Romney 2012

One of the best things about living in the nation’s capital is that sometimes you get to hear some pretty cool people speak. One multiple occasions I got to hear Rep. Paul Ryan talk — extemporaneously — on public policy, and he blew me away. On top of that he was a nice guy, stopping in to speak to Heritage interns when he could have just whisked out the door without saying a word. Rep. Ryan has managed to work in the D.C. “kitchen” for quite some time now without deviating from his core mission — to increase freedom and individual liberties for all Americans — but yet he now finds himself taking heat from people who have never even entered the restaurant.

I’ve lived in Washington, D.C. for eight years now, and I never heard someone question his honesty and integrity. He’s a principled guy in an unprincipled town. He’s outnumbered and has limited tools to work with, which is why I find it bizarre that “RINO” keeps echoing off the walls of the Internet since the House announced its budget deal with Democrats.

Buzzfeed’s piece, titled ‘How Paul Ryan Saved the Day’ sums up the Congressman well:

Ryan’s recent success stems in large part from his deep roots within the GOP’s conservative wing. Long before becoming a member of the conservative “Jedi Council” that has helped foment conservative outrage against previous spending plans, Ryan was a key figure within fiscal conservative circles in Washington. Over the years Ryan has developed a reputation amongst conservative and moderate Republicans in the House as a trusted voice on not only budget issues, but broader economic policy.

“The thing about him is that everyone knows he’s a straight shooter, he’s not going to play games. And that’s what it takes,” Diaz-Balart said. “Everyone understands what he says is real, whether you agree with Paul Ryan or not everybody understands that his word is truthful. In this process, he’s among the most trusted.”

Republican Policy Committee Chairman Rep. James Lankford, one of the most conservative members of the GOP leadership, agreed. “The level of trust is there because people know what his core is. We’ve all gone through budget negotiations with him, we’ve all seen the budgets he’s put together and the coalitions he’s put together to get that done. So we know he’s going after as much as he can possibly get,” Lankford said.

Have you ever tried to get blood from a stone? Republicans are not in a position to be able to take a chainsaw to government spending at the moment — particularly after the shutdown. They crossed the rubicon on that, and then when the pressure got too hot they wilted. Worse, they weren’t able to articulate the legitimate philosophical concerns that motivated them to go that route in the first place. If it wasn’t for the Obamacare rollout disaster from Hell, where would the polls be at the moment?

Take a look at where some of the loudest criticisms of Congressman Ryan are coming from; they emanate from people who would very much like to take the mantle of pied piper away from President Obama and hold onto it throughout the 2016 presidential election. The tea party is right: America is broke. In fact, it is more broke than any nation has ever been in existence. The way to address the problem is not to cannibalize one of conservatism’s staunchest defenders as he’s trying to convince the American people that Republicans can work with people they have fierce ideological disagreements with.

Note to my Tea Party friends: If there is a Socialist who seems like a really nice guy and an free-market Republican who seems like a jerk, the American people will (at least these days) vote for the Socialist. This carries over to how we talk about social issues. It’s not always what you say, but how you say it — and if you always come across as an angry raving-mad lunatic who would rather engage in scorched earth tactics than work with a political opponent, you will lose. And then America loses.

You don’t win by subtracting and dividing; you win by addition and multiplication. Congressman Ryan understands that if he can only get 30% of what he wants, then it’s better to do that then to throw a temper tantrum and get nothing. If the tea party is smart, then it will hold its fire on one of the few principled politicians in Congress and resume the air campaign on Obamacare.

Related: Barack Obama, Mysterio vs. Paul Ryan, Spider-Man?

Related: Paul Ryan’s wine passes sniff test; Susan Feinberg’s behavior smells like rotting Monkfish à la Soubise


  1. Great post Doug! I think the different wings of the republicans have a lot of things to offer, hopefully we can follow Ryan’s example and be trustworthy while working together. I liked the personal story from Heritage, he always seemed like a good, standup guy in interviews and whatnot; its nice to hear “not on camera” evidence that he is.

    1. There are some other people (who shall remain nameless) who have reputations that are a bit different than what you see on television. Paul Ryan, however, has always been referred to as a solid guy by anyone I’ve spoken with who has worked with the man.

  2. I hate to say this, but after watching Ryan interviewed by several Fox hosts, listened to him in interviews by leading radio hosts on the subject of this “deal” I think you are dazzled by his specter rather than being analytical about this accomplishment.

    When Ryan was selected as the VP candidate by Romney, my first reaction was that we’d have been better off with Ryan in the top position rather than second banana. But, his answers to pointed questions about the numbers in this deal and the fact that NO budget deal that puts spending now and payback down the road has EVER withstood the “next” round of political expediency in congress, were fanciful and thin at best.

