Is Paul Ryan a crazy wingnut?

Do you know Paul Ryan? I don’t. I mean, I know who he is, but I’ve never met the man. I’ve read some articles and seen him on television a few times but that was about it until a few days ago.

Mitchell Bard at HuffPoop:

After all, that set of values is exactly what Ryan is all about. Republicans might want to sell him as practical or intellectual, but he is nothing more than someone who Nate Silver documented as the most conservative VP nominee of the 20th and 21st centuries. He is nowhere near the mainstream, even (especially) on non-economic issues. This is a man who worships at the altar of Ayn Rand, gave a thousand dollars to Tom DeLay’s defense fund, and supports fetal personhood (a concept so fringe it was voted down by the people of Mississippi), which would ban certain types of birth control.

In short, Ryan holds the positions of a right-wing extremist who poses a threat to basic American values that have sustained the people of this country for the last 80 years (and the welfare of lower, working and middle class Americans, not to mention the basic rights of women), tucked neatly behind a pleasant looking facade.

Well that’s not exactly a glowing reference now it it? But then again the article doesn’t indicate how well Mr. Bard knows Paul Ryan either. Who does know him?

How about the people of his district? They’ve elected him seven times now. You would think they had formed an opinion of him by now.


Wisconsin’s 1st congressional district is a congressional district of the United States House of Representatives in southeastern Wisconsin, covering Kenosha County, Racine County and most of Walworth County, as well as portions of Rock County, Waukesha County and Milwaukee County[1]. The district’s current Representative is Republican Paul Ryan.

A swing district, George W. Bush carried the district in 2004 with 53% of the vote but the district narrowly voted for Barack Obama over John McCain in 2008, 51.40-47.45%.

Ryan doesn’t come from the Deep South or some Bible Belt stronghold. He’s also not from some rural upstate inbreeder part of Wisconsin. His district is squeezed in between Milwaukee and the border with Illinois, about 60 miles north of Chicago. Even though his district voted for Obama in 2008 they still gave Ryan 64% of the vote.

Apparently they like him.

What do you think?

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67 Responses to Is Paul Ryan a crazy wingnut?

  1. Lulu says:

    Since I think much of the Obama appeal to many is based upon his perceived social class (Harvard, academic mother, reportedly astronomic IQ, politically correct bona fides, etc) with an enormous dose of white guilt, I’m waiting for the attacks on Ryan’s dirty rotten Irish Catholic Celtishness. I mean look at him. He is supposed to know his place. Mittens gets a small pass because he is so rich, just like McCain sort of got one because he is a war hero. Palin didn’t because she is a woman with a bunch of kids (how trashy!) and a hick who did not follow the elite path to power by making a bunch of money, marrying it, or sucking up to the elites like Obama. Elites like their pets. Sort of like Bill and Hill who were hated for their less than elite pedigrees, Rhodes scholarships and Ivy League educations be damned. Merit scares them.

    • Lulu says:

      I think we may be seeing a theme starting. Some black celebrities have been saying that he was over-hyped and hurt by it and that he is just human and doing the best he can and should basically be given a pass for being such a dismal failure. The fact that his own campaign and supporters marketed this idiot as the second coming, a Messiah, a genius nonpareil has backfired and is obviously killing him with the tag “disappointment”. They are trying to walk it back and humanize the asshole.

      And with all firsts the historic may be working out in ways that were not intended. By constantly harping Obama being the first black president a psychological barrier has been thrown aside. “Differentness” is not the same obstacle that it was four or five years ago to a lot of people. This is why Romney’s Mormanism is not a big deal to the general public, and why Ryan’s Irish Catholic Celtish middle-class non-elite background won’t matter either. Obama broke a barrier and now it may bite him in the ass. If his campaign harps on the weirdness or class of his opponents, he will be seen as the bigot.

    • catarina says:

      Guess she doesn’t know about those little blue pills guys are taking now.

  2. myiq2xu says:

    Jim Geraghty:

    Sometime in the fall, Saturday Night Live will offer some young comedian in a black wig and a creepy smile, boasting, “My favorite Christmas carol is, ‘Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer!’” and we will be told by every political and cultural columnist that it is the most incisive and revealing bit of comedy out of the show in years, ever since “I can see Russia from my house.”

