Now that Mitt Romney has nominated Wisconsin Republican Congressman/deficit hawk/ grown up Eddie Munster Paul Ryan to be his running mate as the two ride their gilded golf carts and sail boats and other rich people means of conveyance toward the White House, pundits hope the campaign will Get Serious. Ryan's a numbers guy, a budget nerd, an econo-face, they say, who will steer debate away from silly things like women's health and back to serious things like jobs and the economy. Which is a shame, because while the economy is important, it's much more fun to talk about insane shit. And Ryan, despite his obsession with deficit, has a surplus of crazy.
1. He doesn't believe in global warming.
As someone much factier than I once said: jury's still out on science.
2. Personhood. Yeah, he's one of those.
Personhood, or granting the full rights of citizenship to fertilized embryos, is an idea so patently absurd that the Oklahoma Supreme Court referred to it as "clearly unconstitutional" in a unanimous decision to bar a Personhood referendum from the state's ballots this fall. Mississippi, the most conservative state in the US, rejected personhood resoundingly last fall. Colorado's rejected it twice, and will probably reject it again when it's put up to a vote for the third time.
Anyway, Ryan loves personhood. He loves the idea that life begins before pregnancy begins, when the sperm touches the egg. Because, to paraphrase Amanda Marcotte, sperm is magic. Ryan loves personhood so much that he cosponsored legislation that would have defined "person" as any human tissue from the moment of conception, which would have completely outlawed abortion and probably outlawed most forms of birth control and IVF.
3. His big, splashy idea is to replace Medicare with coupons.
I know my grandma loves coupons, but that doesn't mean she wants to get her health care that way. Ryan's big budget plan, which he unveiled last spring to a chorus of approving harumphs from the right wing intelligentsia (thanks to the Tea Party's Yee Haw! I'm Stupid! platform, there are now only approximately 2 people who call themselves right wing intellectuals, and one of them is a college freshman) and a chorus of What The Fuck Are You Even Doing Jesus Christ?s from the center and left. Central to his plan to trim $4.3 trillion from the deficit is a brutal slashing of Medicare as we know it, replacing the more efficiently managed government program with vouchers that seniors can use to buy their own insurance from private insurers, a move the Congressional Budget Office predicted would raise the cost of health care for senior citizens by about $6,000 apiece.
4. Not even the bishops like him.
Ryan's Catholic, and while his views on vagina regulation align just about exactly with the Church's stance, his views on the poor (Cliff's notes version: Fuck you, poors!) have run him afoul of religious leaders, even the traditionally very conservative US Council of Catholic Bishops. His suggestion that food stamps be cut in order to support tax cuts for corporations and millionaires was so egregious to one group of nuns that they went on a cross country bus tour to protest him. If Romney thinks Obama has declared War on Religion by compelling employers to pay for birth control, then why did he just pick a running mate that would compel all taxpayers to pay for millionaire tax cuts? What was it that Jesus said about camels going through the eye of a needle?
5. He believes that fertilized embryos are people, but he doesn't seem to believe that women are people.
Remember the "Let Women Die" act that passed the House last fall? The law that would have allowed hospitals to refuse, on moral grounds, to provide abortions to women even if they were at risk of imminent death? Ryan was a big fan of that. And, as Anna pointed out this weekend, in a pro-life essay Ryan penned, he doesn't mention the word "mother" or "woman" once.