Tag Archives: Paul Ryan

Veep Debate: Biden vs. Ryan was all Ward Cleaver vs. the Beaver

Billed as a debate on foreign and domestic issues, the Vice Presidential Debate in Danville, Kentucky was much anticipated. Especially after the Obama no-show.

As debates go, it was civil, to the point and allowed for plenty of clash on some fairly important issues.

When he wasn’t paternal, Vice President Biden featured a toothy smile to indicate his disapproval of whatever his younger opponent Paul Ryan would say.

It struck me a bit like Ward Cleaver debating the Beaver.

But as they started the debate on Libya, Syria, then Egypt and Iran, I kept thinking the debate was way to top heavy on international affairs. Considering that a vice president might attend a state funeral or two, does it matter that Vice President Joe Biden can talk about Israel and Iran and refer to Prime Minister Netanyahu as “BeBe”?  

The debate was a third over when using a national security spin, the moderator finally transitioned to domestic issues like the economy and jobs, and how to get unemployment down to 6 percent. But aside from Biden’s toothy smiles to Ryan’s Romney talking points, nothing we haven’t heard uttered.

It did give Biden an opportunity to talk about the Romney’s “47 percent,” gaffe, which Biden used as the foundation to appeal to regular folk. It did give an opportunity to get the night’s only real laugh, when Ryan tried to apologize for Romney saying: “I think the VP knows sometimes the words don’t come out of your mouth the right way.”

OK, so now we’re set up for other  domestic issues that we haven’t heard about yet?

No, there was a reprise on Medicare and Social Security, and taxes. All fine. I’m sure it’s asked because a debate is an opportunity to reiterate some issues and touch all the bases. But does it really matter if it’s the VP and Candidate Ryan? It still sounded like campaign boilerplate–with one exception. Ryan is much more of an idealogue than Romney. Standing alone for the campaign, he made it seem more right-wing than it usually does.

With a quarter-hour left, I was waiting for maybe some question on other domestic issues. I knew we wouldn’t hear anything on affirmative action or immigration. But what about education policy? Or maybe a connection between some spending initiatives to help the states.

But no. Since women are known to be the demographic of Election 2012, the abortion issue emerged. And this was a bit more revealing about the candidates and their positions. Biden’s was best because he was true to his religion but didn’t seek to “impose” it on others. A delicate stand but fair. Ryan sounded like your basic pro-lifer.

Just a few minutes left, doesn’t anyone want to talk about Education? Our children, our public schools? Our future?


How can you have a debate that says it will include domestic issues and not include one second to education?

Every issue they discussed the economy, jobs, or lack thereof. Middle class opportunity.  Education  has to be a part of any solution to build up America for the future. Doesn’t it?

But did we hear any answers from either camp that showed there was a real plan that prioritized education at any level, primary, secondary or higher ed?  

Sadly, no.

Aside from that glaring ommission,  I’d say it was a close debate.

Scoring a debate, you look at clash points. And the debaters did clash. Ryan was better than anyone would have thought, but I don’t think he made the case that the GOP would do better than what we have. That was his burden. Biden stood his ground. Unlike Obama in the first debate,  he didn’t let anything get past him. Overall, I think he won this debate,

Paul Ryan’s RNC speech: Selling ”little government”

The conventions are the official time when rhetoric wins out over facts.

The campaigners are in speechify mode—going for the emotional sale.

So what else could we expect from Paul Ryan Wednesday night but recycled half-truths, untruths, and gas, packaged in a nice thin inflatable polymer.

That’s the stuff that rises up to the bunting in a convention.

And no amount of fact-checking matters.

Of course, it’s much different in real life, outside the convention hall, where rhetoric rarely soars, and voters are left with deflated hopes.

That didn’t stop Ryan Wednesday night. Known as a wonky, number crunching ideologue, he departed from all that policy stuff, though he did set parameters for the opposite of Big Government.  What would that be? Little Government, of course. That’s what R and R is all about. Keep federal spending at 20% of GDP? “That is enough,” Ryan said.

