Mitt Romney's running mate has a gub problem.
That's not a typo. If you're a fan of Woody Allen movies, you'll surely remember the line from Allen's 1969 comedy, "Take the Money and Run." Down on his luck, Allen's character tries to rob a bank, passing a teller a note that reads, "I have a gun." But the teller can't make out the robber's poor penmanship, reading the note aloud as, "I have a gub." Allen can't convince the teller the message says otherwise, and leaves without the cash.
Ryan is the (supposedly, in conventional wisdom) policy wonk of the Republican Party. As chair of the House Budget Committee, the Wisconsin congressman laid out his draconian plans for federal spending and got all but unanimous support for it from his House GOP colleagues, and now all but unanimous support for it from Romney himself.
Problem is, no one outside the GOP influence circle can make sense of the plan's actual, dollars-and-cents implications. The Ryan plan offered up few hard numbers and left experts including the Congressional Budget Office with nothing but educated, logical guesses as to what his "plan" would mean over the next three decades. The consensus, outside GOP partisan circles at least, was that the Ryan plan would cost trillions in new debt, cut taxes for the rich, cut many programs for average or low-income Americans and raise taxes for the middle class on down.
Ryan's defense of his plan is to insist that the details will all be worked out in Congress, conveniently after the fall election. But anyone who has watched Congress and especially the GOP-controlled house "at work" for the past couple of years has to be skeptical of that. If anything, Ryan's approach on this seems rather like presidential candidate Richard Nixon's 1968 "secret plan" to end the Vietnam war. Candidates like Nixon, Romney and Ryan don't like to fence themselves in with policy commitments; better to sketch broad outlines, which cost nothing and offend fewer people.
Ryan insists people are getting his budget plan wrong, but so far his protests are roughly equivalent to Woody Allen's bandit and his protests over his own poor handwriting. Ryan's plan, at best, is being read to say: "I have a gub."
While some people are buying into the Ryanomics, for many others in the reality-based world Ryan has done nothing more than shoot himself in the foot with his glossy rhetoric and lack of substance. Although, one must admit, Ryan's earnest and low-key mien has conned many in the news and punditry business into believing he is, as Nobel economist Paul Krugman says, a Very Serious Person.
But what serious politician would co-found a Republican candidates recruitment program and call it "the Young Guns"? There's Ryan's elitest tin ear, right there, in black and white. I have a young gub! The next generation of GOP politicians need to be "guns" -- hired ones at that, who presumably will enforce the GOP's increasingly shrill authoritarianism and substancelessness.
So here's a Very Serious Suggestion from a Wisconsin voter who has watched Ryan operate for years: What this country needs is gun control. But even more than that, what this country needs is Young Guns control. And let's start with Mr. "I have a gub" himself.