Although I’ve been struggling to respond to the latest moment of cluelessness and oblivious response from Mitt Romney, I’ve got to say that the Republicans are in for a hard time on the satire front this year. Actually, it will be easy – all you have to do is repeat their talking points, and then ask yourself, “what the hell was that…” out loud. So many more articulate voices than mine have raised the Paul Ryan thing as a bad idea, from Denis Leary comparing him to Eddie Munster to Maureen Dowd nailing him as well scrubbed altar boy-slasher, that I feel almost like piling on. So, here goes…
Talking about Ryan as a serious policy advocate or a serious anything strikes me as insane. He’s a right wing twit with whom the Evangelicals and the Social Conservatives can be as comfortable as the Ron Paul and Dick Armey types. Gingrich will look wistfully at him, thinking that if he had those abs and those eyes instead of weasel eyes and honey badger approach, he would have been able to find a pretty woman to marry before wife number 3. Or four…I forget. So, he’s in favor of personhood which makes abortion illegal as well as birth control outside of sponges, condoms, vasectomies, tube-tying, rhythm and pulling out; he doesn’t want to fund planned parent hood; he doesn’t specify anyway he’s going to save money except cut programs for the poor and eliminate fraud and waste while opposing the waste reduction transfer from Medicare to pay for additional Medicaid done by the Affordable Care Act. He doesn’t care for Medicare, saying it’s unsustainable. He doesn’t want women to have access to the benefits of no co-pays for birth control, mammograms, pap smears and so on. He wants to cut taxes for the rich, raise them on the middle class, defund education, and on and on and on.
Maureen Dowd has a very good piece on this guy. She figured he’d be the nominee – seems like a nice guy, really a weasel. Perfect match for the Seems lIke a Weasel/Is a Weasel Romneybot 2012. Rachel Maddow has made fun of him from the beginning, tearing his policy credentials to shreds while wondering why the Beltway Media has taken him seriously. (I think it’s the weaselly altar boy look – nothing can get closeted queens more excited than the weaselly altar boy meme. ) Seriously, think Greg Marmalarde sucking up to the Dean in Animal House or better yet, Kevin Bacon smugly saying “ All will be well” and getting trampled also in Animal House. Marmalarde probably made his Omega pledges read Ayn Rand out loud to him.
In so far as I am Don Quixote, Maureen Dowd has been my Dulcinea. So, I think she’s just warming up and getting ready for the fun of the Republican Convention in Tampa, and using Ryan for a light speed bag workout. George HW Bush and Babs will recognize this, and be glad that Jeb has stepped aside from a really incensed Duclcinea…they’ve lived in Texas long enough to know not to piss off prissy Red Heads because they’ll cut you. She sums the reasons for voting Democratic up beautifully…
Although the Catholic Ryan told Fox News’s Brit Hume in an interview that aired Tuesday night that he “completely disagreed” with Rand’s “atheistic philosophy,” he said his interest in economics was “triggered” by her. (AXE Comment: Rand’s work is not based on economics. She was totally in the school of decadent, Russian narcissists condemned by her fellow Russians – Dostoyevsky, Gogol, Tolstoy. It’s like claiming that the person who invented anesthesia was influenced by De Quincy and The Confessions of an English Opium Eater.)
His long infatuation with her makes him seem even younger than he looks with his cowlick because Randism is a state of arrested adolescence, making its disciples feel like heroic teenagers atop a lofty mountain peak.( AXE snark: As a freshman in college, I met the first Ayn Rand fanatic I would meet – fat, drunk and ugly wise-ass junior college trollop. She thought that Atlas Shrugged was “oh so groovy.” This was in 1969. Ayn Rand was fucking Allan Greenspan at the time. Talk about Peace, Love and Woodstock.)
