Sunday, August 12, 2012

Paul Ryan, an apparently bright man of principle

Mitt Romney has picked his running mate.

It's Paul Ryan (*1970), a trained political scientist and economist, a member of the House and the boss of the budget committee over there. But given Mitt Romney's... well... ambiguity on many issues, this choice has been a very good surprise for many folks. I won't discuss all the reasons because I don't know Ryan too well...

To have an idea how he speaks, listen to his comments that welfare should be measured by the outcomes and not by the amount of money that was spent.

Also importantly, as Pierre Gosselin discusses in quite some detail, Ryan voted against pretty much all fashionable bills designed to weaken the economy, distort the markets, and use CO2 as an excuse.

After the first Climategate, he was very aware of its meaning and of the importance of the scientific integrity in the scientific process. At that time, he wrote:
To the detriment of the American people, environmental issues have fallen victim to the hyper-politicization of science. The Journal Times editorial board sensibly cautioned both sides of the political divide against this unfortunate trend (“Science must trump spin,” The Journal Times, 12/3/09). At issue in the Journal Times’ recent editorial and on the minds of many Copenhagen observers are published e-mail exchanges from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU). These e-mails from leading climatologists make clear efforts to use statistical tricks to distort their findings and intentionally mislead the public on the issue of climate change. The CRU e-mail scandal reveals a perversion of the scientific method, where data were manipulated to support a predetermined conclusion. The e-mail scandal has not only forced the resignation of a number of discredited scientists, but it also marks a major step back on the need to preserve the integrity of the scientific community. While interests on both sides of the issue will debate the relevance of the manipulated or otherwise omitted data, these revelations undermine confidence in the scientific data driving the climate change debates.”
Nice. This is how Ryan responded to a silly climate bill in 2009 (one minute):

Via Marc Morano.


  1. I'm for Ryan, but I think "trained political scientist and economist" might be overdoing it. He has a B.A. in economics and political science.

    He speaks realistically about the long-term fiscal problem. This takes courage. It's almost hard to call him as a politician. But he has served 7 consecutive terms in a Democratic district, and the smallest share of the vote he ever received was 57%. I wonder how he did that!

    The fact that Romney picked him suggests that Romney is not the wimp some people think he is.

    I wouldn't be surprised if Biden tries to get out of the TV debates. We know Biden is an idiot, but Ryan will make it glaring. I have a vision of Biden being so rattled that he trips and falls on his face on the stage, or starts giggling hysterically and has to be led away.

  2. call him as a politician

    I meant "call him a politician."

  3. If you get an account with Disqus, you will see the word "Edit" at the bottom of your posts and you won't have to trouble yourself with writing out an erratum again :)

  4. With this pick we can talk about the forced retirement of the "Jim Hansen"s in our federal bureaucracies without the medias being able to dismiss us as the wild fringe of the right wing, which they like to do as opposed to discussing substantive issues.

    We have received licence, with a very good chance of cleaning out the rat cage of climate change believers polluting the body politic.

  5. It is clear that Ryan is better informed on Climategate and the AGW fraud than Romney but he is anything but principled and not a conservative in the traditional sense of the meaning. After all, he begged for Congress to pass TARP, voted for Medicare Part D, No Child Left Behind, and voted to bail out everyone.

    And Ryan has been on the wrong side of votes that involve Constitutional rights. He voted for the NDAA, CISPA, and the PATRIOT Act. He voted to give more power to the Department of Homeland Security and to extend military commitments in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. And he had no problem with giving the President the power to make appointments without approval by the Senate.

    From where I stand as an outsider I would say that the election has moved away from being about the economy and more about Romney and the evils of Capitalism. The same political machine that took down the Clintons has its sights on Romney and Romney/Ryan do not have the consistent principles to put much of a fight. The election has moved away from being about ideas and more about which candidate the independent voter hates least. Romney better hope for an economic collapse because it is the best chance that he has.

  6. He did it by being an insider and by voting with the party. He has never held a real job outside of the Beltway and has the right backers to keep getting him elected. And those who keep talking about his 'conservative' credentials seem to ignore the fact that he lined up behind Bush and voted for massive budget killers like TARP, Medicare Part D, No Child Left Behind, DHS, the Patriot Act, etc.

