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Recently the argument-du-jour made by programs like the Daily Show and Up with Chris Hayes, among others, has been that despite his tough talk Paul Ryan is not a fiscal conservative. The argument is pretty basic and since I’m sure most of you have seen it I’ll just hit a quick recap. Ryan voted for TARP, Medicare-D, the Bush Tax Cuts, the extension of the Bush Tax Cuts, and the Iraq Invasion. This information is then tied to a ballooning federal debt—rightfully so—and the point is made that Ryan is just another in a long line of Republicans who talk tough about fiscal responsibility but can’t seem to vote in line with their own rhetoric.

While this is absolutely true and illustrated by the fact that Ryan is despised among many true fiscal conservatives who consider him a sell-out it’s not the right way to come at the VP nominee.

I understand the allure of making the argument. It says, “Look, I know you guys like Paul Ryan because you think he’s a fiscal conservative but he’s really not so you shouldn’t like him.” But what is the expected result of such an argument?

To answer that question it should first be asked who this argument is directed toward. Ostensibly, it seems to be directed at those who find virtue in fiscal responsibility, and implicitly toward those who are not already solid Romney or Obama voters. So we’re talking about Independents; swing voters.

Why would we ever want to present this argument to a swing voter?

The implication of the Stewart/Hayes argument is that a fiscal conservative is somebody that a voter should want in office. It validates the notion that if Paul Ryan were a true fiscal conservative a voter would be correct in supporting him for office. With this as the debate’s premise, Romney and Ryan don’t need to show that they’re devout fiscal conservatives at all. They only have to show that they’re more fiscally conservative than Barack Obama. Maybe they can’t win the “Paul Ryan IS an Ayn Rand disciple through and through” debate but they can win the “Paul Ryan is more fiscally conservative than Barack Obama” debate. And the point is that that’s not the debate we want to have.

The debate shouldn’t be whether or not Ryan is a fiscal conservative; it should be whether or not the economic policy prescriptions of fiscal conservatives are what we need right now, or ever. It should be that in tough times the last thing we want to do is impose austerity measures on the American people. It should be that dismantling and diminishing social programs while people are suffering is evil. It should be that trickle-down economics has never worked. It should be that we haven’t forgotten that and we’re not dumb enough to fall for the same old rehashed repackaged tired argument again whether it’s called trickle-down or job-creator economics. It should be that deregulation brought this country to the brink of economic catastrophe. This should still be pretty fresh in everybody’s minds.

The combination of Ryan’s policy prescriptions and Romney’s insatiable greed and refusal to release his tax-returns crystallizes the point. All they want is all they’ve ever wanted. More money. And they don’t give a shit about you.

The upshot is this: Whether or not Ryan is a true-believer is wholly irrelevant because he’s dead wrong either way! It doesn't matter what Ryan thinks. It only matters that he's wrong.

By framing the debate as whether or not Ryan is actually a fiscal conservative Stewart and Hayes accept the premise that the same old Conservative economic policies are acceptable, if not desirable. They’re not. They’re dangerous and have screwed Americans time and time again.

Shift the debate.

I love you guys but you should really know better.

Edit #1: Let me say that the point of this diary is not to malign Stewart and Hayes. The point I'm trying to make is that the argument they put forward on their shows is not one that is advantageous to the Obama campaign. So anyone interested in seeing Obama re-elected might want to consider how effective running with the "Paul Ryan is not a real fiscal conservative" argument is before running with it.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (6+ / 0-)

    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” ― Bertrand Russell

    by r fisher on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 09:07:40 AM PDT

  •  Plus it makes him look like a "moderate" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OooSillyMe

    Come on, his plan reduces government by %90.   It is extreme, and really it is just hot air from an empty suit.

    •  But again (0+ / 0-)

      Whether or not it's hot air from an empty suit or Ryan actually believes that his prescriptions will bring prosperity to all Americans and will follow through with them is beside the point. Conservative economic prescriptions have proven to be very dangerous and we don't want them. Somehow Americans seem prone to forget this rather quickly. Even after a major economic crisis it would seem...

      “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” ― Bertrand Russell

      by r fisher on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 09:20:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's A Step Towards Diminishing Ryan's Credibility (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Deep Texan

    When matched with the President's "snake oil" trickle-down message, it doesn't endorse fiscal conservativism.  