    (In time, seven in ten Americans will believe that the comedian’s line was actually uttered by the candidate.)

    It will be the lead line of an endless Maureen Dowd and Gail Collins columns. The jokes of the Leno and Letterman monologues will be all about Paul Ryan finding new, inventive ways to inflict pain and death upon old people. (You and I will wonder where all these jokes were when we were debating IPAB, and why “death panels” is incendiary but portraying Ryan as pushing Grandma off a cliff is routine politics.) It will become the overused cliche of dozens of political cartoonists, phoning it in before lunch.

    The portrait coming from the Left may take hold, or it may not. But one thing that is clear is that it is predictable. It is predictable because it is not based upon some revealing truth or the genuine character or ideas of Ryan; it is based upon the needs of the Democratic Party at this moment.

    Oh, and very few of the jokes will be all that funny, of course, but they’re not really designed to be funny; they’re designed to condition the audience to laugh at certain concepts – i.e., the man who has focused more on preserving and saving an unsustainable entitlement programs than anyone else in Washington is driven by a cruel desire to hurt senior citizens.

    • Lulu says:

      They need to get out in front and say that Ryan drew SS survivor’s benefits as a kid because his father died. He wants to see the program survive to take care of kids like him who lose their main support when they are young. His father paid into the system and it was there for people like him. Also his father did not abandon him like someone else we know therefore he has fond memories of his responsible father.

    • Lulu says:

      I’m not sure it is going to work this time. The SNL type audience is the Obamabot audience anyway. They are going to vote for him anyway, or a lot of them aren’t going to vote because the Obama job depression is not working out for them very well. They got their cool prezzie and no job (or a dead end non- career path one) which is not such a great deal. They aren’t donating their lunch money either.

      • carol haka says:

        They aren’t donating their lunch money because Mom and Dad don’t have any to give them – they have been reduced to brown bagging it!


  3. carol haka says:

    I think he’s “dreamy”! He can come on over and inflict pain on this old person – I will supply the S&M equipment!


  4. driguana says:

    The real question is, “Is Obama a crazy wingnut?”. Actually, I think the real question is, exactly what is a “wingnut”? My trusty New World Dictionary defines “wingnut” as : “a nut with flared sides for turning with thumb and forefinger”. Hmmmmmm…

  5. cj says:

    I don’t know, I have to admit the Ayn Rand thing bothers me. Whenever anyone cites her philosophy as a positive example of anything, it sets off red flags for me.

    On-the-other-hand, he’s a very likeable man, he’s not at the top of the ticket, and I’m in an age bracket that probably won’t be affected by the kind of SS & medicare reform he’s proposing. And most importantly, I still think a 2nd term for Obama would be worse.

    • DeniseVB says:

      Rand doesn’t bother me as much as Alinsky or Marx. 😉

    • WMCB says:

      He’s pretty much clarified his supposed “devotion” to Ayn Rand to say he finds her descriptions of the economically stultifying effects of an aggressive State to be dead on. And like Rand (and Orwell, and many others) he sees enforced collectivism as dangerous and destructive of the human spirit. He believes in the creative power of individual entrepreneurs. He has said, however, that he rejects her cynical view of humanity as a whole, and her sneering at voluntary charity and sense of community.

      I think to understand Rand, you have to keep in mind where she came from, and what was happening in the Soviet states. Individualism was being crushed and eliminated in brutal ways that we here cannot imagine. It really was Big Brother, and a soulless machine. People were jailed and killed for airing the wrong thoughts, for believing in rights and hopes and dreams not in service to the State.

      I find reading Rand to be much like reading Malcolm X. I don’t agree with a lot of it. But I understand that though the writing is very reactionary, both Rand and X were reacting with passion to very real dangers and injustices that were horrible enough to evoke extreme response. They were over the top deliberately, to make a point.

      Funny how the left can tout an appreciation for Malcolm X ( who was very extreme) without being accused of wanting to adhere to his every word and suggested action. It’s all about appreciating “context” and not being literal, ya know. But if a conservative/libertarian says he finds Rand inspiring, suddenly he is held to defending every sentence she ever wrote.

