Global Thinker Paul Ryan

Paul RyanAlec MacGillis at The New Republic has now written about, Paul Ryan, Global Thinker? In the article, he alerts us to a new list from Foreign Policy, 100 Top Global Thinkers. Such exercises are always stupid. Earlier this year, I wrote about The Rolling Stone 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time, Pathetic Rock Journalism at Rolling Stone. In that article, I was particularly upset that George Harrison was listed at number 11. But I have to give The Rolling Stone credit: George Harrison was, in fact, a guitarist. I don’t think that Paul Ryan qualifies as a global thinker.

The article starts by listing Ryan’s bona fides as a budget guy: cut Medicaid by a third—check; privatize Medicare—check; savage all remaining programs other than the military—check! According to Foreign Policy these are “bold” ideas that Ryan gradually got the Republican Party to embrace.

Wait, wait, wait! Just hold the fuck on there! Stop!

We haven’t even gotten to the foreign policy part of the argument and the magazine has already piled the bullshit so high I can’t see. What they fail to mention is that the first step in Ryan’s budget balancing plan is to cut income tax rates. So let’s look at this plan. It lowers taxes (especially on the rich) and cuts spending on programs for the poor and middle class. This is what Republicans always want. This is not a budget; this is a Republican wish list. So Foreign Policy magazine gets a very slow start by not understanding anything about Paul Ryan’s domestic agenda.

Half way through their argument, the editors finally get to Paul Ryan’s global thinking. They do this by lying, “In the 2012 presidential election, contender Mitt Romney didn’t just champion Ryan’s ideas—he tapped the 42-year-old libertarian-leaning lawmaker as his running mate, catapulting the debate over the size and scope of the U.S. government to the top of the political agenda.” This one isn’t even close. MacGillis responds, “Well, not exactly—Romney tapped Ryan and didn’t champion his ideas.”

But Foreign Policy isn’t done yet:

“The choice is whether to put hard limits on economic growth or hard limits on the size of government, and we choose to limit government,” Ryan declared during his speech at the Republican National Convention, where organizers prominently displayed a humming national debt clock.

You see it, don’t you? Ryan gave a speech—at the RNC. And it was in front of a big debt clock! Q-E-Fucking-D!

There is even more though. And this is great because you can tell this was written before the election by someone who thought that Romney would win.

“Letting budgetary concerns drive national-security strategy means choosing decline,” Ryan declared in his budget, proposing cuts that would effectively slash funding to entities such as the U.S. Agency for International Development and the State Department—but not the military—by nearly $5 billion. We may not see Ryan’s dramatic ideas enacted now that his ticket has lost the election. But they might very well prove prescient.

There are a couple of things here. First, the quote from Ryan’s “budget”: I’m sure this is what the Soviet leaders were saying as they watched their infrastructure crumble—”Mustn’t cut the military!” You would think that the editors of Foreign Policy would have noticed the parallels. Second, those last two sentences! I’m sure they originally read, “And now that Romney will be president, those ideas will lead the country going forward.” Instead, they “might” “very well” prove “prescient.” Three weasels in one short sentence! At least Foreign Policy has something it can be proud of.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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