Romney is disdainful of people who think they're "entitled" to health care, housing, food, and education. Everyone's entitled to their opinion. But I look at his running mate and I have to ask...
How in the world did they settle on Paul "Petey" Ryan as his running mate? I'm not talking about actual running. That would be a cinch. Romney doesn't run and Ryan isn't as much of one as he claims. No, I'm talking about the decision to put Ryan on the ticket. Didn't anyone check his background?
Politico, a source that is well-regarded in conservative circles, ran a flattering profile on Ryan after he was tapped to join the ticket, titled, "Who is Paul Ryan? 10 facts about the VP pick."
Some of the "facts" (e.g., "works out like a warrior") have since been subject to closer scrutiny and found to be -- overstated. However a couple of facts are well-documented. In fact, they have been a core part of Ryan's narrative for years. As Terry Gross noted in her story on Ryan
In terms of the importance of taking responsibility for yourself, that's something that Paul Ryan had to do when he was young. This is central to your piece about him is that when he was 16, his father died, and not only did Paul Ryan's father die, Paul Ryan discovered his father's body, which, you know, had to be a very traumatic experience. And it was a turning point. You know, he had to become independent. His mother went back to school. His grandmother had Alzheimer's, moved in with him. At the same time, he got Social Security after his father's death because his father died. [emph added]That's right, Paul Ryan's family collected SS survivor benefits. When he died, Ryan's father was gainfully employed to the point they were a single income family. Moreover, there was enough money being doled out to the family that it supported his mother's returning to school -- instead of getting a full-time job. Moreover, there was enough money to help support an ailing grandmother. Ryan later went on to use the payments he continued to receive until he was 21. That was how he paid for college. Petey didn't pay any taxes for that. He didn't pay any taxes on the benefits he received.
As I said, this was no secret when Ryan was picked. I don't know if he knew about his prospective boss's antipathy to that sort of largesse, but didn't someone tell Romney he was tying his future to a guy with a life-long dependency on government handouts?
Don't get me wrong. I am not opposed to this sort of assistance. If a man has been paying in to Social Security and he leaves a family behind due to no fault of his own -- I think we all benefit from helping the kids continue with their education in the house they grew up in.
Of course, Romney disagrees with that, and likely would fault the older Ryan for not taking responsibility for his own health, but I digress.
I think providing resources so a stay-at-home mom can go out and get the skills she needs to enter the workforce is also something that benefits all of us. Providing the money to help a family care for a sick elderly parent also benefits all of us. Unlike Romney, I don't see anything wrong with that. I think these aspects of The New Deal and the The Great Society are some of the best things Democrats have done for the nation.
Romney, of course, disagrees with this. He can afford to hold that opinion. His father might disagree with him, but that's another story. What I am wondering is how can Ryan possibly stand to work for a man who disdains everything that made it possible for him to be a success?
I'd love to hear some journalist ask Ryan that question.