    Ryan claims that these “changes” are permanent, but in the same breath he explains the manipulations of the sequester law to gain something back for the military. But, as I understand the sequester law the “changes” to which Ryan was just party, do not meet the letter of the sequester law. So they are making a proposal that “weakens” the “carved in stone” sequester law thus providing the evidence to prove that this deal WILL NOT survive the next desire a politician to LOOK like he has done something for his campaign commercials.

    Regardless of the fondness and friendship you have for Ryan, this is smoke in the wind and fits the “something is better than nothing” mantra that those of us who pay attention to the nuts and bolts know is a beguiling platitude. I like Ryan, but hes is not doing what is best for the country. Rather, he is doing what he thinks is best for him in his next attempt to snatch the brass ring on the carrousel ride towards the Presidency.

    He is establishment and though maybe not a RINO in the strictest sense, there is more go along to get along in his demeanor than Conservatives want or is good for the country in this post-constitutional period.

    1. Regardless of the fondness and friendship you have for Ryan, this is smoke in the wind and fits the “something is better than nothing” mantra that those of us who pay attention to the nuts and bolts know is a beguiling platitude. I like Ryan, but hes is not doing what is best for the country. Rather, he is doing what he thinks is best for him in his next attempt to snatch the brass ring on the carrousel ride towards the Presidency.

      It’s rather insulting for you to insinuate that you pay attention to the “nuts and bolts,” but that I do not.

      I see you listen to Mark Levin (i.e., post-constitutional period). I do, too. I haven’t read his newest book on the “Liberty Amendments,” but I read the rest. The problem with Mark is that, as smart as he is, he just sounds like an angry man who screams into the microphone. Conservatives who do that on the national level lose elections. And then, America loses.

      Since you’re a nuts-and-bolts kind of guy, what would the Bruce Frank Budget Deal (that could actually pass) have looked like? What are the specifics?

    2. Doug,

      Even the most political savvy, like Ann Coulter, can have their vision clouded by the chrism of a man like Chris Christie.

      This Ryan deal is worse than the current law. This new law will increase spending by 60 billion over the next ten years and, again, it violates the current law. And it destroys a law that has actually cut spending…cuts that are painful to many, but what cuts wouldn’t.

      As for my own budget law suggestion? The Republicans, coming out of the House where budget bill are SUPPOSED to originate, have produced a myriad of good budget bills that are instantly shot down by Reid’s Senate. My point again is that Ryan’s “compromise” is *worse* than the current situation.

      If you can find it on a site, listen to Hannity’s radio with Rand Paul today (Thursday, Dec. 11). Paul makes the specific points better than I.

    3. Even the most political savvy, like Ann Coulter, can have their vision clouded by the chrism of a man like Chris Christie.

      I’m not a fan of Ann Coulter. I was at one time, but she turned into a caricature of herself. She goes out of her way to say things that make Republicans look like spiteful jerks. She flips and flops with whomever she thinks is the “it” guy.

      The Republicans, coming out of the House where budget bill are SUPPOSED to originate, have produced a myriad of good budget bills that are instantly shot down by Reid’s Senate. My point again is that Ryan’s “compromise” is *worse* than the current situation.

      See, I can respect your opinion. My problem is that guys like Mark (lately) have been demonizing those who disagree over tactics. He’s going full-throttle on good guys like Ryan when the fact of the matter is that the Republicans don’t have the votes to do what really needs to be done. They have to win elections, and in my opinion is that another shutdown would destroy any chances of making electoral gains.

      I like Rand on many issues, but he needs to be careful — one false move and they’ll be calling him a “RINO” too. They did the same thing with Rubio over immigration for Pete’s sake. It’s like, “Dude, the guy is a solid conservative and a Cuban immigrant and he’s trying to work with the Democrats. Cut him some slack.” But no, they won’t. It’s so weird.

    1. Once again, Paul Ryan has proven to be the adult in the room. Calling him a RINO just serves to divide the GOP even more and it makes us look bad, frankly; we need to focus on Obamacare, not something like this. Getting something is better than getting nothing and it’s certainly better than throwing a temper tantrum.

    2. I’m not sure what people want from the guy. He literally took another shut down — which would have happened right before the midterm elections — off the table. Does anyone in their right mind think that another shutdown would help Republicans? Here’s the deal: You need to win elections to get the things you really want done. How many budgets have died at Harry Reid’s feet when they came over from the House?

