we learned that dan senor is the guy inside the romney campaign who has really been assigned to paul ryan. they have given him a guy and dan senor is supposed to be his top staffer. paul ryan, i think frankly, although i disagree with him strongly about medicare, i think
he's pretty good at articulating why it is he wants to do the thing he wants to do. it's an unpopular decision, but he's good at making the case for it. mr. romney has not been good about talking about medicare and not good about talking about paul ryan and medicare. is there a chance they'll free up paul ryan or did the palin experience scare republicans so much about what it means to go rogue that you can't let this guy out on his own anymore? >> i don't think there's any comparison between sarah palin and paul ryan, and i have seen people try to make it over the last day or two, but you know, it's just totally off. >> i don't mean between them personally, but in terms of the staffing decisions about them. are people scared of letting the vp nominee out on their own now? >> what's unusual about the ryan selection is that it's occurred two weeks, a full two weeks, more than two weeks actually, before he's going to be speaking
at the republican convention, two weeks from tomorrow, wednesday night, in front of an audience of tens of millions of people. you know, so he's out there, and the race is on to define it. so it's very important for paul ryan to be able to go out there, for the campaign to be able to explain these positions. you know, and to be in an offensive posture, not a defensive posture on them. >> steve schmidt, former mccain/palin senior strategist, msnbc contributor, and a guy who is nice to have my book sitting behind him when he talks on television. >> a good book. >> thanks, i appreciate it. paul ryan is a lot of things, but he is not the thing he is most often described as in short hand by the national media. that story is coming up. [ sneezes ] [ male announcer ] if you have yet to master the quiet sneeze... ♪ [ sneezes ] [ male announcer ] you may be an allergy muddler. try zyrtec®. it gives you powerful allergy relief. and zyrtec® is different than claritin®
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the lamestream media is not going to have sarah palin to kick around anymore. despite turning up unexpectedly in republican primary races around the country this year, endorsing candidate here and there and thereby sort of keeping her hand in national republican politics, we now know that sarah palin has not been giving a role of any kind at the republican national convention this year.
>> you know, they say the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull, lipstick. >> she was the vice presidential nominee at the last convention. she was the star, but this year, they did not give her anything. she has been kicked to the same curb as the last republican who was elected vice president, dick cheney, and the last republican president. he served two terms and not that long ago. but george w. bush, as well as dick cheney, they will be hidden away from view when the republicans have their convention this year. now, the republicans did spare a thought for old john mccain who got the party's presidential nomination last time around. they're at least letting him in this year. but he doesn't have a significant thing to do. he's not keynoting. we found out today that will be chris christie. he's not introducing this year's nominee. that will be marco rubio. no, the republican's last presidential nominee doesn't actually have a specific thing to do at the republican convention this year. they just announced he would be there, speaking in some
capacity. they announced him at the same time they announced nikki haley would be there and susanna martinez. oh, yeah, and john mccain too. if you didn't have information that the last person that the republicans put up to run against barack obama was a guy named john mccain, would you be able to discern any sign of that in the universe right now? it's like it never happened. after mccain and palin lost the last presidential election, john mccain just sort of dissolved back into the senate. after the election, sarah palin quit her job as governor of alaska. she said she was going to work full-time on national republican politics, and she did that mama grizzly thing and she does make endorsements sometimes, but she did not run again. nobody thought she'd have a thought if she did run again, and mostly she and her family are just doing reality shows now. she had a reality show, her daughter had a reality show, plus the dancing thing, now her husband has a new reality show as well. no one in current republican politics calls themselves a sarah palin republican. nobody calls themselves a john mccain republican. what is the republican party after bush and cheney? who is the new face of the republican party? what does that party stand for?