    •  Why bother? (0+ / 0-)

      If trickle-down is snake oil why bother debating whether Ryan sells snake oil or only claims to sell it? I don't see the benefit of presenting the argument that way at all.

      “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” ― Bertrand Russell

      by r fisher on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 09:24:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I Prefer The President's Message Too. But For (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Deep Texan

        indies or low-info voters who don't know Ryan's history and are hearing the lazy media's descriptions of him, it helps to throw out accurate bits of info.  

        Hey, in my mind, it's worth it if only to make the media look stupid for calling the 'Spend & Borrow' Ryan a fiscal conservative.  

  •  umm (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Deep Texan

    Jon Stewart is a comedian.  Chris Hayes is a journalist.  

    While I enjoy Jon as much as anyone, he would be the first to say he is a comedian. And, has said so countless times in "defense" of what the Daily Show does.

    We get our news from Comedy Central?  He bites both sides when he considers it funny.

    Let's not conflate the two?

    Somebody said Party! I got excited. I love Parties! Especially Parties with exclamation marks! Now I'm sad because there's not a Party! h/t AnnetteK ;-)

    by EdMass on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 09:32:26 AM PDT

    •  Your point is that he was joking? (0+ / 0-)

      I'm speechless...

      “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” ― Bertrand Russell

      by r fisher on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 09:34:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And Jon would find that hilarious.... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Deep Texan

        Somebody said Party! I got excited. I love Parties! Especially Parties with exclamation marks! Now I'm sad because there's not a Party! h/t AnnetteK ;-)

        by EdMass on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 09:36:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  How silly (0+ / 0-)

          Since Jon Stewart is a comedian his political commentary is immune to discussion or critique?

          “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” ― Bertrand Russell

          by r fisher on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 09:43:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  go ahead critique fart jokes (0+ / 0-)

            because that's what he does.

            -You want to change the system, run for office.

            by Deep Texan on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 10:29:31 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Ouch (0+ / 0-)

              Stewart reduced to a fart comic? Good luck with the Stewart ball-washers friend!

              “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” ― Bertrand Russell

              by r fisher on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 10:37:20 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  that's what he does (0+ / 0-)

                and he admits it.

                it's others that don't get it.

                -You want to change the system, run for office.

                by Deep Texan on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 12:14:40 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I don't know how you can watch that show (0+ / 0-)

                  and equate what Stewart does with what Carrot Top or Gallagher do, whatever Stewart says about it himself.

                  Also, I've heard the fart joke line from him before. But I've also heard him say he aspires to Mark Twain.

                  "What am I at my highest aspiration? Mark Twain."

                  So if you think Mark Twain = fart jokes...

                  “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” ― Bertrand Russell

                  by r fisher on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 12:25:21 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  it's not what i think (0+ / 0-)

                    it's what he says.

                    do you realize you are transferring things you want him to be, while ignoring what he has told you he is.

                    fart jokes.  ask him.

                    -You want to change the system, run for office.

                    by Deep Texan on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 12:47:56 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Mark Twain. Ask him... n/t (0+ / 0-)

                      “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” ― Bertrand Russell

                      by r fisher on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 12:51:12 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  we're not talking about Mark Twain (0+ / 0-)

                        we're talking about a guy who is alive and can be asked.

                        and has been.

                        and his answer is the same..  we make fart jokes.

                        don't take it too seriously.

                        -You want to change the system, run for office.

                        by Deep Texan on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 01:22:04 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Either you're not reading my posts (0+ / 0-)

                          or you're too drunk to understand them. One last try although I'm pretty sure at this point that you're just trolling.

                          JON STEWART SAYS THAT AT HIS HIGHEST ASPIRATION HE IS MARK TWAIN.

                          MARK TWAIN IS MUCH MORE THAN A FART COMIC.

                          THIS MEANS THAT JON STEWART WANTS TO BE A SATIRIST.

                          LIKE MARK TWAIN.

                          AND JON STEWART IS ACTUALLY QUITE A GOOD ONE.

                          THAT'S WHY PEOPLE WHO ARE INTERESTED IN POLITICS WATCH HIS SHOW.

                          HE'S NOT JUST A FART COMIC.

                          I hope that helps.

                          “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” ― Bertrand Russell

                          by r fisher on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 02:00:32 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  no he doesn't (0+ / 0-)

                            prove it.  provide a clip..  

                            you're the one sounding drunk..  hey, btw you're leaning on the caps key.

