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Paul Ryan: Cruel, Not Courageous | The Nation

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Katrina vanden Heuvel

Katrina vanden Heuvel

Politics, current affairs and riffs and reflections on the news.

Paul Ryan: Cruel, Not Courageous

Editor’s Note: Each week we cross-post an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column at the WashingtonPost.com. Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.

A word of advice: if you’re announcing the most radical and reactionary Republican ticket in half a century, don’t do it on a ship named for the birthplace of progressivism, to Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man.”

But that is precisely the kind of audacity congressman-turned-vice presidential-nominee Paul Ryan brings to the flailing Romney campaign. Courage! Vision! And that hair! (Within minutes of the announcement, @VPRyansCowlick boasted dozens of follicle-fixated followers.)

Ryan is the rare Washington pseudo-wonk described by serious people of both parties in the adulatory terms typically reserved for battlefield heroics. “Courageous.” “Politically gutsy.” Author of “the most comprehensive and most courageous budget reform proposal”—wait for it—“in our lifetimes.” He is Jimmy Stewart, if Mr. Smith had spent less time establishing a boys’ camp and more time pretending to pay down the debt, one food stamp at a time.

Therein lies the rub. Ryan’s budget isn’t courageous—it’s just cruel. Three-fifths of the cuts he wants would hit those with low incomes, while those who have the most would continue getting more. It’s no wonder the former altar boy has had his knuckles rapped by a group of nuns for peddling a budget that “rejects church teaching about solidarity, inequality, the choice for the poor, and the common good.”

Editor’s Note: Each week we cross-post an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column at the WashingtonPost.com. Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.

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