      Paul Ryan is playing long-ball, and there are conservatives who are attacking him for it. It’s insane. Let’s not even talk about the fact that he might be a presidential contender. What is the point of filling him with intellectual bullets right now? It’s so…weird.

    3. It is weird, I agree. We should focus our efforts on the campaign against Obamacare and the disastrous roll out.

      I think there’s a good chance that he could become a 2016 GOP Presidential candidate, and what he’s doing is a good way to possibly sway independents to the GOP side. Maybe even those young people (not me, obviously, since I never fell for hope and change like so many in my generation did; I voted for McCain in 2008 and Romney last year.) who are finally wising up to just how much of a disaster Obamacare really is.

    4. Doug — another shutdown is NOT off the table!

      “…A landmark budget agreement that passed in the U.S. House on Thursday faces certain death in the Senate unless at least five Republicans step up to support it – but so far there are no takers at all.

      The GOP’s Senate leaders plan to launch a procedural effort to kill the plan over a laundry list of objections – including a claim that it short-changes military veterans and other government retirees.

      Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin conceded that he needs to find Republicans who will vote for the measure after Republicans announced their intention Thursday night to block the deal.

      ‘We need Republican votes to pass the budget agreement, period,’ Durbin told reporters on Thursday. ‘We need at least five. And I’m hoping that there will be more than that.’

      Durbin, an Illinois Democrat and the third-most powerful Senate leader, acknowledged that ‘there are not five Republicans who have announced they’re for it.’

      In fact, no Republican senators have publicly said that they will vote in favor of the agreement that Republican Rep. Paul Ryan and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray unveiled Tuesday evening.”
      “…Alabama Republican Jeff Sessions explained that Democrats will need 60 ‘yes’ votes – on two separate procedural ballots – in order to pass it.

      The GOP’s parliamentary roadblocks will have the same effect as a traditional filibuster without consuming countless hours of Senate time when the measure is considered early next week.

      Even if Senate Democrats manage to find enough Republican support to pass the agreement, it won’t have the force of law.

      What Ryan and Murray proposed Wednesday is merely a framework for a budget that has yet to be written. Members of Congress who sit on appropriation committees will still be required to craft – and pass in both houses – a final budget bill by January 15.

      Unless they can pull it off, the federal government will be headed for its second shutdown in three months.”

    5. Doug,

      I hope you listened to Levin’s interview with Senator Jeff Sessions today about how this change violates the budget agreement made two years ago that is a better bill than what they are passing now. Ryan’s plan is not the best they could do, it is not as good as the one already in existence.

      If you missed it, it will likely be available on Mark’s site by tomorrow in podcast. In the second half of the first hour.

    6. Sadly, I don’t get off until 8:00 p.m. I’m familiar with his concerns, though. There was a piece in the WSJ about it. If I get a chance I’ll check out the podcast.

  3. Your point about people like Mark Levin with his “anger” losing votes sounds like advise the Left gives to the Right to “help” us win in the next election. Consistently charismatic Republicans who can articulate conservatism and DON’T tread the centerline win elections garnering the highest vote rates from the “undecided” and “moderate” crowd. And more important, they get the votes of the Conservative branch of the Republican party. And the failure of that faction alone to go to the polls to vote in ’12 lost the Republican Party the election. Don’t forget the election in ’10 that won the House. The winning votes came from the very conservative Right, largely composed of (shall I spit first before saying a dirty word) TEA Party followers who voted in Constitutionalists, or candidates that were as close to that model as we (yeah, including me) could get!

    Republican candidates who pander to Liberals get none of the votes from the Left (Why should they, the Left already has its candidate), but can strongly provide the incentive for the Conservative voters to stay home…as happened in the last election.

    Levin is a strong, intelligent, lawyer working, with a cadre of like minded people in his law firm, tirelessly behind the scenes to challenge laws and governmental actions that violate the Constitution. I am sure you know this and that he is a true Reaganite having held several positions in the Reagan administration.

    The only radio talk host that I might think screamingly detrimental to the Right is Mike Savage. But, he has an audience and likely does more good than harm (I just can’t listen to him).

    BTW, if you cannot find a copy of the “Liberty Amendments,” I could send you one of the several I bought for Christmas presents.

    1. Notice what you did there? Because I disagreed with you, you sort of lumped me in with “the left.” I’m not sure how you turned my criticism of tea party types who are filling Paul Ryan with political bullet holes into distain for the tea party. I was at the first tea party rallies in D.C. I’ve defended the tea party for years. I consider myself a member of the tea party.

