by Rishika Reddy – University of Houston
As many of you may already know, Mitt Romney recently announced Paul Ryan as his running mate. I, like many people, was rather surprised by his pick. If anything, I was under the impression that Romney would pick someone more moderate. So, who is Paul Ryan? Many of us know him as a Representative from Wisconsin and the leader of the fiscal conservatives. On a lighter note, a clever soul has created the now famous Paul Ryan Gosling Twitter page to educate us about his ideology. I’m sure many people have had many laughs reading the tweets, but what do these witty and hilarious tweets actually mean? But humor aside, the tweets are focused on the much serious issue of Ryan’s conservative ideology.
Ryan has been in office since 1999, and is currently serving his seventh term as a Representative in Congress. Ryan first came to national attention while President Bush was in office for his revolutionary ideas of privatizing social security. Ryan’s plan was of course no more popular than President Bush’s plan to privatize social security. Since then, Ryan has become the poster boy for the Republican budget plan. In 2007, Ryan assumed the position of Chairman of House Budget Committee. In 2008, Ryan proposed legislation known as “The Path to Prosperity” that would cause drastic changes in entitlement programs like Medicare. Ryan proposed to curb Medicare spending by replacing it with a voucher program. Some of Ryan’s proposals also include attempts to decrease or eliminate corporate income, capital gain and estate taxes. While Ryan is known as a fiscal conservative, he’s often criticized for his large expenditures. In contradiction to his own conservative ideology, Ryan voted for TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) and voted to bail out the American auto industry. It’s this kind of voting behavior that makes one wonder how cutting taxes for corporations and increasing expenditures can ever balance the federal budget.
Aside from his fiscally conservative ideology, Ryan is also known to be one of the most socially conservative members of Congress. As a woman, I am unable to understand the benefit of electing a social conservative to office. Ryan and most members of the House GOP co-sponsored a bill redefining rape by including words like “forcible rape.” As a pro-life enthusiast, Ryan believes in eliminating reproductive rights, and has gone as far as endorsing criminal penalties on women who have abortions. If that wasn’t enough, Ryan has endorsed personhood bills giving the fetus constitutional rights and privileges. He has consistently voted to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood and other successful family planning programs. I find it hard to understand how Ryan can be a Crusader for individual rights, but fails to acknowledge women’s rights. I in no way consider Romney to be any better than Ryan, but hoped to see someone more moderate than Ryan as his running mate
Does Ryan not understand this is 2012, and not 1950? Are we really comfortable with someone like Ryan being a rising star of a political party? Four years ago Sarah Palin was heavily criticized for her conservative ideology, and for being ditzy. Palin being announced as a VP candidate is known to be one of largest political mistakes. That being said how is Ryan any better than Palin? How can he be considered a viable candidate when he shares Palin’s ideology? Does Ryan not realize women have made too much progress to abide by his ultra conservative ideology? Like the clever individual behind the Twitter page put it:
“Hey girl, I know I’m only 42, but my ideas on women’s rights are over 500 years old.”