  7. The USA PATRIOT Act (commonly known as the Patriot Act) was signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 26, 2001.

    One month after WTC disaster what are you not going to do as a freshman congressman? You are not going to vote against your own party's President, on a key national security issue, supported by 80% of the public.
    Not going to do that.

  8. I think the reason Ryan was picked is because his tax plan calls for eliminating the capital gains tax entirely. That is good for Romney (and his backers), as it means they would not have to pay any income taxes at all.

  9. Right. He also supports NDAA, which allows snatch & grabs and assassinations of American citizens with no due process. Just another run-of-the-mill Neocon. There's very little difference between the Obama and Romney camps.

  10. Yes, Eugene, thanks. I have an account, but unless I log in before I post the message, logging in will not enable me to edit it. And that's what was wrong. I finally figured out that I needed to log in to edit, but not before I had seen it fail with "post-logging in."

  11. I have a novel idea. Let us keep things going the way that they are and see what happens. Nothing changes minds faster than empirical evidence that none can cover up, spin or smear.

  12. Does it bother you that he is an unabashed follower of Ayn Rand, whom I regard as a cult leader and authoritarian ideologue. Their are healthier exemplars of that general philosophy, especially for full-grown adults.

    1. No, because I’m not focussed on allegations about Ayn Rand’s personality, but rather on her philosphy, which I agree with. Which of her philosophical ideas do you disagree with, and why?

  13. There is very little difference if you are a crack addict. Romney wants to lower taxes across the board and roll back regulations and "Obamacare", which will make it much easier for businesses to operate. Obama wants to increase the already burdensome regulations and increase the tax rate on the "rich" while increasing the US Debt by another $6 trillion. Sure there is not a difference at all.

  14. Alright!

    Next step is picking a cute pic of a smoking frog for your avatar. Would you like me to find one for you? Perhaps a stop-action photograph showing the frog at the moment it's blown apart?

  15. off topic: have you heard about this new Nature's alarmist tipping point buzz: "approaching a state shift in Earth’s biosphere"? ?

  16. I think Ryan was a great choice and I agree with the commenter who said Romney is not as wimpy as people are making him out to be. The Dems should be both worried and ashamed of the Obama campaign -- the lies and name-calling tactics are really beyond the pale. The idea that Bain Capital is the biggest message Obama can come up with as an argument for his own re-election says it all.

  17. Ryan face looks to me to be one of dim and/or somewhat deranged person.

  18. As you accurately conclude, Meridian Seward, there is no difference
    between the Republicans and the Democrats anymore, beside from social
    issues that the government shouldn't be involved in anyway. The two
    parties spend all their time dividing Americans over the most polarizing
    issues they can find (abortion/gay rights/etc.) and ignoring the topics
    Americans agree on (fixing the rigged economy / ending the wars).

    Anyone still playing the fake Left vs Right game needs to wake up.
    Here's a hint on who's going to win the election in November -- Goldman
    Sachs. They've already bought it.

    The ruling class and their political spokesmen have figured out that
    the best way to win an election is to be sure you control both choices.
    How many times are you going to be suckered into fighting against your
    neighbors over which party is going to get to screw you over? Kind of
    hard to mount a resistance to the scam when half the country is fighting
    the other half, isn't it?

    Voting when you're only given one choice is just legitimizing the
    scam. What if everyone refused to vote for the "lesser of two evils"?
    What happens if no one votes in November? How about a campaign for "None
    of the Above"?

    "If voting made any difference, they wouldn't let us do it." -- Mark Twain

  19. I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.
    It's in their oath of office. Here's Obama asserting the right to kill both native and naturalized citizens engaged in active war against the United States.

    He Hellfired the leader of Al Queda ops in Yemen along with their press agent (heads up to the NY Times war correspondent ;)
    Still, being that Obama is the only example of a U.S. President asserting this as within the scope of his office, I don't see how a run of the mill Neocon {and fuck you very much for using whatever insult your pinhead could gather on the spur of the moment}, who is loath to use government power under any circumstances, much less to extra-judicially execute U.S. citizens abroad, would be the same, or how it improves your position as (I guess) a US citizen to have the lawless Obama continue.