      Fact: Harry Reid controls the Senate. Obama is president. It makes no sense to bludgeon a guy who might be a presidential candidate because he couldn’t get the tea party’s wish-list budget accomplished. Paul Ryan took the shutdown card off the table, which the Democrats would have used (successfully) next October — just weeks before the election. Paul Ryan is playing long-ball, and people like Mark Levin are gutting him over it.

      I listen to Mark almost every night on the way home from work and I’ve read all of his books (except the new one), but he really has no clue how he comes across to the average joe. Is his anger righteous? Sure. But he’s slinging arrows at his own team because he disagrees with someone’s tactics. Yes, he was a Reaganite — and Reagan worked with Democrats. Reagan believed that if you couldn’t get a whole loaf you would get what you could — and come back for the rest later. Reagan also was pretty good about abiding by the “11th Commandment”: “Thou shalt not speak ill of any Republican.”

      How many budgets have died before Reid’s feet? Countless. And so, Paul Ryan did the best he could and he took the shutdown off the table. That will translate into more conservative victories (even tea party victories), which is something I would think would make you and Mark happy. I know it will bring a smile to my face.

      Thanks for the “Liberty Amendments” offer, but I’ll probably get it shortly after Christmas.

  4. Hey Doug, what do you think about the idea that they’re going to Filibuster or shutdown the government again?

    1. Filibuster or not (yes, the filibuster does still exist) it appears as though this budget will pass. I do not see another government shutdown, particularly after the damage it did to the Republicans last time around. The Obamacare rollout from hell saved them, and they don’t have another rollout to count on.

    2. If ONLY the tax hikes that will come with the budget were to hit the pocketbook in October……….

    3. Amen! As I said before, Ryan is establishment and is very skilled in phrasing his explanations in DC double-speak. But it was clear from the start that spending reductions would be better under the current law. Ryan’s efforts unplugged a hole in the sequester dike opening a new course for increased spending. Even the claim of better funding for the military has been discovered more than offset by impact to programs for the soldiers themselves.

      Ryan is noted for his financial savvy and true expertise. Ryan did not make a mistake. He expected to be a able cover his tracks and dim the spotlight on his actions by convincing everyone that he had superior understanding of the situation.

    4. Jim, why is the tea party expending so much energy attacking one of their staunchest defenders? Why is the tea party giving the media the opportunity to talk about how divided Republicans are instead of Obamacare’s growing list of unintended consequences? If the tea party cannibalizes a guy like Ryan, what do you think Independent voters will think of them? What happens if Ryan runs for president and he becomes the nominee?

      I have yet to see one of Ryan’s critics offer a plan that could have passed, which would prevent another shutdown right before the election. If memory serves me correctly, that last shutdown didn’t work out too well for the GOP… Democrats would love — love — to play that card again. The level of friendly fire the tea party is dishing out on this man only benefits guys like Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.

    1. The shutdown was bad in the minds of the Left and the Obama press. The Republican party GAINED status in the eyes of the conservatives for not backing down. I do not believe that Ryan has been tagged as a TEA partite by the TEA Party. Ryan flirts with the TEA Party, but we conservatives do not hesitate to point out a move in the wrong direction. The Right is not composed of the type of ideologues you see on the Left. A Left that, these days, backs any move by the left no matter how detrimental it is to the country as created under the Constitution.

      The Breitbart article was not a myopic attack. It was an analysis of the facts and consequences of Ryan’s ill-advised “strategy(?)”.

    2. When did I say it was a “myopic attack”? I didn’t. Bruce, the polls shows that Republicans took a big hit in the wake of the shutdown. The GOP was blamed for it and the only thing that saved them was the disastrous Obamacare rollout. If some tea party representatives from gerrymandered districts and Ted Cruz in Texas got a pat on the back from Heritage Action and its friends in talk radio that’s fine, but the Republicans need to win national elections as well. Again, we can agree to disagree if you’d like, but I think another shutdown before the midterm elections is political suicide. Someone needs to ask Heritage Action what plan it could have passed. They won’t because it doesn’t have one. But who cares, because the money is rolling in from tea party donors…

      I agree with Paul Ryan: Any criticism the Club for Growth, Heritage Action, etc. have … they can bring up behind closed doors. I’m so happy that the Sunday talk shows featured segments on Republican divisions instead of Obamacare failures… As someone who is quite familiar with Heritage Action, it is my opinion that by constantly blasting Republicans (publicly) — who are trying their best while they’re in the minority — the organization is hurting the GOP’s chances of gaining ground in future elections.