The secretive, ambiguous Romney was desperate for ideological clarity, so he outsourced his political identity to Ryan, a numbers guy whose numbers don’t add up. (AXE Comment: None of the Republican numbers have added up since 2000. Since 2009, when confronted by the fact that their basic calculation of 1-1+0=s Trillions is ludicrous, they have simply countered by saying “Obama’s a Muslim! And Kenyan! And a Liberation Theology Racist…” )
This just proves that Romney will never get over his anxiety about not being conservative enough. As president, he’d still feel the need to prove himself with right-wing Supreme Court picks. (AXE Comment. I diverge here from the Divine Ms Dowd. Romney has no center, just anxiety. He will focus on getting Ann’s horse made a Senator more than on actual policy…or, making Dressage the Official Sport of the United States while adding Joseph Smith to Mount Rushmore.” He’d do a lot of stupid shit as president, but that’s because of the in-breeding and early onset Alzheimers.)
Ryan should stop being so lovable. People who intend to hurt other people should wipe the smile off their faces. (Crusader AXE reflection.Ah, but as Richard III said, “Smile and smile and be a villain…” Ryan is not only evil but a hypocrite and liar. The smile is a crocodile grin…)
Now, I’ve already mentioned Rachel Maddow. She has done a good job keeping the moral outrage down while focusing wonkishly on the policy issues. What I’ve found fascinating is that she’s able to just point a true Wonkish numbers guy like Ezra Klein of the Washington Post at Ryan, and the combination of wonkish policy devastation combined with their moral outrage prevents her from having to get too outspoken. She and Karen Finney, another MSNBC commentator and a former communications guru for the DNC had fun tonight picking at Ryan as social conservative, economic idiot and general twisted sister. . Her focus on women’s issues here is helpful. I’m not a woman, but I’ve got enough of them in my life to be very happy that the Sandra Fluke incidents and the Planned Parent outrages have energized women. I’m enough of an economist to know that any pay raise for a class results in higher wages for all, so as a guy who kind works for living sometimes, I think the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act is great policy. Ryan and Romney would die trying to roll this stuff back…hell, repeal the minimum wage, the Fair Labor Standards Act, criminalize fornication (but only for women and gay men)and re-institute debtor’s prisons while they’re at it.
But Maddow is unique in TV in that she led the way for cross pollination, lobbying to get Republican voices and Tea Party types to come on her show. She’s generally respectful although persistent in her questioning, and has landed some interesting guests. Michael Steele has a TV job today because she kept bringing him on her show. She’s also brought people like Meaghan McCain and Nicolle Wallace to the show, and seems to enjoy both their company and the divergence of their thought from the pure ideology of the Republican party as well as from her own. Nicole Wallace has written two novels about a White House with a dysfunctional female VP after her stint as Palin’s tutor and handler in the McCain campaign and does not appear to have surfaced in this campaign. When Maddow asked her once how she would advise Palin on something, Wallace said that she doubted Palin would ever accept her opinion on anything and that since her experience with the Governor had been such that she had written two novels about the problems of deranged and narcissistic candidates and officeholders as a result of that time, she would hesitate to even try. Wallace was actually pleasant and self-depreciating when she said this which I found interesting and admirable.
Maddow has also brought Steve Schmidt to the network. Schmidt is a near regular, and showed up for all the elections. More reserved, philosophic and organized mentally than Chairman Steele – who can be a blithering idiot, obviously trying to sell ice to Eskimos but doing it wrong – and while cagy, is very honest. When asked a direct question, he gives direct answers. When asked his opinion of Game Change, he said without elaboration that he thought it was accurate. Schmidt was on Maddow this evening, and asked about how he envisioned the impact of Paul Ryan on the race. He tried to be clear, concise and supportive but basically tore both Romney and Ryan apart. “If you look at the Bain capital, Mitt Romney had 18 years to prepare for the attacks.” He obviously thinks that both are weasels and good soldier that he is, he’ll try to defend them and advise them knowing that he has as much likelihood of success as Nicole had with Sarah.
