The exercise this morning was mostly dissatisfying. I heard a lot of "bold choice" rhetoric from both sides of the aisle (really, Dems? that's the phrase you want to use?), as well as a lot of talk about Medicare and Medicaid (really? that's the only focus?). The most palatable to the ear were Bill Bennett on the right and Howard Dean on the left (though I must point out, having been the education news reporter for the Wyoming Eagle back when Bill Bennett was Secretary of Education - and having to cover his simplistic "What Works" booklet - focus on parents - as a precursor to educational spending cuts at the federal level - really? - Bill Bennett is going to lecture us on looking at substance rather than soundbites?)
Also, note to "Meet the Press" - never ever sit Rachel Maddow right next to That Guy again (Rich Lowry, apparently). If they must be next to each other, at least put the corner of a table between them. If you insist on sitting them like a two-person panel that way, I think next time one of them might actually hit the other one. I can't even say for sure, right now, which one will land the first blow.
Here is what I did not hear on those shows (and yet was able to glean yesterday - and yes, over the years, but mostly yesterday - from just skimming the Web):
- Ayn Rand is the single most influential person in forming Paul Ryan's political thinking;
- Under Paul Ryan's tax plan from 2010, Mitt Romney would have paid less than 1 percent in taxes in 2010 (rather than the low 13.9 percent he did pay);
- Paul Ryan's plan pays for that decrease by raising taxes on the middle class;
- Ryan's plan cuts significant Pell Grants to about a million or so students;
- The Catholic Bishops said Paul Ryan's budget "failed to meet moral criteria" because it disproportionately cut programs that served the poor and vulnerable (I did hear that once this a.m.);
- Paul Ryan was on the Simpson-Bowles committee but voted against the ultimate proposal because it recommended raising taxes on the rich; and
- Paul Ryan was one of the Republican leaders that caused the stalemate last summer that caused the United States to lose its triple A financial rating. (Remember how Boehner kept thinking he had a deal, and then he wouldn't? He'd lost control of the House?) (Update: I know I saw this one - am not finding support for it now - am not finding contradictory stuff either.... other than that he knew we'd need to raise the debt ceiling)
Here is an interesting article by Howard Fineman about a conservative friend of his who listed the reasons why this is a bad choice - the friend stays anonymous: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/howard-fineman/rep-paul-ryan-vp_b_1768137.html
I think of Paul Ryan (the Ayn Randian) like I think of Ron Paul (the Libertarian) - that it is good to have outlier voices in Congress, to add to the debate of where we are headed - but I sure don't want that voice to be my President (or one step away).