Governors Rick Scott (R-FL) and Rick Perry (R-TX) both refused to endorse Mitt Romney and vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s plan for Medicare on Monday.
In a Fox News interview with Neil Cavuto, both Scott and Perry joined a growing number of Republicans distancing themselves from the Romney-Ryan plan for Medicare by saying that they are willing to entertain Romney and Ryan’s ideas, but they don’t necessarily share the same views:
CAVUTO: Governor Scott, do you support what Paul Ryan wants to do? On this issue particularly in Florida, are you open to the switching to the private voucher system Paul Ryan wants for medicare recipients down the road?
SCOTT: Let’s all remember, it is going to be Governor Romney’s plan, he’ll decide what his plan is for Medicare. …. I am going to support a plan to make sure our Medicare recipients, we have 3.3 million of them in Florida, I’m going to make sure they continue to get care. They paid into the system, and we have to make sure we keep that system going. [...]
CAVUTO: You mentioned, Governor Perry, that 26, 29 year-olds, they should be given an opportunity to have something down the road for them. Would that be the cutoff age, then, that if you are that young then you should be veering toward a different type of a system? Because Paul Ryan has his much older than that, in the 40s right now.
PERRY: We are going to have the conversation and the idea that we will draw up a piece of legislation in August of 2012 is not correct. We are not going to do that. Let’s have the conversation though and start a dialogue between the people of this country.
Fourteen years ago, now-Republican Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan entered the political arena when he was just 28 years old, running for House of Representatives in Wisconsin’s 1st congressional district.
Via the Internet Archive, ThinkProgress took a look at Ryan’s 1998 campaign website to see what issues Ryan emphasized in his first congressional campaign. A few consistent themes, from allegations of “class envy” to his initial tack as a defender of Social Security (he later pushed bills privatizing the program), emerged:
1. Vowed to “protect” Social Security: Years before Ryan advocated a form of Social Security privatization so extreme that even former President George W. Bush called it “irresponsible,” Ryan pledged to his constituents that, if elected, he would “preserve Social Security,” calling it a “moral duty.” He also called for re-separating Social Security funds from general funds, an idea made famous with Al Gore’s “lockbox.” [Source]
2. Supported term limits: Ryan, now in his 7th term in Congress and still running for his 8th, once supported a constitutional amendment limiting the number of terms an individual could serve. [Source]
3. Called for congressmen not to use professional tax preparers: “To ensure that reforms are fair and simple, Ryan proposed that members of Congress prepare their own tax returns without the assistance of a professional tax preparer,” a release read. ThinkProgress called his office to see whether Ryan has eschewed tax help since coming to Congress, but his press secretary refused to comment. [Source]
4. Called the tax code “social engineering”: 13 years before Newt Gingrich famously referred to Ryan’s budget as “right-wing social engineering,” Ryan used the same language about our progressive tax system. “Our current tax code is the product of more than 80 years of social engineering which has made it so complicated that even tax lawyers and accountants have a hard time figuring it out.” [Source]
5. Culture warrior: Though Ryan prefers to talk about budget issues nowadays, he was initially more open to discussing cultural issues. His campaign website decried “Out of wedlock births and the social pathologies that follow in their wakes have multiplied.” He also argued that “Cold social programs from the Federal Department of Health and Human Services have displaced good citizenship.” [Source]
6. Accused critics of “class envy”: Repeatedly dismissed those who disagreed with his economic philosophy as practicing “class envy.” “Class envy economics have placed the American dream out of reach for millions of lower class families,” wrote Ryan. “I believe we must pursue a bold agenda of growth by casting aside the shackles of class envy and promoting economic growth and opportunity through lower taxes and by ultimately replacing the tax code.” [Source]
Top Romney adviser Kevin Madden defended VP pick Paul Ryan’s lack of private sector experience on the TODAY show Monday morning, arguing that Ryan’s Washington career does not conflict with Mitt Romney’s oft-repeated charge that Washington’s problems stem from “career politicians” and people who have not worked in the private sector.
TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie asked Madden to explain the contradiction between Ryan’s resume and Romney’s disparaging of public sector work experience:
GUTHRIE: The hall mark of Romney’s argument to be president is that he’s a Washington outsider who has primarily private sector expertise. In Congressman Ryan, you have somebody who’s spent his entire life in Washington and has zero private sector experience. How do you square that?
MADDEN: They have very complementary skills and very complementary resumes. Governor Romney, as you did point out, did spend a lot of time in the private sector, he knows how jobs come and go and also his experience running the Olympics and executive experience as being a governor. I think one of the things that Congressman Ryan brings to the ticket, not only does he know how Washington works, but he also knows how Washington doesn’t work…Congressman Ryan has an experience knowing what needs to be done to fix the way Washington works.
But Madden was singing a different tune just a couple years ago, praising the Tea Party movement for “basically sending a message to Washington that they weren’t going to send the same people back to Washington, career politicians.”
Here are just a few more examples of the anti-insider messaging the Romney campaign now disavows:
“I have spent most of my life outside of politics, dealing with real problems in the real economy,” Romney declared in a primary speech belitting former presidential candidate, Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX). Romney blamed long-term elected officials for the economic crisis: “Career politicians got us into this mess, and they simply don’t know how to get us out.” [VFW Convention August 30, 2011.]
Newt Gingrich is “a perfect example of why we need to send to Washington someone who has not lived in Washington, but someone who has lived in the real streets of America,” Romney said in a primary debate. [CNN Debate, January 19, 2012].
Rick Santorum is “a limited guy, he’s been in Washington all his whole life,” Romney’s chief strategist, Stuart Stevens, scoffed after Santorum’s sweep of three primary contests. “He’s someone who’s been involved in Washington for a very long time, and that’s a completely different approach than Governor Romney.” [NYT, February 8, 2012.]
“I happen to believe that having been in the private sector for 25 years gives me a perspective on how jobs are created — that someone who’s never spent a day in the private sector, like President Obama, simply doesn’t understand. The president’s experience has been exclusively in politics and as a community organizer…someone who spent their career in the economy is more suited to help fix the economy than someone who spent his life in politics and as a community organizer.” [Time Magazine, May 23, 2012]
Ryan launched his government career before he even graduated college, interning in the Senate in 1991, then working for Sens. Bob Kasten (R-WI), Sam Brownback (R-KS) and vice presidential candidate Jack Kemp. During his 13-year tenure in the House of Representatives, only 2 of his bills have become law.
For the first time in 20 years, a woman will moderate a presidential debate. According to Politico, the Commission on Presidential Debates picked CNN’s Candy Crowley as one of the three presidential debate moderators. It also selected ABC’s Martha Raddatz to moderate the vice presidential debate.
Crowley will be the moderator at the town-hall style debate, so she will not be asking most of the questions herself. Still, the move is a significant step toward greater equality. Though women have moderated vice presidential debates before, this is the first female presidential debate moderator since 1992, and the second ever since the commission was established.
While women will be proportionally represented this election season, though, the lineup is still not diverse. All of the moderators — PBS’s Jim Lehrer and CBS’s Bob Schieffer are the male additions — are white.
Banning state-level same-sex marriage. Just as Romney opposed same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, Ryan supported the 2006 ban on same-sex marriage in Wisconsin.
Supporting a federal constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Romney has promised to campaign on a federal marriage amendment, but Ryan has already voted for one — twice, in 2004 and in 2006.
Defending discrimination against same-sex couples. President Obama announced last year he would no longer defend the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act, a decision Romney has characterized as an “assault on religion.” Ryan voted to limit funding to the Justice Department that might be used to oppose DOMA by the Obama administration.
Opposing federal non-discrimination protections. Romney believes that states should get to decide whether LGBT people are protected from employment discrimination, and similarly, Ryan voted to kill the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in 2007, though he ultimately voted for it. His refusal to include sexual orientation and gender identity in his Congressional office’s nondiscrimination policy demonstrates where he stands.
Ryan is perhaps best known for his budget, and that too would devastate LGBT families by eliminating many of the public services they depend upon because of the economic inequities they face. By selecting Ryan as his running mate, Romney is guaranteeing his commitment to rolling back much of the progress the LGBT community has achieved over the past two decades.