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Paul Ryan

It's A Free Blog

Opinion: From 'Chains' to 'Class Warfare,' 2012 Gets Ugly

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Scare tactics are an integral part of every political campaign so we should not be shocked that we are now careening into a deep morass of negativism.

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: Where the Ladies At, GOP?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Don't expect more Republican women to step up to national politics when the ones who do are perennial punching bags for the media.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Hochul: The Ryan Effect

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Blogger Liz Benjamin, host of Capital Tonight, looks at Kathy Hochul's campaigns in 2011 and 2012 and what they might have to say about the effect of Paul Ryan on the national ticket.

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WNYC News

Paul Ryan, Wall Street and Taxes

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

If there's one thing the new Republican candidate for vice president, Paul Ryan, adds to this November’s election, it's a strong contrast with Democrats on the issues of wealth and taxation. With an unusually large number of both very rich and very poor people, it's a choice that will affect the pocketbooks of many New Yorkers.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

The GOP Rallies

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Nia-Malika Henderson, national political reporter for The Washington Post and the anchor blogger for the Post's "Election 2012" blog, discusses how both campaigns are positioning themselves in the wake of Mitt Romney's choice of Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate. Plus, what the selection of Chris Christie to deliver the keynote address at the Republican Convention means.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Ayn Rand and Paul Ryan

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Jennifer Burns, assistant professor of history at Stanford and author of Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right, discusses the life and work of Ayn Rand and her influence on GOP VP candidate Paul Ryan and the political right more broadly.

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: Keynote Pick Means the GOP is Shunning Christie

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

But in the Republican Party, the Keynote is your dance partner for the evening, and your VP is the one you go home with at night - and those aren't the same people.

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The Takeaway

How to Sell Austerity in a Presidential Election

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

When Mitt Romney selected Paul Ryan as his running mate, he inevitably brought along Ryan's budget plan, too. It's a plan that restructures Medicare and Social Security, while at the same time lowering taxes across the board. In short, it dramatically downsizes the role of government in America. But does austerity ever work as a campaign slogan?

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The Takeaway

Ryan's Medicare Rhetoric Could Hurt in Florida

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Experts are saying Paul Ryan is a perfect fit for Iowa. He's Catholic, conservative, and Midwestern. Florida, though, could be another matter. In a state where Medicare cuts are a "third rail issue," Mitt Romney set out on several campaign stops yesterday, conspicuously, by himself.

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Transportation Nation

Analysis: Picking Ryan Means Picking Fight on Transportation

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

 

Congressman Paul Ryan speaks at a Romney Rally in Manassas, Virginia, Sunday. (Photo by Flickr user monkeyz_uncle)

“Sharp” is a word you may have heard a lot these past few days. It’s a favorite descriptor for Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Congressman who became Mitt Romney’s running mate as of Saturday morning. Sharp, say friends and foes alike, are Ryan’s appearance, his mind, his criticisms of President Barack Obama, the spending reductions he favors—and now, somewhat suddenly, the contrast between the policies embodied by the presumptive Republican challengers and those of the incumbent Democrats. It is a perceived sharpness that itself stands in contrast, of course, to Mitt Romney’s pre-Ryan candidacy, which many commentators found too muddled and many conservatives found too moderate.

Take transportation, for instance. Romney, as this blog observed, spoke and behaved as a metro-friendly moderate when he was Governor of Massachusetts. Romney’s transportation budgets were modally balanced, with an emphasis on fixing what already existed, and he worked hard to create a new state agency to encourage smart growth development and sustainability. A candidate who still believed in those principles might not have many sharp things to say about transportation in a debate with President Barack Obama.

The Obama Administration subscribes to the belief, by no means exclusive to liberals, that infrastructure spending is crucial to creating jobs and keeping America competitive. Judging from Paul Ryan’s budget blueprint, the newly tapped V.P. candidate takes issue not with just the dollar figures required to test Obama's idea, but the philosophy itself.

As high-speed rail advocates and transit-friendly bloggers are already aware, Ryan will bring plenty of sharp contrast to the presidential campaign. Yonah Freemark of Transport Politic put it neatly:

“Mr. Ryan voted against every piece of transportation legislation proposed by Democrats when they controlled the lower chamber between 2007 and early 2010, with the exception of a bill subsidizing the automobile industry to the tune of $14 billion in loans in December 2008. This record included a vote against moving $8 billion into the highway trust fund in July 2008 (the overall vote was 387 to 37), a bill that was necessary to keep transportation funding at existing levels of investment. Meanwhile, he voted for a failed amendment that would have significantly cut back funding for Amtrak and voted against a widely popular bill that would expand grants for public transportation projects. He did vote in favor of the most recent transportation bill extension.”

These votes of Ryan's weren’t a matter of toeing the party line, either. Republican House Transportation Chairman John Mica, for instance, took the other side on every one of these votes except the failed amendment cutting funding for Amtrak.

But no budget hawk is perfect. Ryan did show a certain weakness for transportation dollars back when George W. Bush was President. In July of 2005, he joined the 412-8 majority in voting for the infamously pork-laden, “bridge-to-nowhere”-building reauthorization bill SAFETEA-LU. And then he sent out a press release listing all of the earmarks he had won for his district, including $7.2 million for the widening of I-94 between the Illinois state line and Milwaukee, $3.2 million for a bypass around Burlington, and $2.4 million for work on I-43 in Rock County. Small authorizations were also secured for preliminary engineering work on the Kenosha streetcar expansion project and Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee commuter rail. Ryan’s press release boasted that the state of Wisconsin was still a donee state, getting back $1.06 for every federal tax dollar, up from $1.02 the previous authorization. But “there’s no gas tax increase, and it draws on the Highway Trust Fund – not general revenues – for transportation spending, and it’s fair for Wisconsin gas tax payers.”