if romney and ryan lose this year, i'm not saying they're going to, but if they do lose, are these going to have anymore of a chance than mccain and palin did of defining the new republican party? of%ing the face of what it means to be a republican after bush and cheney? i think some of the excitement on the right about paul ryan is not that he necessarily is going to help mitt romney win in november. we talked just a moment ago with steve schmidt about republicans saying having mr. ryan on the ticket may make it more likely they will lose in november. but i think the excitement about mr. ryan, nonetheless, is among party activists and hard-core partisan folks and conservative movement folk who is look at this guy, paul ryan and say, yeah, he may not help us win, but that is the face on the future of the party. he is who we want to define what it means to be a republican, post-bush, post-cheney. we didn't actually want that in the end from mccain or palin. and if mitt romney doesn't win in this election, i don't think any republican will be looking to mitt romney for that definition of their future party either. but win, lose, or draw, they like paul ryan as the guy who means republican in america from
here on out. if that is what's going on, with all the enthusiasm for paul ryan on the right, even as the rest of the country appears to be rather repulsed by him, going by the polls, if we are going to be talking about paul ryan as mr. republican from here on out, i would like to request that we please define our terms. paul ryan is most often described in the mainstream media as a fiscal conservative, right? romney picks fiscal conservative paul ryan as running mate. here's abc explaining the morning of the announcement who this paul ryan is. "ryan, 42, a seven-term congressman from janesville, wisconsin, is known as a fiscal conservative." slate.com, "a wonderful thing has happened for this country. paul ryan will be the republican nominee for vice president. ryan is a real fiscal conservative." this is just the shorthand for describing what paul ryan is. he's a fiscal conservative. my favorite definition of what it means to be a conservative, period, is from the mission statement from the "national
review" magazine, which william f. buckley wrote in 1955. he said the national review would stand athwart history yelling, stop! well, if being conservative means you're standing athwart history yelling stop, stop with the progress, keep things as they are, conserve what exists and fight efforts to change things. if that's what a conservative is, what's a fiscal conservative? the way we use fiscal conservative, it's supposed to be not somebody opposed to progress whole scale, but somebody opposed to profligacy. that's the label that everybody is affixing to paul ryan. saying his fiscal conservatism is why he was chosen for vice president and why we should expect him to be around for a long while. if we really are going to be stuck with paul ryan as the face of republicanism for a long time, and if the term "fiscal conservative" is supposed to mean anything, we should get clear there may be a lot of great stuff to say about this
guy, but fiscally conservative is not one of the things you really can say about him. during the bush/cheney area, mr. ryan as a member of congress voted for all of the things in the george w. bush era that cost a lot of money and that were not paid for at all. two massive tax breaks, two wars, the medicare part "d" expansion, which cost hundreds of billions of dollars, the wall street bailout. none of those things were paid for. every penny of their costs were added to the national charge card, asking future generations to pick up the tab. a fiscal conservative would not have made those votes disturb the bush/cheney area, but mr. ryan did. in the obama area, mr. ryan is now pushing a button that keeps the bush tax cuts, again, whether or not you like the bush tax cuts, they are not a fiscally conservative thing. they were not paid for, they were just larded on to the deficit. he keeps those budget-busting bush tax cuts whole, and then he adds on to them, more than $4 trillion more in tax cuts that hugely, disproportionately, go to the richest people in this country.
hundreds of thousands of dollars going to every millionaire in the country. that's expensive. how does he pay for it? he does not say. he says, that's not his call to make. you may agree with that or you may disagree with that. but the point is, it should not be called fiscally conservative. it is something else. in fact, it is something else very specific. that congressman paul ryan, until recently, was very, very happy to talk about. >> the reason i got involved in public service, by and large, if i had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be ayn rand. it's so important that we go back to our roots to look at ayn rand's vision, her writings to see what our girding, undergrounding principles are. ayn rand, more than anyone else, did a fantastic job of explaining the morality of capitalism, the morality of individualism. and this, to me, is what matters most. >> that's what matters most. the reason i got involved in public service, ayn rand. whether you are delighted or terrified by the prospect that
paul ryan is the new face of the republican party, it is important to get straight that he is not a fiscal conservative. if he was, he wouldn't be proposing $4 trillion to be given to people who are already rich without specifying any means of paying for it in the budget. what paul ryan is is not a fiscal conservative. what paul ryan is is a follower of this person, ayn rand. ayn rand is a novelist who most famously wrote the book "atlas shrugged." over the course of his political career, mr. ryan has cited that book and ayn rand as the defining influences on his thinking. he told "the weekly standard" several years ago, i give out "atlas shrugged" as christmas presents and make all my interns read it. >> it doesn't surprise me that the sales of "atlas shrugged" has surged lately with the obama administration coming in. and i think addle of people would think we're living in an ayn rand novel. >> paul ryan has since said that it is an urban legend about him that he was ever a follower of
ayn rand. dude, it's not an urban legend if that's you on tape saying it for years, repeatedly and with feeling. in ayn rand's novel, she leads the wealthiest people as heroes, heroes that must be protected, toward them becoming more rich. the rich are heroes, and everybody else is a taker! and the more the rich have, the better. the better for everyone. that is not fiscal conservatism either. it is something else. when the center on budget and policy priorities, a respected nonpartisan budget think tank looked at paul ryan's plan for the country back in march, this is what they concluded. they said "the new ryan budget is a remarkable document, one that for most of the past half century would have been outside the bounds of mainstream discussion due to its extreme nature. insceps, this budget is robin hood on reverse, on steroids. it would likely produce the largest redistribution of income from the bottom to the top in
modern u.s. history and likely increase poverty and inequality more than any other budget in recent times and possibly in the nation's history." mitt romney has been vague on the specifics of what he would do for the country, policy wise. paul ryan has not been vague. he has been really specific. and despite the hype, what he would do doesn't have much to do with the deficit. it's this ayn rand stuff from "atlas shrugged" and from the fountainhead about how important it is to have very, very, very rich people. how important it is to take care of the rich. this is a real morose philosophy. it is a fringe one, but it is a real philosophy, and it has nothing at all to do with fiscal conservatism. it is something else. >> i think a lot of people would observe that we are right now living in an ayn rand novel,, metaforeically speaking. >> paul ryan, since he has been chosen as vice president, has been shorthanded throughout the media as a fiscal conservative. if you are going to call him
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