Radical Republican Paul Ryan seeks to extend appeal

Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan speaks during the third day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Wednesday Some are comparing Mr Ryan to the patron saint of American Conservatives, Ronald Reagan

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Paul Ryan's speech was a judicious mix of attacks on Obama's handling of the economy, praise for Mitt Romney, repeated promises to get the nation back to work and of course some family history, from introducing his children to praise for his widowed mum.

There were some very good lines.

"College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life.

"Everyone who feels stuck in the Obama economy is right to focus on the here and now. And I hope you understand this too, if you're feeling left out or passed by: you have not failed, your leaders have failed you."

It perhaps had the feel of a speech that had been discussed at too many meetings, had suffered too many edits at the hands of too many spin doctors. Above all it was not scary, it was not the harsh speech of a man appealing to the base, but of one attempting to reassure the nation that his plans are rational and sensible.

He didn't need to appeal to the base here. That job is already done, and put him in his current position. He's already been accorded the highest accolade possible by some commentators who've compared him to that patron saint of American Conservatives, Ronald Reagan.

They see him as the future of the party.

Young, religious, blue-collar

In one such article the Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is quoted as saying: "There's no doubt... win or lose, Paul Ryan's ideas will lead the party."

That excitement is overcoming common sense. Paul Ryan may have a very bright future. But it is far too early to say this, and far too early to predict the course of the ideological carnage that would follow defeat, or the more subtle struggle of ideas that would follow victory.

Start Quote

An intellectual style that is amateurish and parochial”

End Quote Leon Wieseltier on Paul Ryan

But you get the point that some people are very excited by Mr Ryan. There are the obvious reasons, that he is a good candidate for the Republicans. At 42, he's young. He's deeply religious. He's got a blue-collar and immigrant background. He's like the people who vote Republican.

But there is another reason for the excitement and the comparisons with St Ronnie. Mr Ryan is ideologically in tune with the base of his party, offering serious proposals to pare down the state. This party has changed since its 2008 defeat. During his presidency George W Bush was portrayed by the left as the embodiment of hard-line conservatism. Now he's seen by many in his party as a dangerously soft centrist. No-one would accuse Mr Ryan of that.

There is a crucial difference between Mr Ryan and Ronald Reagan. Even his best friends wouldn't call Ronald Reagan a policy wonk. He had a few simple ideas, communicated them brilliantly and pursued them relentlessly. But Ryan's reputation rests on his budget proposal, which he's given the grandiose sub-title, "a blueprint for American renewal".

It is highly political, a tactical masterpiece tickling his party's hot spots. One red button is slammed after another - a strong America, the need to support the troops , to defend free enterprise, the need to deal with the debt, to protect the constitution.

Romney's choice

But it is more than mere rhetoric. There is a plan, resplendent with numbers, graphs and details. Supporters say it is "offering serious solutions to gravely serious problems".

Some opponents have questioned whether it adds up. Others scorn its fundamental principles. In a blistering attack that combines psychology, philosophy and a dash of literary criticism Leon Wieseltier accuses Mr Ryan of "an intellectual style that is amateurish and parochial" and of believing in a version of self-reliance that is "cowardly", "dangerous", that would leave America "morally insolvent." Inspiring such a bravura hatchet job is an achievement in itself.

But he has done some thing else. There's often talk about a VP pick appealing to this state, or that demographic. Mr Romney's choice is far more important than that. By choosing Mr Ryan he has defined himself, and perhaps his presidency.

By choosing Mr Ryan he has told his party and the country he really is serious about radical conservative economic policies. If Mr Romney is elected, he will have at his side a VP who is more charismatic, more popular with the party, and more wedded to a right-wing agenda than he is. It could get interesting.

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  • rate this

    Comment number 334.

    333. Chryses Cut all kinds of aid, or a list of kinds of aid to be cut would, obviously be preferable, but the word limit is kind of restrictive, the same can be said for cutting the taxes [note plural] of the poor oppressed millionaires. Not to be cut in either party's admin welfare for corporations such as oil, insurance, pharma, agribusiness....These and military really need cutting.

  • rate this

    Comment number 333.

    McJakome (330),

    “276. Chryses I said "cut" not terminate, read it again.”

    What you posted @271 was "... cut all aid for the poor ..."

    I believe no politician - on either side of the aisle, has suggested such.

    Why are you exaggerating like Congressman Ryan is accused of doing?

  • rate this

    Comment number 332.

    All for All (331),

    "... Equal Democracy has to be Wanted"

    Radical Republicans like Congressman Ryan have the better chance of achieving that than ... others.