      • cj says:

        I’ve read most of Rand’s books, and listened to her in various formats over the years & frankly, she came across as a closed-minded, highly volatile nut case.

        • WMCB says:

          Oh, she was disturbed. So was Macolm X, IMO. Brilliant people on a crusade against injustice often are. But I can appreciate them both, and find their strains of passion re: that which they railed against inspiring. I wouldn’t put either one in charge of nuts and bolts policy. That’s not what wrters like that are for. They are for making you think and question, often uncomfortably so.

        • yttik says:

          I think if you put her in context, most of us who had lived through two revolutions and the eventual rise of communism in our country, would become “highly volatile nutcases.”

          Her fathers pharmacy was confiscated, the family dealt with near starvation, they had to flee the violence in the city, and later when she went to university, that too was taken from her when the communists took over. Eventually she had to escape from her country and come to America. Needless to say, her opinions of government became “highly volatile.”

        • WMCB says:

          ytikk, in the early 80’s we had (throu a series of coincidences) a friend who stayed with us from time to time who had been a pastor in the USSR. He was still allowed to travel there off and on. The suffering and persecution of the church and religious writers in the Soviet Union was enormous. some days he was…..fragile. And painfully volatile. If you’d lived through what he and his family and friends did, you might be also. Reeducation camps, the works. But he had a tale to tell, and things to say. We listened.

          Rand wasn’t writing from a theoretical ivory tower. She was writing from pain, and what she’d seen happen to her country and her family. I cut her some slack for getting a little strident, vehement, and kookoo at times.

        • cj says:

          Well, we’re going to have to agree to disagree on Rand. I can appreciate the influences of her early life, but that in no way mitigates the blossoming of her extreme philosophy or the cult-like following she cultivated.

          Her books are very entertaining & readable, but that only makes her extremism more seductive & dangerous.

        • myiq2xu says:

          I’m a highly volatile nut-case.

          The mistake people all to often make is in expected “truth” and “wisdom” to come in complete packages. They come in bits and pieces.

          There is a lot of history and wisdom in the Bible. There is a lot of silly shit too. The trick is figuring out which is which.

          George Orwell’s 1984 is almost prophetic. But it’s not a prophecy. Hayek was right about how socialism leads to dictatorship. But he was wrong about how allowing any “socialist” changes into society was the inevitable road to serfdom.

          Marx’s critique of 19th Century capitalism was accurate. His prediction of a stateless, classless society was bullshit.

        • cj says:

          Did you ever see her in action myiq? I saw her in a Q&A setting and she was dictatorial, closed-minded, & verbally abusive to the questioners. It was embarrassing to watch.

          I don’t know what gems you think you can pick out of this woman’s objectivism philosophy, that are worth defending, but read what she has to say about gays, lesbians and feminism.

          Just this quip alone turns my stomach: “”the essence of femininity is hero worship — the desire to look up to man” and that “an ideal woman is a man-worshipper, and an ideal man is the highest symbol of mankind.”

          Or this: “In response to questions from the audience at the two Ford Hall Forum lectures she gave at Northeastern University, Rand explained her views in more detail. In her 1968 lecture, she said, “I do not approve of such practices or regard them as necessarily moral, but it is improper for the law to interfere with a relationship between consenting adults.”

          But she did disapprove of laws protecting against discrimination in the private sector.

          Rand published The New Left, a collection of essays that attacked feminism and the sexual liberation movements, including the gay rights movement. Rand called them “hideous” for their demand for what she considered “special privileges” from the government. She addressed homosexuality in the course of an attack on feminism, stating that “[T]o proclaim spiritual sisterhood with lesbians… is so repulsive a set of premises from so loathsome a sense of life that an accurate commentary would require the kind of language I do not like to see in print.”

          In 1971, Rand reiterated this position, then added that homosexuality “involves psychological flaws, corruptions, errors, or unfortunate premises”, concluding that homosexuality “is immoral, and more than that; if you want my really sincere opinion, it’s disgusting.”