                            -You want to change the system, run for office.

                            by Deep Texan on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 02:23:55 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I know you're trolling but (0+ / 0-)

                            I'll end it with the transcript from Jon's segment on Chris Wallace.

                            STEWART: You are wrong. You’re dead wrong. I appreciate what you’re saying. Do I want my voice heard? Do I want my voice heard? Absolutely. That’s why I got into comedy. That’s why I do what I do.

                            WALLACE: You’re not Jerry Seinfeld.

                            STEWART: No, I do comedy. Have…what am I at my highest aspiration? Who am I?

                            WALLACE: I think-

                            STEWART: Am I Edward R. Murrough or am I Mark Twain? At my highest aspiration?

                            WALLACE: Oh, of that, of those two? Mark Twain.

                            STEWART: Right.

                            “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” ― Bertrand Russell

                            by r fisher on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 02:38:18 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  he shys away from those comparisons (0+ / 0-)

                            he says it's an honor for people to compare him to Mark Twain but that he could only aspire to be as good as him.

                            not that he actually aspires to be like him.

                            he says we tell fart jokes.  we make fun of the news.  

                            so you're trying to critique a comedy show as journalism.

                            the truth is journalism is in the gutter and comedy has more truth in it.  

                            but Jon will tell you, he just makes fart jokes.  Don't take him seriously. He is more than that to many people though.  

                            But that's not what he aspires to be.  He just wants to make a joke.

                            -You want to change the system, run for office.

                            by Deep Texan on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 02:31:41 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Read the transcript. Sorry to burst your bubble.nt (0+ / 0-)

                            “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” ― Bertrand Russell

                            by r fisher on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 02:47:25 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

    •  Well, he can be a comedian and still be making (0+ / 0-)

      an incisive critique of the politics of the day.

      You can't make this stuff up.

      by David54 on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 12:11:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  i'm not sure being fiscally irresponsible (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LEARNINGlover, Deep Texan

    is considered a better trait than being fiscally conservative.

    also, as much as i like jon stewart, he doesn't exist to do messaging for the democrats, so saying he should know better is strange... jon stewart just pointed out a simple fact, there is nothing wrong with that.

    •  Jesus (0+ / 0-)

      When do I argue that being fiscally irresponsible is a desirable trait?

      “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” ― Bertrand Russell

      by r fisher on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 09:41:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  why are you then complaining (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Deep Texan

        that people are pointing out how fiscally irresponsible paul ryan is?

        •  Did you even read the diary? n/t (0+ / 0-)

          “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” ― Bertrand Russell

          by r fisher on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 09:44:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  i did. i'm still not sure why you expect (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Deep Texan, Catesby

            jon stewart to be framing a debate in a way that be most advantageous to the democratic party, instead of doing his job, which is completely separate.

            •  Forget Jon Stewart (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              distraught

              You're stuck on the Stewart aspect. My point is, and perhaps I should have made it more clear, that this is not an argument that the Democrats should pick up and run with and it has been gaining steam.

              I can't debate Stewart's intentions with you. All I can say is that framing the debate the way that he framed is not advantageous for Obama. And somehow I get the feeling that his intention was not to assist the Romney campaign. Call me crazy.

              “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” ― Bertrand Russell

              by r fisher on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 09:50:09 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  his intention (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Deep Texan, distraught

                was to point out was a hypocritical jackass paul ryan is, but more importantly, to do it in a way that was funny.

                i agree with you that obama should not bother making the same argument, mostly because if the tea partiers care about ryan's TARP vote, they will do that work on their own.  and if they don't care, there's nobody who will who intended to vote for romney anywawy.

  •  Every Time Stewart Goes On O'Reilly's Show..... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alba

    I lose a little more respect for him.  Their fake arguments are phony.  They both do their thing.....then they do it together.

    Big Whoppdedo!  I don't believe a word of it.  When you roll with pigs, you just wind up getting dirty & the pig enjoys it.  Stewart spends a little too much time in the FOX News trough for my taste.

    Colbert is the man.  

    •  At the risk of throwing gasoline on the fire (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      alba

      I don't know what's going on with Stewart's writers lately. I agree that the Colbert Report is way better, especially recently.

