Wednesday, August 15, 2012


So, Paul Ryan is Mitt Romney's choice for Vice President.  Many Republicans (at least those of the "tea party" variety) are cheering this move, as it means one of their darlings has a chance to get to the White House.

How could this choice backfire?

Significant numbers of Republican voters are Christians, and many of those Christians are fundamentalists.  The Republican party has married itself to religion, and I would venture to say it is our nation's first religious political party.  It depends on the vote from the "religious right".  

From personal experience, I know that not all pentecostals/evangelicals/charismatics are on board with Romney to begin with, because he is Mormon.  I find nothing wrong with Mormonism if it makes its adherents happy, but there are large numbers of fundamentalist Christians in America who would call the LDS Church a "cult".  The thought that the presumptive GOP nominee is a "cult" member makes some voters very unhappy.

Now, while Romney has energized the fiscal hawks in the far right reaches of the GOP by his choice of Ryan, this will be another blow for fundamentalist Christians, as Paul Ryan seems to be a big fan of Ayn Rand.  Lots of those on the right practically worship Rand, the founder of the theory of Objectivism.  Much of that theory fits in with right wing ideology when it comes to glorification of the self and of self-advancement at the expense of others.  So at first glance it wouldn't seem like such a bad pick...

But back to that thing about the GOP needing the conservative Christian vote:  Ayn Rand was an avowed atheist.  This will not sit well with many born-again Christians.  Even the profound hatred of Obama by right wingers might not be enough to supercede in importance to them the fact that Ryan has said he is a fan of a prominent atheist.

It's sad to think that this could make a difference in the minds of a lot of voters, but when one takes the fundamentalist Christianity factor into account, Romney + Ryan sounds like the wrong recipe to me.  One guy may believe in a god that isn't considered the "right one" by Christian fundamentalists, and the other guy is a fan of someone who wants no God in government whatsoever.

As a Democrat, I find it sad but I also like the idea that it might dampen the enthusiasm of a number of right wing voters.  This might just dampen their enthusiasm enough to trim their numbers at the polls in November.

And one of the saddest things I find about it is that I don't believe Ryan himself is an atheist.  Being an atheist is the kiss of death for anybody who wants to be elected in America, so being a fan of Ayn Rand does not make him unelectable.  But saying one is the fan of an atheist in a national election could well be the near-kiss of death in the minds of many.

Ryan may be the kind of politician fiscal conservatives have been dying to see rise to prominence.  But for conservatives who place the most importance on religion?  Maybe not so much.  And I have always been of the opinion that the GOP can't win elections very easily without the enthusiastic support of religious conservatives.  

If you are a conservative reading this, and you think I'm just an angry "liberal" spouting off?  Check out Ryan in his own words.  Who is he really a disciple of, and how does he reconcile the two?


Blogger Tom Harper said...

Nope, Ryan is definitely not an atheist. He's just another rightwing schizoid who manages to not notice that most of the Bible talks about tolerance and helping others, and not notice that Ayn Rand hated religious people as much as she hated needy people.

Ryan wholeheartedly embraces the entire Biblehump agenda, and too many swing/independent voters aren't aware of this.

1:14 PM  
Blogger jim marquis said...

The Right Wing has little use for the New Testament.

It will be interesting to see how Ryan handles these questions in the debates. I'm afraid the fundamentalists will overlook pretty much any inconsistencies from Romney/Ryan because their Obama hatred is so intense.

10:05 AM  
Blogger S.W. Anderson said...

Ryan is a churchgoing Catholic who can talk his way out of his devotion to Rand. The political right is desperate for another charismatic, popular leader. Look at who ran for president the last two times out — retreads, duds and one small-state governor seen as too squishy. Last time out they gave John McCain his turn, figuring that after the Bush debacle and crashed economy there was no way they were going to win anyway. This time, they've had to hold their noses and settle for the former governor of liberal Massachusetts, a guy who changes positions the way most people change their socks.

Trust me, friend, short of being caught on camera kneeling on a carpet in his basement, pointed toward Mecca and secretly answering the Muslim call to prayer, Ryan could get away with almost anything and still be the darling — The Next Big Thing — the political right will get behind en masse.

9:41 PM  
Blogger BerserkRL said...

Ayn Rand was way to the left of Paul Ryan:

12:53 PM  
Blogger Mickey Bitsko said...

As Ayn Rand said: Altruism and generosity are not the same thing. You cannot be generous if you have nothing, and truly selfless people have nothing, by definition.

And forced "generosity" is slavery.

The most generous people on Earth are billionaires. You get to do the most good by looking out for Number One.

A world full of Mother Theresas would be a starving world.

I'm an atheist. I'm an individualist. I also spend my life taking care of others to the extent that I can. I choose to do so. And have the means because I take care of ME FIRST.

I am not a Republican. I am not a Democrat. Those are false distinctions. There are only Libertarians and Authoritarians.

3:43 PM  

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