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Inspiration and Perspiration: So That’s Serious Policy Discussion?

Inspiration and Perspiration: So That’s Serious Policy Discussion?

Something pretty interesting is happening on the Albuquerque Journal’s opinion page today. No, not the typical effusive defense of Gov. Susana Martinez’s test-more-and-give-them-a-book education policy. Today we turn to national news, and the selection of dreamy Wisconsinite Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney’s running mate. 

Fox New contributor, and Dracula lookalike, Cal Thomas lauds the Ryan pick. Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne, whose little baby voice is adorable on the radio, likens Ryan to “an impractical ideologue.” 

Let’s dig into this for a moment, because if you’re reading this website you’re probably the sort who has frequent, perhaps heated, political discussions with friends or family members or the television set. 

Ryan’s defenders are stoked about his plans to shrink govenment. From Thomas: “Is America ready for a serious discussion of issues, rather than the superficial approach that has defined so much of modern politics? We’re about to find out.” 

Serious. Thomas calls Ryan “serious” twice in the first four paragraphs of his column, while also describing an “unserious” TV ad the Democrats made about Ryan (which features, apparently, a Ryan lookalike pushing an old lady in a wheelchair off a cliff. Jay McCleskey would approve on a couple levels). 

I can only answer for myself, but… Hell yes I’m ready for a serious discussion of issues. Hit me, Dracula, because I hate the “superficial approach.”

“If Ryan and Romney can force Americans to pay attention to the need for real change, instead of the unaffordable snake oil Obama has been selling, they will win handily and take back the Senate for Republicans.” 

OK, Cal, but what about these serious issues? What do you mean by “real change”? What “snake oil” has Obama been selling? 

“Ryan will wipe the floor with Vice President Joe Biden in their one debate in October, but on the campaign trail he will remind Americans that this election is important.” 

Yeah, but in what ways is it import-

“Surgery is painful, but an ailing nation must have it or we will die financially and culturally. It’s as simple as that.” 

What? I don’t even know what it means to “die culturally.” You gotta explain that. And what’s “simple”? Are you-

“The Obama smear machine will attack Ryan in every conceivable way, but if Ryan does not allow himself to be distracted and frames the issues in the proper way-“

Hold on a second, Cal. What issues? Taxation? War? What issues are you even talking about? Doesn’t Ryan want to shrink government? How’s he going to do that? 

“Inspiration and perspiration – not taxing and spending – built America and can rebuild it.” 

That’s pretty abstract. Do you have an example? 

“Clearing the debris caused by broken and dysfunctional government, while maintaining a safety net for the genuinely needy, will not only restore the economy, but will restore optimism.” 

How? What parts of the safety net get to stay? 

“Ronald Reagan (Romney-Ryan is another “RR”) ran for re-election in 1984 and inspired people to believe in themselves. President Obama appears to want the opposite.” 

President Obama doesn’t want people to believe in themselves? Come on. What do you base that on? 

“In Gaelic, Ryan means ‘king.’ In a country without a monarch, a synonym might very well be ‘vice president.'”

That’s it? That’s what you’re gonna say? How does Obama want people to not believe in themselves? You’re just gonna leave that one hanging? What have you even said here? How much do you get paid for this? No kidding “Romney-Ryan is another ‘RR’.” Why’d you even say that? Who cares?

Uh… Let’s see what Dionne has to say about Ryan. First thing to note: Dionne’s paragraphs are a lot longer than Dracula’s. 

If Paul Ryan were a liberal, Dionne writes, conservatives would “insist that he is an impractical ideologue. He holds an almost entirely theoretical view of the world defined by big ideas that never touch the ground and devotes little energy to considering how his proposed budgets might affect the lives of people he’s never met.”

Well, great – another newspaper columnist throwing around half-thought ideas without any-

“How can Ryan justify his Medicaid cuts when, as the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation found, they would likely leave 14 million to 19 million poor people without health coverage? How can he justify tax proposals that, as the New Republic’s Alec MacGillis pointed out, would reduce the rate on Mitt Romney’s rather substantial income to less than 1 percent? How can he claim his budgets are anti-deficit when, as the Washington Post’s Matt Miller has noted, his tax cuts would add trillions to the debt and we wouldn’t be in balance until somewhere around 2030?” 

Whoa! What the hell, E.J.? Are those numbers? Did you just cite sources? Haven’t you read Cal Thomas? You don’t need to do any work to get your opinion on the Journal’s opinion page. What are words like “health coverage” and “tax proposals” doing in a piece about the Republican vice presidential choice? 

I’m gonna try to get “serious” here, to wrap up my own little column on media: Pay attention to the way each side debates big issues in this presidential election. 

There is certainly room for the broader discussion on governing philosophy, but we’ve got complex problems right now like underfunded public schools, a lack of good jobs, and families who can’t feed themselves. 

Today in the Journal we have a one-on-one Paul Ryan debate, and the baby-voiced liberal is using numbers and citations and actual proper nouns, while the vampire conservative is saying “This election isn’t about politicians; it’s about us.” 

Brilliant. If this election is as important as Cal Thomas thinks it is, he should try a little harder to make his case. Unless he doesn’t have one.

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