How does the the GOP — the party of “Father Knows Best,” the party that loves hierarchy and order — keep nominating vice-presidential candidates who swallow their presidential candidates whole?
After Dick Cheney picked himself to be on George W. Bush’s ticket, he had the decency to wait until the inauguration before he supplanted Bush. Sarah Palin grabbed center stage from John McCain as soon as she was announced. Paul Ryan, however, started his takeover years ago.
Ryan’s GOP coup began began before Iowa could even think about caucusing. His multi-pronged attack on America’s safety net — massive new tax breaks for the richest paid for by slashing all social spending including education and Medicaid, ending tax credits for working families, and turning Medicare into a voucher program — was passed byHouse Republicans by spring of 2011. When Newt Gingrich didn’t endorse it, he was steamrolled by his party. And before the presidential primary could even begin, allegiance to the “Ryan Plan” had become the new loyalty test of the right.
Mitt Romney resisted going full Ryan for a while. But as he struggled to beat an array of GOP backbenchers, Romney eventually endorsed nearly everything that Ryan proposed — including a vague voucher system for Medicare and slightly less massive tax breaks. In March of this year, Romney said that Ryan’s “proposals and the ones I’ve outlined in my campaign are very much on the same page.”
So what does the Romney campaign do as soon as they announce that Paul Ryan is Mitt’s running mate? Mitt starts running from the Ryan Plan.
“Does this mean Mitt Romney is adopting the Paul Ryan plan?” a set of talking points from the campaign asks. And the basic gist of it is “Not when it’s inconvenient.”