Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Is Paul Ryan (R-WI) a Socialist?

Like many Americans, I watched President Obama's state of the union speech last night, and its Republican response from Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). Ryan, hyped by the GOP and the media as the new right-wing wunderkind, delivered a pretty standard, boiler plate Republican speech. It was short on details and long on vague generalities and misrepresentations of the other party. The entire text of Mr. Ryan's speech can be found here.

Ryan, like many radical conservatives, believes (incorrectly) that programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are unconstitutional. I believe they call it "socialism," if memory serves. So, I found it strange when, toward the end of the speech, Ryan included socialism as a key tenet in the Republican philosophy of the role of government. "We believe government's role is both vital and limited — to defend the nation from attack and provide for the common defense: to secure our borders, to protect innocent life, to uphold our laws and Constitutional rights, to ensure domestic tranquility and equal opportunity and to help provide a safety net for those who cannot provide for themselves." (emphasis mine)

Hmmm...provide a "safety net"? Let's take the tea party position here and ask where exactly in the Constitution does it allow for that? Isn't a safety net socialism? Did Ryan just concede the argument that these programs are, in fact, constitutional? Since Ryan is the author of the Republican's "roadmap," he must know what he is talking about, right? I guess this ends that silly debate, eh?

Paul Ryan and the GOP support socialism. That should have been the headline in all major newspapers.

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