Analysis of media issues, politics and current events.
Paul Ryan is essentially respected by the GOP for earning a Purple Heart in politics for being a brave and politically wounded fiscal war hero. I’ll explain.
Paul Ryan is held up in the GOP as “the intellectual,” “the rock star,” the future face of the GOP. Yes Ryan is head of the budget committee, but what has he done? Legislatively he’s only passed two bills of his own during his six terms in the House of Representatives. One of those was for a pet project for his hometown. And we haven’t had an annual budget passed in years. Based on those things, he’s not changing the world through his legislative accomplishments. So what is it the GOP likes about him? Why do some even go so far as to compare even him to Reagan? Because Paul Ryan has the one thing many in the GOP don’t have (and some believe about Ronald Reagan)…
A warrior’s bravery on fiscal issues.
Though he may need to tamp it down a little as the Vice Presidential candidate, you can’t deny that Paul Ryan has walked where many of his fellow GOPers fear to tread.
Though many of his GOP colleagues will blurt out tough-talking things about abolishing the EPA, bombing Iran or taking on the “threat” of the Muslim Brotherhood, most would never dream of openly saying that they would take on and cut Medicare or Social Security. To them, that’s truly dangerous thinking. With program-dependent senior citizens such a large and motivated voting base of the GOP, they’d practically be begging for suicide.
Yet Paul Ryan has. Paul Ryan had supported legislation to privatize Social Security (which caused a huge backlash). He supported block grants and vouchers for Medicare and Medicaid (which also caused severe blowback). He’s had the bravery to take a lot of hits for his beliefs. I don’t agree with his philosophy and I think some of his proposals are mathematically flawed and philosophically driven, but I can agree that seeing someone like Ryan who will do something you don’t have the courage to do yourself can make them a hero in your eyes.
That’s where Paul Ryan’s status comes from in the GOP. A fiscal solider that raised his head and said, “I’ll go” and made a stand in the GOP cost-cutting battle and fiscal ideology when other colleagues meekly stared at the ground.
Now as far as real cuts, Paul Ryan didn’t do it. His record in Congress doesn’t reflect it. In fact, his record is the opposite (He asked for Federal stimulus money. Supported TARP, Medicare part D, etc.) But his political bravery stands out. He did say third-rail things that congressional-seat-loving GOPers won’t talk about. He even put his name on these controversial ideas and made himself a huge target for public anger: The Ryan Plan. In the field of battle that is politics, that’s like Rambo holding off an army bad guys on the ground with a pistol to give his fellow GOP colleagues time to get to the rescue chopper and get way to election safety. Because many did run way or distanced themselves from him.
He took the hit by standing up for possibly unpopular policy hits for the GOP team (and now carrying a lot of those wounds into the Romney campaign).
Paul Ryan support was never truly about the Ryan Plan. Though some in the GOP may say the support it in private or half congratulate it as a “bold idea,” many quickly distance themselves from his plan when you point a TV camera at them, especially in districts where Ryan’s ideas are toxic. When they call it or Paul Ryan “bold” it more as sign of respect for his bravery. And they respect him. They wish they were as brave as him, the charisma in being brave like him and see the future of the party in having more people like him.
Paul Ryan is not a GOP hero on ideas. He’s a hero because he showed he has what they do not. Balls (that’s political terminology) to cut popular programs.