Five years later, as we know, it became unfashionable, gauche even, to be seen indulging in earmarks and other federal largess. In November 2010, that Tea Party autumn, Republican Scott Walker won the governorship of Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin after a campaign that made a major issue of the Milwaukee-to-Madison high speed rail “boondoggle.” In a television commercial, Walker said he’d rather use the $810 million to fix Wisconsin’s roads and bridges. But the money wasn’t fungible. As Walker and Florida Governor Rick Scott soon had to admit, turning down the money only meant re-gifting it to high speed rail projects in other, bluer, more grateful states.

Paul Ryan tried to change that. Just a few days after Walker’s election, he and two fellow Wisconsin Republicans co-sponsored legislation in the House to order returned high-speed rail money deposited into the general fund for the purposes of deficit reduction. The bill would have changed the political dynamic of federal high-speed rail funding had it passed, placing new pressure on any governor who accepted those grants. For whatever reason, the bill never left committee.

When Ryan became Chairman of the House Budget Committee, in 2011, he put forth a 2012 budget that, reflecting Ryan’s commitment not to raise the gas tax or draw from the general fund, reduced transportation spending from its 2011 level of $95 billion gradually down to $66 billion in 2015. That was at a time when the Obama Administration was proposing a six-year infrastructure outlay of $476 billion “to modernize the country’s transportation infrastructure, and pave the way for long-term economic growth.”

But there’s the rub. Chairman Ryan refutes that premise. In his budget, transportation spending is not economic investment. To quote the 2013 budget:

In the first two years of the Obama administration, funding for the Department of Transportation grew by 24 percent–and that doesn’t count the stimulus spike, which nearly doubled transportation spending in one year. The mechanisms of federal highway and transit spending have become distorted, leading to imprudent, irresponsible, and often downright wasteful spending. Further, however worthy some highway projects might be, their capacity as job creators has been vastly oversold, as demonstrated by the extravagant but unfulfilled promises that accompanied the 2009 stimulus bill, particularly with regard to high-speed rail.

The document goes on to say that the country’s fiscal challenges make “long-term subsidization infeasible,” and that “high-speed rail and other new intercity rail projects should be pursued only if they can be established as self-supporting commercial services.” (It’s unclear whether Ryan believes that new highways should also be built as self-supporting commercial services. But he should give Rick Perry a call before saying so publicly.)

With Ryan now on the Republican ticket, one can see more clearly the (sharper) contours of the general election debate, and infrastructure spending might just have a starring role. It’s there in the debate over the federal budget, and the federal funding role. It’s at the crux of the hullabaloo over “You didn’t build that” (a government theory Elizabeth Warren articulated better). And it will be there when Paul Ryan debates Amtrak Joe.

Matt Dellinger is the author of the book Interstate 69: The Unfinished History of the Last Great American Highway. You can follow him on Twitter.

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It's A Free Country ®

Ryan Lizza on What Makes Paul Ryan Tick

Monday, August 13, 2012

The death of Paul Ryan's father had a profound impact on the Congressman's politics, which emphasize individualism over collectivism.

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It's A Free Country ®

Opinion: Ryan Veep Pick Means 2012 Will be a Real Choice

Monday, August 13, 2012

In picking Ryan, Romney cemented his conservative base, he showed he was capable of surprising us, and he signaled that the nature of government should be a subject of debate this election.

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The Takeaway

Wisconsinites React to the Romney-Ryan Ticket

Monday, August 13, 2012

To most of America, Mitt Romney’s new running mate is still a relatively fresh face, but some voters have known Rep. Paul Ryan for over a decade. What do they have to say about him? 

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The Takeaway

Looking at the Romney-Ryan Ticket

Monday, August 13, 2012

What are the political consequence of having Paul Ryan on the Republican ticket? How will it make a difference in November?

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Open Prep: 15 Things to Read, See and Hear About Paul Ryan

Monday, August 13, 2012

Mitt Romney has chosen Wisconsin representative Paul Ryan for his vice presidential pick. Reihan Salam of the National Review will be discussing the pick on Monday's Brian Lehrer show. In the meantime, here's some background reading on Ryan.

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It's A Free Country ®

What Ryan's Prescription on Healthcare Could Mean for New Yorkers

Monday, August 13, 2012

In choosing Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate, Mitt Romney is putting the fate of much of the American healthcare system at the top of this year's political agenda. In the New York metro area, where healthcare is a dominant industry and an expensive proposition for consumers and taxpayers, whichever policy prevails will be uniquely felt.

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WNYC News

Romney Names Paul Ryan as Vice Presidential Running Mate

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney introduced Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his vice presidential running mate on Saturday, turning to the architect of a deeply conservative and intensely controversial long-term budget plan to remake Medicare and cut trillions in federal spending.

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The Takeaway

Conservatives Push for a Romney-Ryan Ticket

Friday, August 10, 2012

Election Day is less than 100 days away, and the pressure is on Mitt Romney to announce a running mate. Many conservatives think Rep. Paul Ryan fits the bill.

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: Democrats and Republicans Both Practice 'Fiscal Child Abuse'

Friday, May 11, 2012

The charlatans in office, Obama and the Romney campaign included, are going out of their ways to make the economic futures of their kids significantly worse.

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: Austerity Is Bad Policy and Bad Politics

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

It's a political minefield in certain parts of our country to cite Europe as a positive example of anything. Fortunately, now is a moment when Europe is a useful counter-example in a conversation that aligns good politics and good policy.

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