Lawrence O’Donnell’s spent most if not all of The Last Word eviscerating Ryan and by association Romney and all the gods of Republicanism. The entire show is worth watching, but the final piece on Ryan’s hypocritical rejection of Ayn Rand of late is what got me really chuckling. You see, throughout the entire Ayn Rand resurgence behind Ron Paul and Rand Paul and the Tea Party and all the rest of these blovating, self-serving weasels and lackies, I’ve been bemused about how anyone could make such a big deal about the woman. Today, of course, Ryan runs from any suggestion that he was ever a big fan or devotee – yet, in 2005 he spoke at a conference hosted by her fans, The Atlas Society, about how nifty she really was, gosh darnit to heck. O’Donnell destroys him; his new found rejection of her philosophy as an atheist philosophy – shock, horror, arrest the usual suspects – is patently hypocritical. I am, of course, the founder of Tiffanyism, the belief that if there is a god, she’s a teenage girl with weight and hormone issues and a fascination on Justin Bieber; most likely, then, there is no god. But Ayn Rand’s petulant, self-centered and narcissistic vision frankly gives atheism a bad name. You can’t miss it if you read her works – novels, essays, interviews and on and on. And, she’s a terrible writer, and a terrible thinker unless you buy into her basic premise that greed is good and you shouldn’t concern yourself with other people. Mark Ames of The Exiled and of Naked Capitalism did marvelous work here, digging up some of her notebooks to trace her self-centerered, greedy and narcissistic vision to an absurd obsession with American serial killer and sociopath William Hickman.
O’Donnell finished this segment with a marvelous point about news today. Ryan gets a lot of softballs, and today he was interviewed at Fox by Britt Hume who was an exceptionally well-respected print reporter, working as Jack Anderson’s assistant and alter ego in the muckracking syndicated column business. Then, he got bored, tired, poor, and turned Republican flack. So, Hume lobs one at Ryan who basically hits a slow roller toward second base; Hume fields it, and throws it into the stands, but Ryan hasn’t bothered to run since that would be beneath him. So, Lawrence asked us to consider the question – How would Fox News react to a Democrat who had sworn his affiliation to the economic philosophy and moral compass provided by an atheistic Russian author?
Now, slipping into my Catholic educated, cultural Jesuit mode, I should point out that 2012 is the 50th anniversary of Michael Harrington’s The Other America, his ground breaking work on poverty in America. In the spirit of full disclosure, I should note that Harrington, like Chris Matthews, Joe McGinnis, Clarence Thomas, Ted Wells, Gordie Lockbaum, Bob Cousy and me is a graduate of Holy Cross. Harrington’s book had an incredible impact influencing things like VISTA, Medicare and Medicaid, Food Stamps, Pell Grants, the Great Society, the War on Poverty, Sesame Street, Headstart and on and on and on. Less well known about Harrington was that, despite his time in The Catholic Worker Movement and his fondness for Catholicism, he became an atheist and a secular Socialist, founding the Democartic Socialist Organization. He remained true to the teachings of Catholic social doctrine for the remainder of his life and his work lives on.
For Ryan to pretend to some sort of lace curtain Catholicism is appalling. It’s possible to be a Christian Atheist; Jefferson was one to some extent with his Jefferson bible. It is possible to be a doubting Catholic-Christian. Graham Greene comes to mind, but Mother Teresa herself went through decades of doubt and disbelief that she struggled with. It’s probably possible to be a Tiffanyist-Anti-theist Catholic – if you shed the hierarchy, the bureaucracy, and the insanity of a male dominated, homophobic leadership as well as the hocus pocus, Catholicism can make a lot of sense. However, it is impossible to be any kind of Christian and support the teachings of Ayn Rand or Ron Paul or the rest of the greed is good, shareholder value rules, need to make people be more self-sufficient, pull-yourself up by your bootstraps and if you don’t have boots, screw you, I got mine weasels. Reconcile that with the Sermon on the Mount or the Parables…
So, we have a choice here, between the hypocrites and the struggling, between the whitened sepulchers and the works in progress, between the smug and righteous and those who strive and doubt. I guess I know where I’m planning on being. As the wonderful and dreadfully missed Molly Ivins would undoubtedly have said contemplating this year, “Nothing but good times ahead…”
Latest posts by Mike Farrell (Posts)
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