Analysis of media issues, politics and current events.
Congressman Paul Ryan and I went to school together around the same time back at Miami of Ohio. Late 80s. This article “FussBudget How Paul Ryan Captured the G.O.P.,” seems to depict Paul Ryan in a way I can definitely see Miami University in Oxford’s imprint on him.
Yes, he was clearly affected by finding is father dead in bed at 16, but it sounds like it put him on a search for answers and meaning in life. A void that Miami University helped fill. Filling him with purpose and the “religion” of rugged individualism.
Miami of Ohio (Miami University) a great school. Though Lizza’s article makes a comment about having predominately liberal faculty, that definitely wasn’t the student population back then. Young Republicans were the far bigger organization of campus. By far. Always Young Republican meetings. Can’t even remember an advertised Young Democrats meeting. A college so Republican, we had large dorm parties to watch and cheer Reagan bombing Libya. So G.O.P. friendly, then Vice President George Bush campaigned for President to large adoring crowds there. Openly Democrats and those who didn’t fit in found their way to the beautiful and hidden part of the school that served as a bubble within the Republican bubble. Western Campus. This was the environment Paul Ryan experienced at Miami University.
Professor Hart, his political mentor on campus who I also remember and the big Ayn Rand fascination Ryan has I’m sure also came from Miami University (I first read Atlas Shrugged because have the guys around kept talking about it). Young kids on campus, including myself, looked at it as the Businessman’s Bible. One of my best friends from Miami still loves it.
During Paul Ryan’s time at school, it was a time where most of us admired Alex P. Keaton’s business-loving young Republican character from Family Ties, Reagan’s Morning in America, watching businessman making staggering amounts of many and becoming superstars. And who was going to go work on Wall Street. So business minded, people who were going in to or changed their major to teaching, was considered like ringing the bell in S.E.A.L. training. You washed out. Don’t have the right stuff. That was the environment. And the birthplace of Paul Ryan as the person he is today, If his family’s past was the mother of cultural values, Miami University definitely is the father of his political views.
The real question. Will Paul Ryan follow his father’s footsteps? He’s already publicly distancing himself from his expressed love for Ayn Rand. Morning in America when Ryan grew up is now Late evening in Detroit for some Americans. And the ideas of business-driven solutions, personal responsibility and business like belt tightening he learned in college may be hard to uphold and defend in an age when people feel further and further from the shore from jobs and fiscal security.
Plus, in watching Ryan’s career and reading this article. I don’t think fellow G.O.P. Congressmen truly believe in his budget. I think they admire his politically brave stance. After all, Congress is nothing more than an organized appetite. And Ryan is asking them to stop eating fiscal sweets. To step on the analogy, that’s a hard line to swallow. Though expressing support of Ryan’s plan has become a litmus test for G.O.P. When you go into the details, much fewer seem to embrace it in practice. And run away from it come budget time or campaigning.
It reminds me a bit of Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire. When Jerry Maguire “lost the ability to bullshit” and then wrote and gave his Manifesto to all the other sports agents about treating caring about clients and it’s not all about money. People clapped in public-pat him on the back and lauded him-then promptly fired him in private. See the video below. In reality, Jerry and perhaps Ryan finds out good, honestly felt words that are bad for how we really do business.
I think in such an environment for Ryan, that’s already softened his budget cutting approach. He’s tried to mollify them by shifting cuts to save the treats the G.O.P. can’t seem to live and support his plan at all without-defense spending and and budget raising tax cuts.
Will the Miami University grad permanently change Washington and the G.O.P like Lizza says? Or will Washington change Paul Ryan? Or will he suffer Jerry Maguire’s fate and be praised then fired for his direct approach?