Ryan and Romney Want to Party Like It’s 1899
After stewing over the Paul Ryan pick for the past several days, I’m struck by one thing, above all, and that’s what an aggressive choice it was.
Romney and Ryan are trying to shove down our throats their primitive view of the role of government and their crude idolatry of the profit motive.
This is now a ticket of the far right (remember: Paul Ryan doesn’t believe in abortion even in the case of rape, incest, or the life of the mother).
And what I’ve learned, being in Wisconsin all these years and watching Scott Walker prevail against the recall, is that the candidates and the ground troops of the far right don’t back down. They—and their paymasters—play for keeps; they are true believers. And if you don’t vanquish them, they will roll right over you. Underestimate them at your peril. And beware: Some have no scruples. They will do whatever it takes to win—like disenfranchising voters.
Ryan may be a decent man, as President Obama has vouched for him.
But Ryan’s policies are indecent. He not only wants to repeal LBJ’s Great Society (which gave us Medicare and Medicaid).
He not only wants to repeal FDR’s New Deal (which codified the right to organize, and gave us the minimum wage, and instituted unemployment insurance for the first time, and provided us with Social Security).
He also wants to repeal the Progressive Era.
Earlier this year, my colleague Ruth Conniff heard Paul Ryan say, at a Milwaukee event sponsored by the Koch Brothers’ group Americans for Prosperity, “The battle between conservatives and progressives is coming to a crescendo this year.”
He was referring to the recall of Scott Walker (though he may have had the upcoming Presidential race in mind).
And this offensive against progressivism is nothing new for Ryan, as my friend John Nichols notes in an important blog over at The Nation.
Nichols quotes Ryan back in 2010 telling Glen Beck, “What I’ve been trying to do is indict the entire vision of progressivism. I see progressivism as the source, the intellectual source for the big government problems that are plaguing us today. And so to me it’s really important to flush progressives out into the field of open debate—so people can actually see what this ideology means and where it’s going to lead us and how it attacks the American idea.”
That’s how reactionary Paul Ryan is.
Progressivism, after all, brought us women’s suffrage, legislation to outlaw lynching, an end to child labor, the direct election of Senators, the national park system, and the first serious regulations on corporate power, which is what really rankles Ryan and Romney.
They want to party like it’s 1899.
Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter
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