William Saletan thinks that Paul Ryan is wonderful: “an honest, open-minded, solution-oriented fiscal conservative.” Of course Saletan admits that Ryan’s “honesty” is somewhat modified by his willingness to pander to the Grover Norquist faction: his draconian spending cuts for the poor and middle class are completely matched by his generous tax giveaways to the rich, leaving no actual deficit reduction in site. But why quibble? As long as you’re hurting poor people, you must be serious about the budget.
Saletan assumes that the inconsistency between Ryan’s proposed cap on total federal spending and Romney’s commitment to continuing to feed the military-industrial crowd means that Romney has to back off. Um, last time I checked, that wasn’t the way it works. Instead, Ryan will learn to love the bomb, or at least the defense budget. That will make his insanely imaginary “deficit reduction” plan that much more imaginary, but Saletan and his ilk won’t let that bother them.
(Here’s a suggestion for Saletan: now that you’ve greased your source, how about you PUTDP and ask him whether he supports his version of a defense budget or Gov. Romney’s?)
What Saletan doesn’t provide is any basis for thinking that “fiscal” is a necessary modifier when calling Ryan a “conservative” (in the debased current sense of that term). Ryan voted against ending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. He voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. And while he may not personally be a spittle-flecked hater like many of his co-partisans, if he’s ever objected to any of their excesses – for example, the attack on Huma Abedin’s loyalty, or on reproductive freedom – I must have missed it.
Nate Silver points out that Ryan’s voting record is about as reactionary as Michelle Bachmann’s and that Ryan is (using DW-Nominate scores) the most extreme Vice-Presidential candidate in American history.
Not that I disagree with Saletan’s claim that Ryan is among the best of the current crop of Republicans, in a World’s Tallest Midget sense. But “love him”? Really?
Update And yes, the Very Serious Mister Ryan is a global-warming denier: not just someone who wants to argue about benefits and costs, but someone willing to slander the people doing the research: “leading climatologists … use statistical tricks to distort their findings and intentionally mislead the public on the issue of climate change.”