The Other Paul Ryan


While the general media roll out of Paul Ryan as VP pick focuses on the GOP’s chosen narrative of Ryan as “smart” and “courageous” thinker about budgetary and Medicare matters, many more careful economists, like Paul Krugman, are offering the necessary corrective in even that area. Krugman reminds us that Ryan has never crunched the numbers, which don’t add up, and that Jacob Weisberg felt compelled to correct himself by writing,

Ryan is more an anarchist-libertarian than honest conservative.

This, though, is hardly a surprising assessment of a man who has said,

  • “I grew up reading Ayn Rand and it taught me quite a bit about who I am and what my value systems are, and what my beliefs are.”
  • “It’s inspired me so much that it’s required reading in my office for all my interns and my staff. We start with Atlas Shrugged. People tell me I need to start with The Fountainhead then go to Atlas Shrugged [laughter]. There’s a big debate about that. We go to Fountainhead, but then we move on, and we require Mises and Hayek as well.”
  • “But 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.”

However, Paul Ryan is not all budget and senior health care.

Though best known as an architect of conservative fiscal policy, Representative Paul D. Ryan has also been an ardent, unwavering foe of abortion rights, has tried to cut off federal money for family planning, has opposed same-sex marriageand has championed the rights of gun owners.


In an interview with the conservative Weekly Standard in 2010, Mr. Ryan, an observant Roman Catholic, played down the possibility of a truce on social issues, which had been suggested by Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana, a Republican.

“I’m as pro-life as a person gets,” Mr. Ryan said then. “You’re not going to have a truce. Judges are going to come up. Issues come up, they’re unavoidable, and I’m never going to not vote pro-life.”


He voted in 2006 for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. And, as he said recently, he supported an amendment to the Wisconsin Constitution, approved in 2006, that denies official recognition to same-sex marriage.


Appearing on C-Span shortly after he was first elected to Congress in 1998, Mr. Ryan said, “I do not think that more gun control laws are going to solve our crime problems.” He added, “Gun control is not crime control.”

Noting that he had lived on Capitol Hill, Mr. Ryan said: “I’ve been mugged before. I’ve heard the gunshots. This city has perhaps the most stringent gun control laws in any city in the country. Yet it has perhaps the greatest crime problems with firearms.”

Apparently, it did not occur to this GOP intellectual light that that people with guns in Washington D.C. might have purchased them across the river in Virginia. You’d have to study up on that.

People with environmental concerns have little reason to cotton to Ryan either (or, once again, that towering intellect).

“Unilateral economic restraint in the name of fighting global warming has been a tough sell in our communities, where much of the state is buried under snow…” Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate, argued in a 2009 op-ed.

The Wisconsin congressman’s lack of support for clean energy and climate change programs has led many environmentalists to react with outrage over Romney’s pick. (Romney himself has reversed stances on man-made global warming, declaring, “we don’t know what’s causing climate change.”)

As co-founder Bill McKibben tweeted, “Meet Paul Ryan–it snowed in my district, so let’s not do anything about climate change”.

Earning a measly 3% in the League of Conservation Voters 2011 National Environmental Scorecard, the advocacy group tweeted with a link to Open Secrets, “Paul Ryan has received $244,250 (and counting) from the oil and gas industry.”

The Sierra Club raised similar concerns, with Executive Director Michael Brune stating in a press release: “There is a reason big polluters have given Paul Ryan hundreds of thousands of dollars and why the Koch Brothers are one of his top donors – he’s tried to turn their wildest fantasies into law. From rejecting the reality of climate disruption to attacking good-paying clean energy jobs to trying to gut the EPA’s ability to protect our air, our water, and the health of our families, Ryan operates out of the dirty energy playbook.”

Brad Johnson dissects Ryan’s voting record on ThinkProgress, including his efforts “toprevent the Environmental Protection Agency from limiting greenhouse pollution, toeliminate White House climate advisers, to block the U.S. Department of Agriculture from preparing for climate disasters…”

In the same op-ed as his snow stance, Ryan argued, “e-mails from leading climatologists make clear efforts to use statistical tricks to distort their findings and intentionally mislead the public on the issue of climate change.”

Romney is completely unprincipled and Paul Ryan would be the Tea Party-Koch brothers vice-president. Still, he is such a cute, wholesome looking young man.

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3 thoughts on “The Other Paul Ryan

  1. Ayn Rand was a ROMANCE NOVELIST.

    I, like most teenage girls, was greatly enamored of her hyperbolic , materialistic, I-am-for-ME ! , melodramatic FICTION.

    As an English Lit.major in college, I was surprised that her (school-girl) novels were never part of the curriculum. As I got older, I realized that was because …. they were …. SILLY. Ridiculous, even.

    FICTION. From Romance Novelist. Danielle Steele, anyone ….? Yes, Ayn was far more “intellectual” about her story lines. But, still and all — she produced over-wrought Romantic Fiction.

    As Paul Ryan feels very comfortable naming Ayn Rand — romance novelist — as one his greatest POLITICAL MENTORS…. I guess we can see how the level of his thinking is so ridiculously LOW.

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