      “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” ― Bertrand Russell

      by r fisher on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 09:53:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Those who think that Jon Stewart (0+ / 0-)

      is progressive/liberal are fooling themselves. This is the man who called President Obama "dude" to his face and condemned Newsweek for a cover photo of Michele Bachmann in which she was sort of crazy eyed (but in a characteristic and accurate way). And also the man who is hardly tough on his right-wing guests. I would guess that he is basically a libertarian.

      •  Respectfully disagree (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FG

        While he tries to distance himself and remain impartial I think it's pretty clear he's a Liberal. You can tell because he's interested in facts and uses reason to inform his opinions.

        “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” ― Bertrand Russell

        by r fisher on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 10:42:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No......Jon Is The King Of "They Do It Too" (0+ / 0-)

          He's the master of the false equivalency.  He makes sure his daily bread stays buttered by not offending FOX News too much.  He'll go to the edge, then go to the edge on Liberals....then back & forth, then swing to the left, then to the right.  

          He's a switch hitter & hardly a Liberal.  

          •  I'm not sure how anyone can watch that show (0+ / 0-)

            and think that he hits the Left as often as he hits the Right. He might be a switch hitter but he swings from one side of the plate way more often than the other.

            “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” ― Bertrand Russell

            by r fisher on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 05:40:08 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  i do not share the opinion (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Deep Texan

    expressed in the diary. we are always at a disadvantage when conventional wisdom that is contrary to fact is accepted as fact. it is an important part of waking people up to understand that what is sold as fiscal conservatism on the teevee is pretty much the opposite of what that means in english. you really need to clear that away before you can explain what austerity is used to mean.

  •  They're simply making the point he is a hypocrite (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Deep Texan

    And like most Republicans, he's only fiscally conservative when it isn't his ox being gored.

    The only oxen they care about are: the 1% ox and the corporate ox. For the rest of the herd, the abattoir is open 24/7.

    “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

    by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 10:10:02 AM PDT

  •  Instead of appealing to swing voters (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skohayes, r fisher, Deep Texan, pico

    Maybe the argument should be what does the best job of alienating Republican voters from the Romney/Ryan ticket and encourages some of them to stay home.

    Along these lines, I would also advocate trying to exploit the possibility of causing division between Romney and conservative Christians who are uneasy with his Mormonism.

    •  Yes, but how many tea baggers do you think are (0+ / 0-)

      really going to stay at home?  Only those in the hospital, I can assure you and even then they will ask for a absentee ballot.  They will walk over broken glass to vote this election....I promise you that.

      •  You might be surprised (0+ / 0-)

        And of course, not all conservatives and not all Republicans and not all conservative Republicans are tea baggers.

        The ones who go out to demonstrations probably won't be stopped, but there are some whose enthusiasm might be dampened enough that they might stay home if it's raining.

        People sometimes carry grudges.  If you can get some emotional people who identity with Sarah Palin to stay home because you make them believe that Palin is being mistreated by the party and build up their resentment so that they bow out of voting in a fit of pique and you find other ways to slice off a few votes here and there through other lines of attack, then that adds up.

        So, Democrats need to be very negative and keep focus on how bad Romney, Ryan, and the Republicans are, sometimes using different and conflicting narratives meant to appeal to different segments of the electorate.

    •  Good points (0+ / 0-)

      Especially the first one you make. But I get the feeling that even the Republican voters who don't like Romney will head out to the booths on election day anyway to vote out Obama. I think Fox has been that effective in creating anti-Obama sentiment. Hopefully I overestimate their efficacy and underestimate the apathy that a Romney-Ryan ticket can engender, in which case your idea is solid.

      The second point you make, in the context of winning an election I guess, is sound, if a little abrasive. Certainly the Right would have no problem with such tactics! I would think that the Obama campaign has to be doing that already right?

      “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” ― Bertrand Russell

      by r fisher on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 10:25:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is not an argument (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Deep Texan

    I would present to swing voters. As Anthony says above, it's another arrow in the quiver of ammunition to point out to Republican voters the hypocrisy of voting for a Romney/Ryan ticket and expecting fiscal conservatism.
    By the way, you forgot that Ryan also voted for the auto-bailout (several House members got replaced for that apostasy) and the AIG bailout.

    “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

    by skohayes on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 10:19:09 AM PDT

    •  Yes, thank you (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skohayes

      Just went for a quick recap as I said. I wrote a whole diary years ago about Ryan's hypocrisy. Thanks for calling out two very important aspects of his hypocrisy.

