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Opinion

Opinion

Ryan adds ideology to GOP team

August 26, 2012

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— Conventions are the seventh-inning stretches of presidential politics, a pause to consider the interminable prelude and the coming climax. Republicans gathering in Tampa face an unusual election in which they do not have a substantial advantage concerning the most presidential subject, foreign policy.

This is not because their nominee has weak foreign-policy credentials, which are not weaker than Barack Obama’s were four years ago. And it is not because some of Mitt Romney’s policy expostulations during the nominating process — e.g., “We should not negotiate with the Taliban. We should defeat the Taliban” — promise a limitless elongation of an 11-year exercise in mission creep that the public is sensibly eager to liquidate. And it is not because there are no ominous potentialities: Both Romney and Obama seem committed to a third regional war if, as is highly probable, Iran continues to pursue nuclear weapons. (Israel could make foreign policy central in the U.S. campaign by striking Iran.) And it is not because the world has become tranquil — although the world, which Romney calls “dangerous, destructive, chaotic,” is less so than at any time since the 1920s, measured by the likelihood of people dying from organized violence.

Rather, the eclipse of foreign policy is a result of this perverse Obama accomplishment: He has proved that the locution “growth recession” is not oxymoronic. During this recovery, now in its fourth year, the economy often has grown so slowly that job creation rarely, and then barely, matched the growth of the workforce. Perhaps Romney should rejoice that economic anxieties have marginalized foreign policy: The last time a businessman was nominated in a period of national security tensions — Republican Wendell Willkie in 1940 — he lost.

There have been 11 elections since two Democratic presidents committed the United States to a protracted war of attrition in Indochina — John Kennedy by complicity in regime-change by coup; Lyndon Johnson by incontinent escalation. In those 11 elections, the Democratic Party, wounded by its riotous 1968 convention and its 1972 nomination of George McGovern, has elected just three presidents. Jimmy Carter won after Vietnam was lost. Bill Clinton won after the Cold War was won. Barack Obama won after the nation had recoiled against foreign overreaching: Iraq.

The eclipse of foreign policy underscores the rationality of Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan. The youngest vice presidential nominee since Dan Quayle in 1988, Ryan guarantees that the Republican message — certainly subliminally, perhaps explicitly — will be Obama’s immaturity, which is writ large in the childishness of his characteristic rhetorical evasion: Every difficult choice is, he says, “a false choice.”  

One peculiarity of this political season’s first seven innings was the selection of a fundamentally non-ideological presidential nominee by a Republican Party that, under the beneficent influence of the tea party, has never been more ideological or more ideologically homogenous. The Ryan selection ameliorates this incongruity.

The incongruity, however, explains why Romney may be able to win with a Big Ten strategy. Until last year, when Nebraska joined this athletic conference, it extended from State College, Pa., to Iowa City, Iowa. Romney enters the final innings competitive in those two states, as well as Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin, which means he is poised to correct a Republican problem: The party has been too dependent on the South, understood as the 11 states of the Confederacy, plus Oklahoma and Kentucky.

In the last five presidential elections, Republican candidates have received an average of 64 percent of their electoral votes from the South. In 2000, George W. Bush became the first Republican to win the presidency while losing the electoral and popular votes outside the South. The party’s Southern cast was one reason John McCain in 2008 did not carry any suburb contiguous to Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Detroit or Chicago.  

Such places are habitats of persons who by now may be lightly attached Obama voters — people who like the idea of him but not the results of him. As Holman W. Jenkins of The Wall Street Journal astutely writes, “Obama’s great political talent has been his knack for granting his admirers permission to think highly of themselves for thinking highly of him.” Romney’s great political challenge is to wean them away by making them faintly embarrassed about their former infatuation.    

— George Will is a columnist for Washington Post Writers Group.    

Comments

Paul R Getto 2 years, 2 months ago

Pretty good summary of the issues, sir. Now on to the "fun" part.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 2 months ago

Here's a more accurate portrayal of the ideology that Ryan brings to the "team." And the disaster that he would bring to the vast majority of Americans.

Paul Ryan: Galt, Gold and God by Paul Krugman

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/08/24-2

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 2 months ago

Ryan is hedging his bets and remains a candidate for his House seat in Wisconsin. Unlike years past, he faces a formidable opponent. Will he debate this opponent as he has in previous elections?

Paul Ryan Struggles With the Inconvenient Demands of Democracy by John Nichols

http://www.thenation.com/blog/169567/paul-ryan-struggles-inconvenient-demands-democracy#

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camper 2 years, 2 months ago

"Perhaps Romney should rejoice that economic anxieties have marginalized foreign policy"

Rejoice? More proof that there is a party over country sentiment going on.

And I don't ;like idealogy mixed with politics. An idealogy is somewhat like an ism.

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Getaroom 2 years, 2 months ago

Ya sure, have a few more unfunded wars to rob SS and then lie about the state of Social Security do it often and soon the ignorant masses will begin to believe the lies that have replaced the facts.

