Hard and fast look at Paul Ryan

His policies, his ratings, his Randian romance and the big reactions to Romney's named running mate (UPDATED)

By Alex Halperin
Published August 11, 2012 7:53PM (EDT)
  (AP/Jae C. Hong)
(AP/Jae C. Hong)

Paul Ryan
Party: Republican
Position: Congressional representative for Wisconsin’s 1st District, House Budget Committee Chairman
Age: 42
Family: wife Janna, a tax attorney; children Elizabeth Anne, Charles Wilson and Samuel Lowery
Religion: Roman Catholic
Born: Janesville, Wis.
Hobbies: Deer hunter, bratwurst maker

Selected views:
Major proposal: A controversial 10-year budget overhaul that would, most important, restructure the social safety net in favor of a voucher system
Rating from National Rifle Association: A
Rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America: 0
2011 rating from the League of Conservation Voters (environmental): 3%
Lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union: 91.69, on a scale from 0-100

Reactions to the Ryan choice:

Tea Party Patriots
"Tea Party Patriots welcomes the selection of Paul Ryan as the vice-presidential running mate for Governor Mitt Romney. With this selection, Governor Romney and the Republican Party make it clear that they have accepted the Tea Party Patriots' values of fiscal responsibility, limited government and free markets as the best course of action for economic recovery and restoring personal freedom and individual responsibility to our national values."

Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader
"By picking Representative Paul Ryan, Governor Romney has doubled down on his commitment to gut Social Security and end Medicare as we know it. Romney's choice demonstrates that catering to the Tea Party and the far-right is more important to him than standing up for the middle class. The months ahead will provide Americans with a clear choice between the Romney-Ryan plan to gut Social Security and Medicare and Democrats' balanced approach to deficit reduction that combines smart spending cuts with asking millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share. Democrats in the Senate look forward to engaging in that debate."

Wow! Romney/Ryan - What a powerhouse economic team! It drips of gravitas. Can't wait for the fall elections. #AZSEN

Jennifer Bleak, Ryan's neighbor
The Citizens United decision has made it possible for corporations and foreign governments to donate infinite amounts of money.  And they donate the money to a candidate who will support their ends... which is making money, and that doesn't necessarily benefit the citizens of this country."


Back in Wisconsin:
Democratic candidate for Ryan’s congressional seat: Rob Zerban
Ryan’s fundraising rank among current House candidates: 5
Total fundraising by Ryan as of July 25: $4,347,262
Zerban’s total fundraising: $1,220,547
Percentage of Ryan’s total from small contributors: 14%
Percentage of Zerban’s: 42%

Representative statement from the Zerban campaign: “People here want to feel like their representative is trying to create jobs and spur economic growth and they don’t feel he’s doing that. He’s been flying around the country to Republican fundraisers,” spokesman Karthik Ganapathy.

Private-sector experience:
Mitt Romney tells Time about the value of his time in the private sector: “I happen to believe that having been in the private sector for twenty-five 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.”

Ryan’s private sector leadership experience: None. According to the New Yorker, “In 1998, that gap was enough of a concern for Ryan that he briefly became a 'marketing consultant' at the family business, an obvious bit of résumé puffing.”

Number of years Ryan has worked in Washington since graduating college in 1992: 17

Ayn Rand's influence:
Ryan's view on Ayn Rand in 2005: “I grew up reading Ayn Rand and it taught me quite a bit about who I am and what my value systems are, and what my beliefs are. It’s inspired me so much that it’s required reading in my office for all my interns and my staff.”
Ryan's view on Ayn Rand in 2009: “I think Ayn Rand did the best job of anybody to build the moral case for capitalism and that morality of capitalism is under assault and we are going to replace it with a crony capitalism collectivist government-run system which is creeping its way into government.”
Ryan's view on Ayn Rand in 2012: “I reject her philosophy … It’s an atheist philosophy. It reduces human interactions down to mere contracts and it is antithetical to my worldview.

Alex Halperin

Alex Halperin is news editor at Salon. You can follow him on Twitter @alexhalperin.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

2012 Elections Harry Reid Mitt Romney Paul Ryan Tea Party