A Question

Is it just me, or is Paul Ryan’s I.Q. (or tenacity, research or thoughtfulness or whatever) a difference in kind rather than in degree from Democrats with whom he spars? Nerds/wonks like that aren’t great presidents, but I’d sure like him on the side of anyone who is. Give him some power and he’d clearly feel restrained by the possible, the practical. He respects us – and those with whom he argues. And he just seems so damn right.

Am I missing something – or, if I’m right, why do his remarks seem to slide off other’s well-oiled backs as if they were water? Of course, your average nerd doesn’t have hair that black and eyes that blue – he reminds me of that old Irish saying, God put in those blue, blue eyes with smokey fingers.

11 thoughts on “A Question”

  1. My husband met Paul Ryan for the first time about fifteen years ago and he immediately said, “This guy could be President!” My husband deals with politicians every single day and he was extremely impressed with Paul from the beginning. He is always respectful. Always.

  2. Ginny – he’s very, very impressive.

    But you know what? I’ve met a number of people like him in the private sector, at least in terms of his wonkishness and debating skills. Which are superb, I’m just making a point, here: tells you something about the quality of our political class and what kind of person is usually attracted to political life in this country, doesn’t it, that he stands out in that environment?

    Also, especially for conservatives, being articulate and dogged is important because you’ll have to defend your ideas from all sides and in ten different ways… .

    Am I being unfair folks?

    – Madhu

  3. I think its love Ginny. But, BO should be our warning. Don’t fall in love with politicians. They will break your heart.

    Put not your trust in leaders, in the sons of men, in whom there is no help.
    When his breath departs he returns to dust; on that day his plans perish.
    Ps. 146:3-4

  4. Yes, Onparkstreet, you are right – though the hugeness of medical care makes his command pretty impressive.

    I remember my early partner, flirting with our landlord as we set up our business plans, saying with considerable surprise, you know, there seem to be more brains on this side of University Drive (where all the bars, etc. were) than we realized. Our landlord was an eccentric, local municipal court judge who had lucked into a family owning a homestead across from what was becoming a gigantic school, renting to bars in a hard drinking town. But he wasn’t just lucky: he knew what he was doing.

    Academics forget that – I suppose some times I do. But I also remember thinking during those first years when I made a lot of bad decisions but enough good ones to make those payroll checks good each two weeks, that it was like muscles were growing in my head – muscles that the long slog toward a Ph.D. had never felt challenged.

    Ryan could be a sleepy politician just looking out for the main chance. He isn’t. And mastering that world is an intellectual challenge – medical care, laws, human nature. This is a world that tests abstractions that academics can spin endlessly until they leave all relation to the real world behind. But this, too, is the way of politicians, pretending that this bill will somehow improve social security, solvency, health care. Even academics might be embarrassed at trying to count money twice as they figure up savings and losses.

  5. Liberals and conservatives live in 2 separate worlds. Conservatives live in a world governed by a free market in which each person is free to choose. Liberals do not believe a free market can be as fair as a system that operates the same as the US military.

    The military provides doctors and nurses and medicines and hospitals to all its members free of charge. For that matter it provides food, clothing, shelter and jobs to all its members. It is living proof that the socialist state can work. And it is obvious that central planning is vastly superior to what ever a “free market” produces by accident.

    Liberals may claim they hate the military but they are all addicted to rank and rules and those uniform they design themselves. They prefer to be recognized for who they are than for what they have done today.

    Liberals cannot understand the arguments of conservatives and conservatives cannot understand the arguments of liberals because they have nothing in common. This is the stuff revolutions are made of.

  6. Paul Ryan is an amazing young intellect, and I’m damn glad he’s on my side.

    I may be unemployed without a whole lot of spare capital, but I am going to be donating to his campaign (hear that, national organizations) leading up to the fall.

    God bless, brother.

  7. He looks good but I think it’s a mistake to invest hope in individual leaders. Unless govt spending is significantly reduced our elected officials are likely to be corrupt hacks, and many of the officials who start out good will eventually become corrupt hacks. But if govt spending is significantly reduced it will matter less how good individual officeholders are. The main goal should be to reduce the scope of govt. The system is designed to limit the damage that bad leaders can do, and to function adequately with imperfect leaders, but the institutional safeguards become less effective as the scope of govt expands.

  8. Well, I said, people like that usually aren’t in the running for president. And that makes sense – wonks usually aren’t people people. Or they get in the weeds – which is necessary and good, but isn’t visionary. I don’t know enough about Ryan to know what strengths he has – or hasn’t. I just feel like when he’s talking he may be trying to make political points but that is because he cares a lot about the facts. But then in general the Republicans have seemed more and more reasonable. Listening to Barton talk to Slaughter, he seemed clear-headed and plain spoken and respectful.

  9. Something possessed me to talk Health Care Reform with a university faculty member from an applied-mathematics field at a southern state. Mind you, I didn’t come out swinging with “Obamcare is pure socialized medicine” or any such thing. I merely started with “do you think Health Care Reform is a good idea/the right thing to do?” and went on to express some concern with the level of preventative medicine I was getting for having what is considered good health insurance, and my, such a scolding I got. And the fact that the Republicans were to a woman and to a man opposed, oh, those dastardly Republicans! But what do Republicans have anything to do with anything — are they supposed to save Democrats from themselves somehow?

    I spoke of how the whole thing hinged on Bart Stupak (the response was, who?) and abortion politics (an unfortunate distraction, for certain). By slip of the tongue I mentioned that Bart Stupak was not one of those Evil Republicans, that he was a “Democrat Congressman”, and by the response, I as much as called him “a Jew Congressman” (as far as I know he is not Jewish, not that his religious heritage matters, but you get the analogy of the sinfulness of using a noun as an adjective in this context).

    As to the party-of-No!-idea-impaired-Republicans, I mentioned . . . Paul Ryan (who?), you know, the guy who has Les Aspin’s seat from Janesville (where?). (Yeah, but is anyone in the {Republican} leadership listening to this Paul Ryan?)

    Look people, we are talking full court run-out-the-clock media-suppression style of play here, and all of the folks all hot and bothered about getting Health Care Reform have never heard of Paul Ryan.

  10. Yes, Onparkstreet, you are right – though the hugeness of medical care makes his command pretty impressive.

    I don’t think there is the slightest chance that the health care reform legislation will result in the effects anticipated by 90% of its supporters. It is unworkable. The “shall issue” provision will quickly bankrupt any health insurer that stays in the business. Health care is a 60 year story of perverse incentives and this is just one more. The Democrats who think they will still be in the majority may plan to replace many of the provisions that were inserted to get it passed. I think many of their supporters still believe that. It seems to be dawning on many of the less ideological members of Congress that they will not have the power to make those changes. The result will be chaos and the Republicans, if they will allow wiser heads like Ryan to direct the program, could mold the situation into a more reasonable reform.

    We are entering uncharted waters if this passes. If not, I just hope the Republicans are smarter than they have been since 1995.

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