Mitt Romney has been dominating the headlines lately – and not the good kind, like you want. Poor Mitt and his terrible campaign have just gone from bad to worse. He became famous for brownface, insulted half of the country while acting like a spoiled rich guy, and he even apparently forgot why you can’t open windows on an airplane.
So what’s Paul Ryan been up to? As it turns out, a lot. And none of it is good.
Ryan Used Deaths in Libya to Insult Obama
After Mitt Romney came under fire for his ill-planned remarks attacking the president’s foreign policy as the cause of the Middle East riots, Paul Ryan decided on a strategy that is awfully popular with Republicans lately. Politicians call it “doubling down,” but its more casual name is “sticking to your blatant wrongness and/or offensive bigotry because you are stubborn rather than admit being wrong.”
Ryan did just that three days after Romney’s nearly universally panned press conference. In a stump speech in Florida, Ryan accused the president of “project[ing] weakness” and rehashed Romney’s popular “apology tour” bit. Ryan also claimed that Obama was failing to deal with the situation by remaining on the campaign trail, saying, “After all of the problems weâ€™ve witnessed over the last couple of days, our esteemed leader, the apologizer in chief, he should be dealing with this problem. But he went to Las Vegas. Well, you know the country might be better off if he would just stay in Las Vegas, then.”
Unsurprisingly, Ryan’s remarks didn’t get a lot of attention. Not only is he not the presidential nominee, his speech was sandwiched perfectly between Mitt Romney’s foreign policy fumble and his domestic policy disaster.
He Attended A Really Shady Rally For Extreme Conservatives
Paul Ryan is no stranger to extreme conservatism. That’s why the Romney campaign picked him. But his trip to the Values Voter Summit – despite entreaties from multiple LGBT rights groups – was a new low.
The Values Voter Summit has been held every year since 2006 by the Family Research Council. The FRC is a PAC that lobbies against abortion and rights for the LGBT community. In 2010, the group was classified as an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The group believes, among other things, that the US should enforce “criminal sanctions against homosexual behavior.” The FRC also routinely references a fabricated link between gays and lesbians and pedophilia, claiming that the primary goal of the LGBT community isn’t equal protection under the law, but “indoctrinating children” with their “gay agenda.”
So it’s no surprise that LGBT groups asked the VP nominee to refrain from attending the event. It’s also no surprise that he went – after all, Ryan voted against the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and supports an amendment to the Constitution that bans same sex couples from marrying in all 50 states. The Romney camp has obviously never entertained the possibility of getting a large portion the LGBT vote, but that doesn’t make Ryan’s appearance any better, or in touch with the electorate. After all, more Americans support marriage equality than oppose it.
He Got Booed By Nana
Elderly voters participate more than any other age group in every election, and they’re a huge part of the Republican base. So obviously, as an extension of the Romney campaign, Paul Ryan went to Florida to upset them.
The crowd Paul Ryan addressed an AARP conference in Florida booed as he broached the subject of Medicare. (Or as the National Review put it, “Boos subside as Ryan explains the truth.” If you say so, NR.) Ryan called for a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which many seniors in the audience booed. He laughed that he expected a mixed reaction and assured the audience that he had an explanation. But when he explained that the $716 billion that the ACA takes from Medicare waste to pay to insure more Americans would be better spent paying down the deficit, the crowd didn’t seem any more impressed.
Maybe Ryan was just really impressed with Mitt Romney’s speech to the NAACP – which would make him the only person impressed with Mitt Romney’s speech to the NAACP.
Voted Against Welfare Reform
Paul Ryan returned to DC briefly off of the campaign tour to cast an important vote – against the kind of welfare reforms he once supported.
Here’s some background: states receive federal funding for welfare by meeting certain requirements, like most federal programs. Part of those requirements include what are called work requirements, which in essence dictate how many welfare recipients must have jobs to supplement or replace their welfare subsidies in a given period of time. The program also dictates how states should do this. A few states – Utah, Nevada, California, Connecticut, and Minnesota – appealed to the federal government to branch out from those specific methods in the work requirements so that the states could experiment with new methods of connecting recipients to job. Two of those states have Republican governors.
And that’s not surprising. Since the mid-1990′s, Republicans have been pushing for welfare reforms that give states more freedom to assess their own needs. Mitt Romney asked for such a waiver himself in 2005 when he was the governor of Massachusetts. Paul Ryan voted for those waivers in 2003 and 2005. But as soon as the Obama administration proposed the plan, the restrictive part of welfare that Republicans railed against for so long suddenly became “one of the most successful parts of the law,” according to House Speaker John Boehner and other top Republicans.
Sure, Ryan didn’t have a choice in whether or not to vote against this legislation. The Romney campaign has made multiple ads misrepresenting the Obama administration’s stance on welfare work requirements. If Ryan voted honestly in a way that was consistent with his record, he would be going rogue on the entire campaign, but it’s still eye-rollingly hypocritical.
Vowed To “Get Rid Of Contraception On Day One”
Would it be a post Tea Party America if a conservative politician had a big week without contraception? Of course not.
And Paul Ryan delivered. The VP hopeful who has co-sponsored bills about redefining rape with Todd Akin and referred to rape as just “another method of conception” is not a friend to uteruses. And neither is his runningmate, who cavalierly said of Planned Parenthood, “We’ll get rid of that.”
But should Paul Ryan, the alleged “budget hawk” and GOP economy wunderkind, have limiting access to contraception as his number one priority? Probably not. And yet, he told an audience in Ohio that the requirement for health insurance to actually provide the health care that millions of women pay for and need would be “gone on day one.” Because as every budget hawk knows, the key to jobs is to go back to the days when women paid hundreds of dollars in health insurance premiums every month and still had no birth control coverage. As any economist worth their salt will confirm, nothing stimulates job growth and productivity like unplanned pregnancy and horrific menstrual cramps.
The Romney campaign has made it clear that voters of color, poor voters, and women voters are of no consequence to them. But is birth control, a decidedly non-controversial issue, really enough to rally the elderly white male base? If not, Ryan should lay off the tired ranting aimed at a target that isn’t there – that’s Clint Eastwood’s role in the GOP.
One of the many dangers of a candidate as incompetent as Mitt Romney is that his blunders tend to take up most of the spotlight. No one should forget that there are two people on this ticket, and they’re both planning to do some horrendous things if they get into the Oval Office.