          And Lola, if you’re referring to me as “the whistle”, I resent the implication.

        • CJ, you can cherry pick quotes all day long. Here’s Margaret Sanger on infanticide:

          The most merciful thing that the large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.


          Now I don’t believe that’s a true representation of Sanger’s life work anymore than I believe that your quotes of Ayn Rand are truly representative of hers. Both sides use women like these two to make the most extreme, dishonest points. I beg you not to fall for it.

          Ftr, I’m NOT referring to you as the whistle, but I AM suggesting you’re responding to one. YMMV, but I think my point above nails it.

        • cj says:

          I’m not going any further with this Lola, but just know what you’re defending here. I’m not cherry picking quotes, she carries the same sick theme throughout all her books. Even her highly romanticized fictional works reek of the kind of vile anti-feminism that should turn your stomach.

          • myiq2xu says:

            Did you ever see her in action myiq?

            I’ve never seen her nor read any of her books but I am familiar with her ideas via second-hand sources. I am neither endorsing nor condemning her.

            I am a fan of Thomas Jefferson and I have read some of his stuff. The fact that he owned slaves doesn’t invalidate his ideas about freedom and liberty. That is the great thing about ideas – they can be separated from their source and survive independently.

        • cj says:

          I understand that myiq, but at least Thomas Jefferson’s fundamental philosophy of life couldn’t be considered sick & twisted.

          There were long debates about whether the rape scene in The Fountainhead could be considered consentual for instance. And then after her death, the working notes for the novel were published where she said that she “she conceived of Roark as feeling that Dominique “belonged to him”, that “he did not greatly care” about her consent and that “he would be justified” in raping her.

          Then there’s her admiration for William Edward Hickman, forger, armed robber, child kidnapper, & multiple murderer … you really should read this to understand where this woman was coming from:

        • angienc says:

          I’m no fan of Rand — I find her writing style boring. I also believe she is overly worshiped by the right & overly demonized by the left — and the reason I feel that is because her writing isn’t good enough to deserve either. Great artists are often controversial — I really, really like some very controversial writers myself. Rand, however, doesn’t deserve the controversy, IMO.

          Nonetheless, cj, going by your original statement, you are unfair to Ryan — first, the report that he “worships at the alter of Rand” is untrue — he has clarified several times that while he admires aspects of her writing, he diverges with her objectivism philosophy in several key ways. Therefore, I think your attempt to condemn Ryan for admiring *some* aspects of Rand — especially in bringing up her views on gays, etc. is an over extrapolation. Just because a person likes some things about Rand’s writing does not mean that he should painted with every single view on every single subject that she ever held. You know, I really, really like William S. Burroughs, but I’m not a heroin junkie nor a bisexual. And I love Picasso, even though he was an abusive sexist asshole. I’m not pro-sexists because I admire his paintings. I’m not a fan of judging any artist by their statements or actions outside of their art — the art stands by itself. If it doesn’t, then it isn’t good art.

        • cj says:

          What are you talking about Angie? I didn’t condemn Ryan for admiring Rand. I said that the fact that he found *anything* positive about her philosophy raised red flags for me.

          And I mean it. Ayn Rand’s philosophy is sick. The woman based her superman hero on a degenerate psychopath for heaven’s sakes. A sadist who murdered a 12 yr old child, cut off her legs, then threw her body in the street in front of her father. This was her ideal man! She was infatuated with him, she defended the monster, and this kind of sick thinking is incorporated in all her works.

          I’m certainly not saying that Ryan agrees with any of that, but I’d like to know what, in this god-awful woman’s philosophy he *does* admire?

    • That’s responding to the whistle, IMO.

      I recommend watching a documentary on Ayn Rand. At least one good is on Netflix. She was the original case of Palinization. Her ideas make utter sense in the context of her experience in the world, and there is a power to them, and some points of agreement for average folks, especially those with the traditional can-do American mindset.

      I could never get through one of her novels, though I tried, because she marries her ideas on self-reliance with some pretty mundane romance, but they are not ideas to be scared of. Extreme on occasion, granted, but again, in the context of her personal experience, it’s easy to see how she got there. She gets beat up by the left like she does because she had the audacity to be a free-thinking woman, and that’s the stone cold truth. That must never be allowed, and if any woman thinks they can do it, just look at her example. That’s what’s in store.

