Those high school kids knew their man. In just one week as presumed running mate, Paul Ryan has proved he is every bit the manic liar and suck up that Romney is, doing his best to prove the claim made on this blog last week, that he was chosen to get him out of a leadership role in Congress, not into the vice-presidency.
Rachel Maddow immediately slammed Ryan over his false reputation as fiscal conservative. She found that during the Bush years he voted without concern for deficits, including a very big vote for Medicare Part D prescription benefit, an expansion of entitlements that should have gone against Ryan's self-proclaimed devotion to Ayn Rand, whose cult of selfishness and hate of altruism has always been a big hit on Wall Street. Ryan disavowed his commitment to Ayn Rand even though it was on tape. When it was discovered he said that the President's stimulus was bad and wouldn't work, but requested (and got) money for his district to create much needed jobs under that stimulus, Ryan lied about that too. Indeed, there were even stories that he failed to disclose to the Romney team as part of his financial vetting, that he and his wife just received a large inheritance from her parents.
The only thing that seemed to hurt the team, politically, was Ryan's proposal to privatize Social Security and Medicare. Romney has tiptoed around the Medicare issue while loudly blaming the president for getting rid of Medicare Advantage subsidies in his health care plan. What the president did, was eliminate the special subsidies paid to private companies to create Medicare Advantage plans. In 1997, Congress passed Medicare Advantage, giving seniors the option of using privately run plans instead of traditional government Medicare. To get insurers to offer plans, Congress granted them an extra subsidy in 2003 and slowly over time, a quarter of seniors have migrated to these plans. The result is that the government has been paying more per capita to Medicare Advantage insurers than it does for original Medicare. Without the subsidy, the private insurers will likely leave the field to the government, and the people who have Medicare Advantage plans will be back to original Medicare. That will hardly be a loss to them, however, since MA providers were not providing better coverage than original Medicare. That is where Romney gets his large numbers that Obama is cutting from Medicare. He's not cutting it from Medicare but from Medicare Advantage's extra subsidy to private providers.
Meanwhile, Romney has gone so far as to disavow his protege's budget, apparently without any objection from Ryan.
Since Romney is clearly using Ryan, then, what does Ryan get out of this arrangement? Well, for one thing, he only has one butt to brown nose, whereas in Congress there are Boehner and Cantor at the very least.
Second, if Romney wins, Ryan establishes himself as the heir apparent. Well, maybe. That has not always worked out for vice-presidents (see Gore). Even when they win the mantle, winning elections is hard when your job is inessential. It hardly seems likely Romney will include him in the inner circle of advisers.
If Romney loses, however, there is more room for maneuver. There is no "leader" in the Republican party right now, as the free for all of the primary indicated. The money men don't like that, and Ryan, who was until last week relatively undamaged by scrutiny, may have seemed to fit the bill. Ryan won't be able to sit around as vice-president and make that work. He would have to have additional roles like party leader. But it could be done.
In the meantime, the Brown-Noser Bears Romney and Ryan will be out deceiving the public, trying to persuade people they stand for anything other than the looting of the nation by the rich. And they even managed to find hairy shirtless pix of Ryan, because in today's world, the Bear look sells.