      Side note: As you read this, remember that I am no fan of the GOP leadership: “McConnell: Obamacare, like my jowls, will probably stay”

      Mitt Romney’s campaign blows Obamacare messaging within the first 48 hours of the Supreme Court’s ruling. John Boehner talks a great game, but never delivers. Mitch McConnell has called it quits before the fight even started. And so, it’s up to us — the American people — to get the job done.

  5. There is another good article stating the problem relatively clearly:

    I have also said before that there can be differences between candidates and politicians on the Right, But there are inviolate core principals that have to be in the heart of a capital “C” Conservative. A couple of bullet points are *Spending cuts combined with no tax increases (real ones, not slower growth of increases), *No bill with a rider of amnesty (regardless of the phrasing, such as, pathway to citizenship). *Fewer restrictions on the 2nd amendment. *Put rules and regulations that carry the weight of fines and incarceration under the vote of Congress, not in the hands of “the administrator.” Certainly more but a point is that Congress needs to get back in the job of making the laws and oversee the rules of OSHA, EPA, ICE , Homeland Security, BATF and and other agencies that appear to make arbitrary and capricious laws by which the people and businesses are impacted, but have virtually no input or recourse.

    If Congress were staying busy doing these jobs there would likely be fewer, out of Left field (oh, guess I’ll capitalize that), NEW laws to further abridge and impeach our liberty.

    1. This article, like most of the others I’ve read, is more of the same — it talks about principles, but no one seems to say 1.) What kind of bill they would have proposed that could have actually passed or 2.) that what they really want is another shutdown fight if they’re not going to provide a passable legislative alternative.

      This comment from the feed is exactly the kind of thing I see every day on Twitter, in the comments section of blogs, etc.:

      “The little creep will no doubt be running for the republican nominee in 2016….I wonder how many saps will vote for him?
      I sure wouldn’t….I didn’t last election when he was running for V.P.”

      Congrats! You stayed home and Obama got another four years! Why? Because some sort of mythical conservative Reagan-unicorn who could wave a magic wand and shrink the federal government wasn’t the nominee.

      I’m sure that I can go to the Library of Congress and find a few bills Reagan signed as president that would have tea party members calling him a “little creep.” While Reagan was the governor of California he even signed a bill on no-fault divorce (which he later admitted was a mistake, but you get my point).

      In my book, I’d rather have a guy I agree with 5 times out of 10 than Obama. Is McCain better than Obama? Not much, but yes. Is Romney better than Obama? Yes. Would Paul Ryan be better than Hillary? Of course. But these guys in the message boards would rather stay home in droves, ensuring that we hit rock bottom. But hey, they waved their flag all the way until gravity did its job, so I guess that counts for something.

    2. First, there is no reason to pass this.

      WelI, I have not stayed home from an election because I had only a choice between the evil and the lesser evil. The lesser evil is preferable to the evil. But, I also believe that electing McCain would have produced a president who would have been slower to accomplish what Obama has done, but the growth of government; the case for amnesty and possibly even Socialized Medicine would have been on the table.

      I see very few in government today who understand what has happened to our Republic under Obama. And of those few, fewer still understand the seriousness of what may well be an unrecoverable death spiral. We have no room any more for an office holder whose primary concern is to not do anything too disruptive.

      Those core conservative beliefs I spoke of were not just a list of what Conservatism needs to be, but a collection of individual points of which the absence of any one may be enough to disqualify the Conservative candidate in my book. BUT, I’ll vote for the candidate who kills us the slowest. Let us hope that the laws that provide for elections of our Imperial President still exist after 2016.

    3. WelI, I have not stayed home from an election because I had only a choice between the evil and the lesser evil.

      You didn’t, but many tea party conservatives did. So these very same people are okay with “disruption” that gets a ton of Independent Americans mad at the Republican party (e.g., shutdown), and then they go to the comments section of tea party blogs and say they’ll stay home if they have to vote for someone like Paul Ryan. And then they complain when Democrats are elected. Classic.

      On top of that, they complain about a guy like Chris Christie in New Jersey. I’m no fan of Christie, either, but he’s from New Jersey. Very blue New Jersey. You don’t just start electing Ted Cruz-types over night. You have to slowly move the ball in the right direction. In New Jersey Christie got something like 30% of the black vote. If Republicans did that on a national scale they would win every single election in a landslide. Christie opened the door in New Jersey for minorities to say, “Hmm, maybe it is okay to vote for this team.” And from there you go a little further. You can’t just swing the pendulum all the way over to the other side overnight. The problem is that because this debt bomb has been in the making for decades we don’t have much time. So we’re in between a rock and a hard place because of a mess that we the people created.

      Related: Chris Christie, who called Dr. Mariano a ‘hack,’ owes her an apology after his stomach surgery

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