  • Grant Corporations personhood in stead of being the entities that are, and lie more and often about Medicare. Gotta love the Republicans Ideology, it sure has undermined what was a great society and taken it to it's knees. Were to begin, we could start right here in Kansas but why start with a runt of a man when you can begin at the top of the Scumbaggers. Also known as Tea Baggers.

  • Strip education funding because an ignorant population is easier to control, strip social security and medicare because "everyone must bear the burden" and then tax all but the very wealthy and give Them the 'entitlements' because they are the "job creators" - NOT!

  • And the crown jewel, let them hide their 'job creating money' off-shore instead of putting it back in the economy, never mind the taxes. Not to mention all the FHNC'ers who think their IDEOLOGY is better, but mostly because they not black. Sure it's better, if you happen to love keeping people down, unemployed and poor so they will appreciate what little they have.

The T-Baggers seem to think all people who are out of work are lazy and no good anyway - not so! Did G. Will, the sports analogy god, sum that angle up for you too? Of course not, that would get him thrown out of the conservative "IDEOLOGY" dugout before he even got in the game. With all of the billions of dollars going into defeating Obama where were those dollars sitting when jobs were needed - like now? Oh, surprise! They never intended it for that purpose? Nope, it's the Billionaires Club fun money to use for a rainy day. Imagine that!

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camper 2 years, 2 months ago

"Perhaps Romney should rejoice that economic anxieties have marginalized foreign policy"

Apparently, some people rejoice in Washington when things aren't going well. Only in Washington. Politics is a dirty sleazy business and I am growing very tired of it. Makes one feel like a sucker. Better to be true to thy own rather than have any faith in politicians.....from both parties.

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weeslicket 2 years, 2 months ago

  1. romney's foreign policy, as with most (all?) of his policies, remains undefined.
  2. when romney is unable, or unwilling, to state his policies then others in the republican party do it for him.
  3. as a result, you get: more supply-side economic theory (which has been proven false) for the US; neoconservatism for the world (which has amounted to little more than myopic and incredibly expensive neocolonialism);
  4. bonus ideologies from the tea party faction will give us: austerity rather than prudent spending and rational tax increases (europe, anyone? debt ceiling tantrums? sequestration?) a general hatred of anything not white, male and christian (have mainstream christians accepted the church of LDS yet?)

it'll be interesting to watch the show in tampa next week.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 2 months ago

"Critics will no doubt huff that D'Souza is engaging in ridiculous pop psychology, particularly in his attempt to parallel his own experiences with colonialism in India to those of some of Obama's surrogates and of Obama's father."

D'Souza is whack job, so yes, critics will say this.

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voevoda 2 years, 2 months ago

The Obama 2016 film is just a piece of disinformation--rank political propaganda. Anybody can be made to look bad when his words and those of others around him are snipped and cut and reedited with the deliberate intention to make him look stupid and dangerous. The same thing could be done with Romney; with Ryan; with Abraham Lincoln; and even with Jesus.
It's not Obama who is anti-American. It is D'Souza.

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yourworstnightmare 2 years, 2 months ago

I think George senses the danger that Ryan's ideology brings to the ticket.

Ryan's ideological leader is Ayn Rand, combined with extreme right wing "no exceptions" anti-abortion policy.

The American public recoils at both.

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 2 months ago

No one should discount the potential destructiveness of a victory for Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan. The widespread media assumption that Romney is really a “Massachusetts moderate” who adopted extreme positions to placate the Republican electorate before resetting his Etch A Sketch would be irrelevant even if it were true. A Romney victory could be accompanied by GOP control of all branches of government, with the party’s right-wing majority in the House driving the agenda.

As Grover Norquist argues, “We are not auditioning for fearless leader…. We just need a president to sign this stuff.”

The “stuff” they would pass—already endorsed by Romney—includes repeal of the modest reforms enacted to police corporations after the Enron scandal and banks after the financial collapse; repeal of healthcare reform, stripping some 30 million people of coverage; budget cuts that would gut almost all domestic functions of the government, from education to child nutrition to safeguarding clean air and water; and an end to Medicare and Medicaid as we know them.

These draconian measures would be used to pay for increases in military spending and tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy. Under the Romney plan, those making over $1 million a year would receive an average tax break of $250,000.

A Romney/Ryan victory would buoy a Republican right eager to roll back social progress, constrict voting rights and exacerbate racial divides in an era of middle-class decline. The offensive against labor and workers’ rights would escalate.

And Romney’s bellicose foreign policy would make George W. Bush look dovish. If Romney wins, we will spend four years fighting to limit the damage he will inflict on the nation.

The Nation

FYI "Rebuilding America's Defences," openly advocates for total global military domination” . Very dangerous position which threatens OUR freedoms and the nations security. http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Project_for_the_New_American_Century

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mnvikings0 2 years, 2 months ago

Well America there are enough independent voters in the US to establish a 3rd Party. The current two parties are obviously doing the country any good. A third party is what was needed a long time ago to get these parties to work together and to give America its voice back.

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