Spoken like a true “central planner.”

But numbers are boring. So Ryan showed off  his political style. He rallied young adults still living in their childhood bedrooms staring at faded Obama posters. He outed Romney’s iPod playlist as elevator music while revealing his own (AC/DC to Zeppelin? Really? I would have figured him a Styx and Kansas guy).

He pandered to women by showing off his family, calling his mom his mentor. His softened his slashing of Medicare by talking about his grandmother. She relies on it? She won’t in Ryan’s little government.

Why little government should appeal to anyone is ironic, but especially among those on the margins who would probably like to rely a little more on government these days. More unemployment. More public works jobs. More mortgage bailouts. So when Ryan addressed those who’ve felt left out of the economy, I was startled when he said “you haven’t failed, your leaders have.”

The crowd cheered, but those outside won’t be cheering when Ryan tells them his little government is unable to do a thing for little people.

Maybe big business will get its share. It always does in a world where corporations count as people. As for you little people, you’ll just have to take responsibility for yourselves.

Speaking of responsibility, if Ryan was so quick to blame failed leadership, shouldn’t he as the Congressional budget guy take some “personal responsibility” for his own failure to reach compromise with Democrats on a plan that would work for the people?  How does he go without blame?

He can’t.

Doesn’t matter. He’s the little government guy who wants to be the No.2 public servant in the land.

Problem is, his ideas may be too little for all of us.


One thing Ryan didn’t do is point out to  any of his black.Latino and Asian friends in the crowd. Maybe because there weren’t very many there.

Maybe his diversity angle came when he talked about his time as a dishwasher or mowing lawns. That was his time to show empathy. Hey, he actually did jobs that are usually available to minorities!  But he  then he brags about how he wasn’t limited by his situation. If he was truthful, he’d say,”being white helped me a lot. And my well-connected father got me my first Capitol Hill job.”

Ryan’s weakiness on diversity is so glaring, he negates any impact that Sec. Rice and Gov.Martinez had speaking just before him. If you were a minority GOPer, Ryan wasn’t reassuring.  He’s your forced fed young ideolgoue, with no message of inclusion or  compassion. Not in a  a little government themed campaign.

As he exited in “we can do this” mode, Ryan mentioned a bigger safety net? Bigger, you’ll be hard pressed to find one at all  in the little government of Romney/Ryan.


Ryan? Really? Romney’s post-racial veep pick

What does “post-racial” really mean?

If you want a good example, look at Romney’s veep pick. Leading up to it, any pick was largely seen as somewhat uneventful. Could it really make an impact? Wouldn’t Romney pick a competent person anyway? So who would enhance his chances? 

If race mattered, and it should in a diverse society where minorities have become the majority in many states, then by all means the pick should have been a Rubio, or a Jindal.  That would have been a bold message to the electorate.

It would have also expanded Romney’s universe of voters, with the potential of siphoning off some votes away from Obama.

But with a Ryan pick, Romney doubles down on the 1 percent.  He’s solidified his position among those who might think he’s a softie. He’s selected the man most responsible for the gridlock in the “Do Nothing” Congress. Ryan’s the guy who is the most polarizing on the key issue of the day: the economy. 

Romney was going to get his Tea Party conservatives anyway. They weren’t going to sit this one out. He was going to get the Ryan voters. More significantly, a Ryan choice doesn’t make Romney more likeable to those who only marginally disliked him.  If they disliked him even a little bit, now they should really stay away.

And those who really were  on the fence?  Well, now they have a choice between the stark harsh measures from a slash and burn budget guy like Ryan, and the president and the Democrats who by comparison seem reasonable and more compassionate.

But it’s definitely a “post-racial” veep pick, and a clear signal to new majority of America.

What’s Romney saying with his choice of Ryan? Hispanics? Don’t need you. Asians? Who are you? Blacks? You got your guy.

As for union workers, common folks, everyone else without a job or a Cayman Islands bank account, if you like even more of the pain you’re experiencing, Romney-Ryan is the answer.