  20. Look whose talkin.

  21. sadly, the media is completely in Obama's pocket, with several media sources working with the campaign to push smears like that Mitt Romney's toxic racism causes cancer.

  22. Paul Ryan, as everyone knows is a fitness enthusiast, and a lean, mean exercising machine, who believes everyone should be in a top shape, including theoretical physicists :-) In at least one of his quotes he touches on what America used to be like : "Free enterprise empowers entrepreneurs who have ideas and imagination, investors who take risks, and workers who hone their skills and offer their labor". Let's hope not all is lost yet ! When one looks at US v. China huge trade imbalances, and to add insult to injury - US than has to borrow trillions of dollars from Chinese coffers - the very money Americans sent to China through the purchases of Chinese goods in there big box stores, it is obvious such a relation is unsustainable for long.
    Whether November election changes this course of a sail boat waiting for some wind remains to be seen..

  23. Eugene - Lubos already supplied me with a picture some time ago. Thanks, anyway, though.

  24. I rather agree. Have you read Perfectly Legal by David Johnson? He defines "the donor class" as the ten or so thousand wealthiest families in America who bankroll both political parties and set the political agenda. It's what they keep off that counts most: immigration, trade, and tax reform.

  25. Luke - I don't think it's been shown that Ryan is an "avid follower" of Rand. If I were in his place, they'd y call me an "avid follower," and they'd think they had greater justification for it than with Ryan. (I actually knew "someone," and it was not by accident.)

    But they would be wrong.

    I'm not even a non-avid Rand follower, if that means someone who believes that her philosophy is entirely valid. I think there's something wrong with it, but I'm not learned enough in philosophy, and perhaps not smart enough, to figure that out.

    Many philosophers have gotten some things right, without getting everything right. The same goes for Rand.

    One sympathetic critic of Rand said that she seemed to have stopped reading philosophy around 1940, so she may never have learned that some notables in philosophy came to agree with her in some respects (although they never mentioned her). For example, W.V.O. Quine, like Rand, argued that the analytic-synthetic dichotomy was invalid, although he argued it in a rather more elaborate way than Rand had.

    1. Which of her ideas is there something wrong with, and what is it that makes you think so?

  26. His political opinions are Okregarding global warming, however that's a rather unimportant issue. His foreign and domestic policy is far more important, and here Ryan fails. He's a radical warmonger, he supported the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and also supported the PATRIOT Act and other various laws designed to wiretap the U.S. citizens and deprive them of the last remnants of freedom.

  27. But you're against war under any circumstances, Cynthia.
    Hitler and Saddam, would have loved you. Pol Pot prospered on your beliefs. The killing fields are full because people believed like you.

  28. Ryan said our rights come from nature and God. If he was a follower of Rand he wouldn't believe in God.

    1. Ryan is not an Objectivist -- i.e., someone who agrees with the essentials of her philosophy; but he does admire her, which I think speaks well for him.

  29. He always struck me as looking like a brownshirt Nazi from Hollywood casting.

  30. @ Luke Lea -- When is the American public going to realize that Washington is not
    running the Country? The financial houses are calling all the shots.
    They own and operate our politicians, including Obama and both animal
    parties. Who else could bring not only the American economy, but the
    World's economy to it's knees and get a free ticket to ride after doing

    These financial pirates are freely plundering the masses, using all
    their new tools, derivatives, swaps, commodity manipulation, graciously
    given to them by their puppets in Washington. They also have the green
    light to do so from the regulatory agencies, who seem to be allergic to
    the idea of doing their job.

    These predators are cleaning all the meat off the bones of those at
    their mercy, i.e. the Masses. They are the sponsors and producers of
    high cost commodities, which has prevented real recovery, as it has
    enabled them to enrich themselves at the expense of all others,
    resulting in stagflation. By the way, much of what they do is just money
    shifting, transactions that add no value to the system.

    No lawmaker seems to have the courage to bring some fairness back
    into the system, with some legislation and regulation that makes a
    difference. Until these guys are checked, there will be no real
    recovery, because their greed is sucking all the energy from the real