Paul Ryan And “Arrested Adolescence”

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd absolutely nails Paul Ryan in her latest column, which is a must read:

He’s the cutest package that cruelty ever came in. He has a winning air of sad cheerfulness. He’s affable, clean-cut and really cut, with the Irish altar-boy widow’s peak and droopy, winsome blue eyes and unashamed sentimentality.

Who better to rain misery upon the heads of millions of Americans?

After so much media blather about Paul Ryan’s “earthiness,” his many menial jobs as a kid—how many pics have you seen of that dreadful Oscar Meyer Weinermobile?—Dowd gets the Ryan biography just right:

Like Mitt Romney, Ryan truly believes he made it on his own, so everyone else can, too. He shrugs off the advantage of starting as the white guy from an affluent family, able to breeze into a summer internship for a Wisconsin Republican senator as a college student.

The columnist also mentions a couple of facts that so far, as far as I know, have mostly gone unreported:

Ryan co-sponsored the Sanctity of Life Act enshrining a fertilized egg with the definition of “personhood” and supported a bill Democrats nicknamed the “Let Women Die Act,” which would have let hospitals that get federal money deny women abortions even in life-threatening circumstances.

Have you heard one word about that?

And Dowd neatly distills the essence of the weird libertarianism espoused by Ryan’s ideological Jesus, Ayn Rand:

His long infatuation with her makes him seem even younger than he looks with his cowlick because Randism is a state of arrested adolescence, making its disciples feel like heroic teenagers atop a lofty mountain peak.


Finally, Dowd says what I have said about Mitt Romney’s ideological insecurity, which is why I argued that he was the most dangerous right-winger running this year and Democrats must constantly point that out:

The secretive, ambiguous Romney was desperate for ideological clarity, so he outsourced his political identity to Ryan.

This just proves that Romney will never get over his anxiety about not being conservative enough. As president, he’d feel the need to prove himself with right-wing Supreme Court picks.

Yes, among other things. He will always have to prove himself to the yahoos now running the Republican Party. They will watch his every move, always threatening to pull the electoral rug from beneath his feet. And for a man who wants nothing in this world more than to become and remain president, that is a scary prospect.

The last line in Dowd’s column is priceless, but I’ve excerpted too much already. You should get it from the source.


  1. Wow, I wish I could write like that. Dowd did indeed nail it. What comes through in this clearly is the context of political thinking that distinguishes Tea Party thinking about governance from the Democratic mode. Ryan and the Tea Party think of government, aside from national Defense of course, as primarily an obstacle to be removed from the path of business. Here’s the way I replied to a commenter on the same subject on my own blog this morning, a commenter who was enamored of Mitt Romney’s business expertise as justification for his candidacy:

    “Who would you trust your hard earned money with, Barak or Mitt ? Be honest .”

    I would choose Mitt, but only if the money management were completely transparent to me. You see, Alan, managing a government is not the same thing as managing a business. Government is, or should be, the open process of providing safety and infrastructure for commerce and social functioning, for making rules for fairness and justice. Business is competitive activity in which the objective is to make as much profit as possible with no mercy for one’s competition. You are making a mistake in my opinion to assume that expertise in secretive financial gamesmanship is equivalent to expertise in governance of an open society.

    You are assuming that “Romney never stole money from his investors like Madoff did”, but how can you be sure? I ask because Romney, like many businessmen, prefers a maximum of “privacy”, a.k.a., secrecy in his operations, something facilitated by offshore money accounts which are so secret that even asking about their details is a crime in the Caimans. All you can be sure of, I submit, is that Romney never got caught with his hand in the till, just as Madoff didn’t either – for decades – until he did.

    George Westinghouse was a lot like Romney I think. He was a shrewd businessman and when finances got pinched he pleaded with Tesla to sign his priceless patents over to him, and Tesla foolishly did. Westinghouse never compensated him properly and danced merrily on into his prosperous future while Tesla died virtually penniless. It was just “business” to Westinghouse and it would never have occurred to him to think of it differently. QED.


  2. Anonymous

     /  August 26, 2012

    a vote for these republicans is like voting fr the man that rape you, romney has been outsourcing jobs from america to asia for years he gotten rich from taking jobs out of america to the seate shops of asia for the money that why he a billionare he was born a millionare, and ryan is a racist tea party wolf in sheeps clothing avote for ryan and romney is a vote for the tea party baggers.


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