Welcome to the 2012 Presidential Melee, Congressman Paul Ryan! You are a sight for sore eyes, and not just because yours are so big and blue.
You're a fiscal conservative, I hear. No, really. Unlike the rest of your GOP colleagues in Congress, you actually want to cut spending. Mostly. Except for that whole TARP business, where you voted against your principles to preserve your principles. Sounds like the sort of logic my 4-year-old uses, but it's kind of cool to realize that he's already qualified to serve in Congress.
You're also a Tea Party favorite, what with your Darwinesque Randian leanings. In 2005, you credited Ayn Rand's philosophy as the primary reason you ran for office. Then in 2009, you compared our country to an Ayn Rand novel and reasserted the morality of unchecked free markets. Survival of the fittest/smartest/richest. Sucks to be you, parasites.
But now you're eschewing your "youthful infatuation," claiming that you "reject her philosophy." Presumably because of its basis in atheism, which Tea Party adherents studiously ignore. Cafeteria Objectivism?
It's okay, Congressman Ryan. Even Ayn Rand strayed from her own staunch beliefs when she elected to take Social Security and Medicare. And your own flip-flops give you something else in common with Governor Romney.
Funny how one's circumstances have a way of altering one's views. I support the evolution of thinking, when it comes about in an intellectually honest manner and not merely as a matter of political expediency. I suspect both you and Governor Romney (and, to be fair, nearly all politicians) are in the latter camp.
Perhaps your presence on the ticket will attract fiscally conservative independents who don't care about social issues -- what the Tea Party purported to be at its inception -- but I'm not confident that many such voters remain. Given the GOP's propensity to push a socially conservative agenda, issues like gay rights and abortion and health care now hold as much sway over voters as foreign policy and the economy.
I'll tell you a secret, Congressman Ryan. I had my own "youthful infatuation" with Ayn Rand (though I'd characterize it as a brief friendship instead). I was full of my own potential and where it would undoubtedly take me.
Then I grew up. I saw more of the world, gained a greater understanding of others' circumstances, and took a few knocks myself. In spite of all my advantages, I was not immune to misfortune and injustice.
Congressman Ryan, whether or not you acknowledge Randian influence on your thinking is immaterial. It's present in your views and in the policies you advocate, and it's fair game in this election. Things just got interesting, thanks to you.
Image via Paul Ryan