  • rate this

    Comment number 331.

    Not an election about change, Wall Street has no need

    Role of GOP this time, just to hold the line for inaction

    Change would be real: full employment, no corruption

    Being sold here is patience, time for 'recovery in fear'

    High unemployment, low wages, fire-sales, regression

    Hopes in 'war business'?

    A Manchurian surprise?

    Not just: "Your leaders failed you"

    Equal Democracy has to be Wanted

  • rate this

    Comment number 330.

    276. Chryses I said "cut" not terminate, read it again.
    The Federal courts have been overturning anti-gay laws because there is no justification offered of a secular nature. Ryan agrees with Bible-based anti birth control, anti-abortion laws. The CA proposition and NC amendment were bible based and were/should be repealed. Dominionism exists, see Wikipedia, what they want is intolerable!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 329.


    Agreed. It was you comparing families to government. A silly analogy because as you say families can't increase tax. But if you do want to make that comparison, those families should be demonised as failures if they don't increase income.

    (Can't get vids at the mo - what's that?)

  • rate this

    Comment number 328.

    Cmrade Ogilvy, somebody's getting really desperate if they have too stoop that low:


  • rate this

    Comment number 327.


    Why cut spending on useful things rather than increase income to pay for them?

    Wouldn't it be better for those families to strive for success and a larger income rather than be lazy and go short?

    When wealth and income are regarded as success, why not apply the same standards to the state?

  • rate this

    Comment number 326.


    You're half right, as usual.

    Spending is unsustainable IF you refuse to tax.

    Ad how about cutting SPENDING rather than increasing TAXES?

    Would that be also only half right?

    P.S. Do you know any responsible American family which consistently spends more than it can afford?

    And is it going to increase its taxes to recover?

  • rate this

    Comment number 325.



    There are good people in Chicago, including some of my cousins.

    Lucy, do you think you and your cousins are going to make up for all the Chicago stiffls and most recently legalized aliens voting for the Community Organizer-in-Chief in November?

    [after all Illinois is not Arizona or Texas facing a veritable influx of illegal aliens with Obama Admnistration doing nothing]

  • rate this

    Comment number 324.


    You're half right, as usual.

    Spending is unsustainable IF you refuse to tax. Not sure welfare is different to military spending in that respect, though saving lives seems somehow 'better' than taking them, dontcha think?

    Hope you're right about the US future. Doubt it though if Europe goes sown.

  • rate this

    Comment number 323.


    There are good people in Chicago, including some of my cousins, and I love the Chicago Bears

    That being said, the politics is out of control
    Its almost all the Chicago politicians

    Illinois passed a law that would have required downstate Illinois to pay billions for gas plant in Chicago even tho Chicago would get all the gas from it

    Luckily Quinn vetoed it+
    I thank him for that

  • rate this

    Comment number 322.

    IComrade Ogilvy:

    "t's the Tea Partiers themselves that are looking backwards."

    Dear Comrade, judging by how European countries still instisting on the cradle-to-the grave unsustainable Socialist wefare statist concept are doing (negative growth incl. at this point its powerhouse Germany)

    US at ca 2% growth even despite Obama' policies - has a future.

    Unlike folks like you.

  • rate this

    Comment number 321.


    I think most British politicians have gotten over it :-)

    It's the Tea Partiers themselves that are looking backwards.

  • Comment number 320.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 319.

    Comment number 314.mayfair69

    You're correct. Hiding untaxed profts in tax shelters would be a criminal offence not only in US but also in many EU countries.

    [cf. Germany paying millions of euros to obtain inside info re major German tax evaders' secret accounts in Switzerland and Lichtenstein]

    Those claiming Romney did that while having no proof likely being accused of slander in courts.

  • Comment number 318.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 317.

    Stonewalling in Congress is Total Corruption
    scum think they are clever

  • rate this

    Comment number 316.

    "Relative to UK politicians, the Tea Party and many rightwing US politicians really are radical."

    Let's be fair. Tea Party is not something British politicians think of fondly. [since way back then]

    And re 189.LucyJ and Chicago politics.

    Will citizens of Windy City follow late mayor Daley's advice from 1960? ["VOTE EARLY, VOTE OFTEN!"]

    What do you think?

  • rate this

    Comment number 315.

    Re #154 DenverGuest.

    I don't know who's going to win in November (too close).

    But since you post from Denver it may interest you that University of Colorado predicts Romney's victory.

    We shall see.


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