      “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” ― Bertrand Russell

      by r fisher on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 10:29:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'd argue that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Deep Texan

    the point is merely to point out inconsistency. Voters are not a uniform group. Some people may see his "moderate" views and say "well I don't want him in office since he's not a TRUE conservative". Others may see this moderate thing and think, well maybe he won't be as bad as an extremist republican.

    But the facts are the facts, and I don't have a problem with a reporter/person stating the facts, especially the the media and the public in general are stating/repeating stuff that's false, or seems false. It leads to more informative discussions.

    Interested in learning about math, probability, or Computer Science and their connections to the real world? Learn more at my site: http://www.learninglover.com, or visit me on Twitter: @MindAfterMath

    by LEARNINGlover on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 10:21:59 AM PDT

    •  I really made a huge mistake (0+ / 0-)

      I can see from everyone's comments that I should have been more clear in my diary. My apologies.

      The point was not to malign Stewart and Hayes, it was to suggest that this is not an advantageous argument for anyone concerned with Obama winning re-election to purport.

      True, voters are not a uniform group. But to those who don't want him in office because he's not a TRUE conservative as you say, who are they going to vote for? I just don't see how the argument helps Obama's cause.

      “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” ― Bertrand Russell

      by r fisher on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 10:34:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  not saying I want this (0+ / 0-)

        But they could easily just not vote. And I'm sure  thats what many could or will do. They get an attitude that neither candidate has their interests at heart and so they stay at home.

        Or another alternative is that they'd just vote for a 3rd party. Back in the 90s the knock on Clinton is that he didn't win a majority of the votes in either of his elections because of Perot.

        Interested in learning about math, probability, or Computer Science and their connections to the real world? Learn more at my site: http://www.learninglover.com, or visit me on Twitter: @MindAfterMath

        by LEARNINGlover on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 12:23:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  EtchASketch Olympians Twist and Shout (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Deep Texan

    Floats long the lazy river meme:  "A plague on both your houses".  Neither side will balance the budget.  Discourages Red voters.  (Should discourage any voter).  Pick your gored ox: Grandma, or Daddy Rbucks.  

    Take a Swiftboat down the tunnel of hate.   Stumble through the hall of mirrorred projections.  Fear, uncertainty, and doubt serve the authoritarians.

    Where's a swing voter to land?

    Obama presents a calm steady hand on the tiller.  

    Rmoney and Ryan look sketchy, denying themselves three times three times.  

    Barack Hussein Obama- Don't Mock the Constitution.

    by odenthal on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 10:26:10 AM PDT

  •  I haven't seen how Hayes or Stewart (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pico

    are making the argument, but I've been making it. An important component of the argument as I make it is pointing out that the way Republicans claim the mantle of fiscal conservatism is not by doing things that are actually fiscally responsible, but by arguing that they'll be especially hard on middle-class, working-class, and poor people. So my intent, at least, is to use the fact that Paul Ryan's policies are fiscally profligate to show how hollow the definition of fiscal conservatism is in our political/media discourse. I have to suspect that Chris Hayes at least would be angling at the same general thing.

    •  Help me (0+ / 0-)

      I'm struggling a little.

      Your intent "is to show how hollow the definition of fiscal conservatism is in our political/media discourse." Okay.

      But you're still framing the debate the same way that I discuss in my diary, I think. Your arguing that Paul Ryan is NOT a fiscal conservative. That becomes the debate. Is Paul Ryan a fiscal conservative?

      But I contend that this should not be the debate. Rather, the point, in my opinion, is whether the policies that he's advocating, were he to actually implement them or not, would be beneficial to most Americans. I think history has shown us clearly and definitively that they would not be.

      The premise that fiscal conservatism is something desirable is implicitly conceded when you say:

      "the way Republicans claim the mantle of fiscal conservatism is not by doing things that are actually fiscally responsible"

      You're right of course. But that's not my point.

      By conceding the virtue of fiscal conservatism the voter is led to believe that if Ryan really was what he claims to be then we would all be justified in voting for him. Since fiscal conservatism is then viewed as a virtue, all Ryan has to do, as I argue in my diary, is prove that he's MORE fiscally conservative than Obama. He doesn't even need to run away from his record anymore! He just needs to prove that his record is more faithful to fiscal conservatism than Obama's is.

      I just don't think that's the road that the campaign should go down, ascribing virtue to economic policies that we don't agree with and haven't proven beneficial, particularly during periods of economic stress.