      • WMCB says:

        Economic power is the only real power in the world. Always has been.

        Funny how women who reject society’s constraints to say, “I’m going to be selfish and sexy and go be a drunk and write and smoke weed and sleep with anyone and everyone!” are bold feminist (albeit “complicated”) visionaries. But women who say, “I’m going to be selfish and free and reject constraints to go accumulate a shitload of MONEY and power!!” are pilloried as cold nutcases.

        Think that’s an accident? I don’t.

      • sonrisa says:

        perhaps, but her description of Howard standing on the Ibeam, surrounded by nothing but blue sky always makes for a powerful visual mage in my mind

  6. yttik says:

    Well, a feminist, liberal, 30 yr Dem like me, is apparently a crazy wing nut and a racist to boot, so the label doesn’t mean much anymore.

    I was bothered by this, “American values that have sustained the people of this country for the last 80 years……. not to mention the basic rights of women..”

    Wait a minute. Abortion is not an American value nor is it THE basic right of women. I’m mean, WTH, “abortion rights, the only right you’ll ever need?” What about the ability to feed yourself, vote, own property, take over 52 seats in congress? Women’s rights are about a lot more than having abortions, or at least that’s how it should be.

    • WMCB says:


    • DeniseVB says:

      I go back to JFK Dem. Pre RoevWade and the rise of the feminist movement. Abortions were called D&C’s if done early enough. Young, poor, frightened women resorted to coat hangars and back alley butchers….many bled to death. What RvW did was decriminalize the procedure so women could seek safer alternatives and good doctors wouldn’t worry about going to jail.

      I’m pro-life, but it doesn’t mean I’m against what goes on between a woman and her doctor. I’m pro-traditional marriage, but it doesn’t mean I’m against SSM. So the true wingnuts are the ones who tell ME how to feel about such issues.

      Oh, and the trolls that come over to the Romney Democrats page TELL US we can’t call ourselves Democrats while saying we’re supporting and voting for a Republican. Yes we can!

    • And I might add what about the American dream of equality? I realize it is popular right now to shit on the American dream, but I believe that it is in our constitution that women have a right to equality, a promise that hasn’t been realized. To heck with abortion (I’m prochoice BTW), Planned Parenthood (I LOVE PP but why the heck should the women’s debate be only on whether govt should fund it. PP is popular enough to self fund w/o govt help) and all of the other ridiculous “women’s” topics.

      I’m with you yttik. I saw this screed this morning in my Columbus dispatch and almost puked. This is not the vision I embraced when I was a 40-year Democrat. The Dems don’t stand for anything anymore. And I like Ayn Rand……

      • WMCB says:

        Honk! I’m pro-choice, and I have a vagina. I have no desire to live a vagina-centric life, or define “women’s issues” as merely or even primarily vagina issues.

        I really don’t think about my vagina all that much, or birth control. Can’t say either has ever been an overwhelming problem or barrier or the be-all end-all of my life as a woman. I think about my fucking retirement account, my grandchild’s future, the price of gas, and whether my son will get a job, and the difficulties of women-owned businesses a hell of a lot more than I contemplate my glorious and special vagina.

        • myiq2xu says:

          I contemplate my glorious and special vagina.

          Penises are better. You always have a toy to play with, you can pee standing up and you can teach them to think for you.

        • myiq2xu says:

          Actually, you don’t even have to teach them. They just start doing it on their own.

        • leslie says:

          I think about my fucking retirement account, my grandchild’s future, the price of gas, and whether my son will get a job, and the difficulties of women-owned businesses a hell of a lot more than I contemplate my glorious and special vagina.


          (I want the thumbs-up back)

    • angienc says:


  7. HELENK says:

    Erskine Bowles ( A DEMOCRAT)

    Ryan’s budget sensible -honest-serious

  8. myiq2xu says:

    I predicted this:

  9. myiq2xu says:


    I guess Mitt should have appointed a Democrat.

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