Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Romney's Choice of Paul Ryan:
Cutting Taxes for the Rich, Gutting the Safety Net
for the Needy
By Muqtedar Khan
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, August 14, 2012
Paul Ryan's choice as the vice presidential running mate reveals both
the enduring weaknesses in the candidacy of Mitt Romney and the long-term
trends that are reshaping the Republican Party.
Ryan brings nothing
positive to the ticket except that he energizes the core conservative base.
The twin keys to the presidential elections are the capacity to bring out
the vote and sway the independents. Paul may ensure that more conservatives
do come out and vote, but he will also
turn away many of the independents who helped Barrack Obama win in 2008.
During his visit to England and Israel, Mitt Romney
gave us a demonstration of the fumbling, bumbling, Bush-like
commander-in-chief he will be if he was elected. Yet he picks Ryan as a
running mate who has no experience or expertise in foreign affairs. Why?
The only plausible answer is that Romney is unsure of his own base. He is
not confident that he alone can guarantee that the core of the conservatives
will come out in force in November.
Mitt Romney has
become synonymous with the term flip-flop. It is apparent to even his
own supporters that he lacks core values that will not change over night.
Except maybe one thing -- under no circumstances does he want to pay any
taxes. Ryan on the other hand has a reputation of being a single agenda
politician, uncompromising on budget issues, with an unshakable commitment
to reducing the deficit without raising taxes. He will happily throw the
elderly under the bus
(by cutting Medicare) and the impoverished (by cutting more welfare
programs) to trim the deficit without burdening the rich.
Ryan gives substance to the only thing that Mitt Romney stands for, cutting
taxes for the rich and gutting the safety net for the poor and the elderly.
He is the assurance, to the conservatives, that Romney will not flip-flop on
taxes. This is Romney's way of saying "read my lips; Ryan is my choice (no
Paul Ryan, who is Catholic, likes to argue that his values and policies
are shaped by his religious beliefs. But many Catholic religious leaders
condemn his economic ideas. Bishop Gene Robinson even called his budget
"a moral disaster" that "robs the poor."
Ryan's choice sends a
clear message; as American economy continues to falter, as the American
dream becomes blurry for more and more Americans, the Republican party
remains determined to ensure that the rich, particularly the very rich, come
out unscathed from this dark moment in our history.
Days after a
mosque was razed to the ground in Missouri and Sikhs were massacred in
their temple in Wisconsin
by a white supremacist, the Republican party once again reminds us that
even as America becomes more diverse, the Republican party remains firmly
committed to represent rich, white, Christian men. The party seems to
underscore the fact that it abhors diversity; racial, religious or
intellectual. Do we really want such a narrow vision to guide America?
In conservative circles, Ryan enjoys a reputation for being a man of big
ideas, courage and one who has a way with words. He used to be a
speechwriter for several Republican politicians. But his speech at one of
his announcement events in Manssas, Virginia, left much to be desired. He
started with the Tea Party refrain, "on November 6th, we will take our
From whom, pray tell! The Chinese? The Russians? Who
is occupying our country? Neither he nor his supporters will answer that
question, but it is obvious -- from non-white Christians.
According to recent polls, 34% conservative Republicans believe that
President Obama is Muslim and
percent of them believe his birth certificate is false. These are racist
and bigoted canards used by buffoons like Donald Trump to garner attention
from bigger buffoons. This was Ryan's opening salvo.
Then in the next
two minutes he accused Obama of being too far to the left and of destroying
the economy through crony capitalism! Since when is crony capitalism on the
far left? I dread to imagine what then is on the right that Romney and Ryan
The reality of American politics today is deplorable.
The fact that billionaires can now contribute unlimited amount of money to
shape politics has made America a country with Crony-Capitalistic-Politics
-- "crappy" for short. When individuals, such as
Sheldon Adelson, commit to giving nearly hundred million dollars to a
candidates campaign, they own the agenda and the candidate.
Ryan's ideas and his courage will not matter even if he wins, people like
Sheldon Adelson will own him and his boss. I would rather the poor, the
minorities, the elderly, women and the marginalized own our president so
that he may work for more of us, than a few billionaires,
who can surely survive without the help from the White House.
Muqtedar Khan is associate professor at the University of Delaware and a
fellow of the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. His website is
This article was submitted for publication by the author on August 14,
2012 but was first published at Huffington Post.