      Essentially, we're willingly dragging ourselves into a debate that we don't want to have.

      We can't allow the notion that Ryan's ideas are virtuous penetrate. Whether or not he is loyal to his rhetoric is peripheral.

      “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” ― Bertrand Russell

      by r fisher on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 12:10:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think there are a couple issues. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        r fisher

        Is he actually doing what he's claiming is one, is what he's doing acceptable is another, would what he's claiming he's doing be acceptable is another. Answers to one and two are both no, and on some level three is meaningless, because the claim is so far from the reality and so poorly spelled out that there's really no way to assess.

        •  Well said Laura. I'll just add one thing... (0+ / 0-)

          I know it's painfully clear by now but for me addressing issue number one is counterproductive to the Obama campaign's objectives.

          I don't think three is meaningless. To me that's where the meat and potatoes of the argument is. And the answer is no, it's not acceptable. If he does what he claims to want to do is where the ideological battle is fought.

          I don't think that's a battle the Left should walk away from. Battle him on trickle-down or job-creator or free-market or whatever you want to call it economics and you'll win. You have history, very recent history, on your side.

          Then the debate can be approached like this.

          Is he a fiscal conservative? Well who cares?! If he is then we don't want him and if he isn't than he's a phony.

          “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” ― Bertrand Russell

          by r fisher on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 01:21:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  You make a good point but Stewart is not a (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Deep Texan

    political operative. He's a comedian. A lot of people seem to confuse the two.

    •  Understood. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FG

      My point is not that it is his responsibility to make the proper argument only that we shouldn't join him in doing so.

      The last line in my diary is only to say that I think that, even though it's not his responsibility, it's not helping a cause that--whether he admits it or not--I believe he stands behind. I could be wrong of course.

      “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” ― Bertrand Russell

      by r fisher on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 12:13:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Comparing his Bush voting record with his (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Deep Texan

    Obama voting record does two things:
    1. It utterly destroys his credibility. So along with Mitt's constant lying, swing voters have no reason whatsoever to believe them. Meanwhile, there is a track record of accomplishment and effort by the President.

    2. It points up the entire gop "oppose Obama on everything" conspiracy, which is treasonous, in my book. Every effort to blame Obama for the pathetic recovery depends on distracting voters from the all out conspiracy in the gop to obstruct everything he proposed.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 12:09:35 PM PDT

    •  I haven't seen the two compared (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      David54

      I've only seen his Bush voting record highlighted.

      I think that comparing his voting record under Bush against his voting record against Obama could be a sound tactic. It definitely demonstrates his allegiance to obstructionism rather than fiscal conservatism. And it does destroy his credibility, even further. It still seems to implicitly concede, if you frame it the way I just did, that his ideas are sound if only he could keep loyal to them. It would depend on the presentation I guess.

      But again, I haven't seen that yet. I was talking only about the frame as I saw it on The Daily Show and Up.

      “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” ― Bertrand Russell

      by r fisher on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 12:21:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, I have a problem with the use of the (0+ / 0-)

        word "conservative" itself.
        The gop is not "conservative". They're radically, destructively regressive.
        I think we should disallow them the use of the word.

        Hypothetically, "conservatism" is a necessary complement to "liberalism".
        The key to sustaining the taxpayers' co-operation in maintaining the necessary functions of government is the credibility that their taxes are going to be used frugally, that government will be kept as small as possible, and that government will be responsive and adaptable to new circumstances.

        The "conservatives" of today are not really "conservative". The average progressive Dem is more "conservative" than they are. They just posture as fiscally responsible.

        Hypocrite is the best term to define Ryan and Romney.

        You can't make this stuff up.

        by David54 on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 03:49:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Stewart is a comedian. (0+ / 0-)

    Please recognize this.

    Sometimes the 'frame' is funnier if it goes against a certain political wind.

    If you're a good comedian, you'll recognize this and act accordingly.

    I'm not really familiar with Hayes.

    •  I do recognize it. (0+ / 0-)

      If you read the edit to the diary at the end of it I think it's summed up pretty clearly.

      Chris Hayes' show, in my opinion, is the finest political discourse on television today. Check it out. It's on MSNBC super early on Saturdays and Sundays. He's really bright and he has on guests who are exceedingly intelligent, usually.

      “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” ― Bertrand Russell

      by r fisher on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 03:14:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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