Jon Stewart explores Rep. Paul Ryan’s proposal to cut the deficit
President Obama delivered his own promised deficit reduction plan yesterday. In a speech titled “The Country We Believe In,” he replaced his Corporate Appeaser in Chief hat with his Campaigner in Chief hat, returning to the visionary rhetoric that won him the support of progressives and independents in his first presidential run. The speech has won kudos from a large swath of the progressive community.
I’d like to think that this is the real Obama, the champion of liberal causes that inspired a diverse cross section of Americans to vote him into office. But four months after reneging on a campaign promise to let the Bush tax cuts for the rich expire; and a mere week after agreeing to even greater cuts in social programs for the remainder of fiscal 2011 than the Rethugs had initially demanded, even agreeing to ditch a key component of his health care plan that had virtually no fiscal consequences, I remain skeptical. If BO has proven anything these first two years in office, it’s that he is one lousy negotiator.
He says that this time he’s drawing a line in the sand. Problem is, he’s allowed the beach behind him to become so eroded there isn’t much room left to maneuver. Maybe with the burdens of re-election forever behind him, a second term will free him from the intense pressures of the PTB and he will embrace his Inner Hope and actually deliver. Time will tell.
At the very least, his speech did bring into high relief the right wing extremism that is now part and parcel of the establishment GOP, a position once relegated to the fringes of the party. Where radicals like the Birchers had failed to gain purchase in previous decades, their modern day equivalents, the Teabaggers, backed by the deep pockets of the Koch Brothers and other welathy corporatists, now have the old timers by their primary balls and are driving the agenda.
Nowhere is that agenda better exemplified than in the 2012 budget proposal prepared by Eddie Munster look alike Rep. Paul Ryan, scheduled for a vote on the House floor this coming Friday. Billed as a bold solution to out of control government spending, it was described by Rep. Barney Frank last night on The Ed Show as the equivalent of The Octomom lecturing the rest of the world on the virtues of family planning.
Among other non-starters, it proposes replacing Medicare with vouchers. Really? That’s the dumbest proposal since The Texas Village Idiot toured the country trying to sell the privatization of Social Security in the months before the Wall Street meltdown.
All you need to know about Ryan is contained in this Newsweek article by Jonathan Chait. Some excerpts:
The enduring heart of Rand’s totalistic philosophy was Marxism flipped upside down. Rand viewed the capitalists, not the workers, as the producers of all wealth, and the workers, not the capitalists, as useless parasites…
One conservative making that point was Ryan. His citation of Rand was not casual. He’s a Rand nut. In the days before his star turn as America’s Accountant, Ryan once appeared at a gathering to honor her philosophy, where he announced, “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.” He continues to view Rand as a lodestar, requiring his staffers to digest her creepy tracts.
You know, Teabagger and Libertarian icon Ayn Rand whose…
…funeral was attended by some of her prominent followers, including Alan Greenspan... [where a] six-foot floral arrangement in the shape of a dollar sign was placed near her casket.
You know, rugged individualist, anti-government, anti-social welfare activist Ayn Rand, who before she died applied for social security and Medicare under her married name of Ann O’Connor.
An old Taco Bell ad from the Sixties has stuck in my head for some reason. (Maybe it was the ringing bells that gonged in the background every time a taco appeared.) It’s tag line was: When you think of tacos, think of bells.
Similarly, whenever you think of Paul Ryan, think of Ayn Rand. Little Eddie Munster has grown up to frighten another whole generation.
Paul Ryan is Ayn Rand’s revenge.