When Mitt Romney selected Paul Ryan as his running mate, he wasn’t simply bringing him on along on the bus to be a cheerleader. In fact, years before joining the Romney team, Ryan had already written his own playbook, and he continues to revise it every year.
Regardless of what one may think of the effectiveness of his policy suggestions, it is hard to deny that Ryan’s “Roadmap for America’s Future” is the most well defined conservative policy manifesto. In it, ideas for reforming the tax code, Medicare, Social Security, the defense budget, and many other areas are proposed. One could argue that this constantly updated budget proposal allows us to have a clearer picture of what a Ryan Presidency would look like compared to one with Romney at the helm. But, if the GOP “comeback team” succeeds in November, it won’t be Ryan sitting in the Oval Office.
So how much influence will Ryan’s ideas have over Romney’s?
In reality, that’s Romney’s call. Although he may not agree with every word written in Ryan’s “Roadmap”, he certainly thinks that it is headed in the right direction. Don’t expect to see any major disagreements between Romney and Ryan, but rather a few dissenting details. One recent discussion of disagreements sprung up when that idiot said some dumb shit about abortions and “legitimate rape”.
As a devoted Catholic, and an equally devoted idealist, Paul Ryan opposes abortions in all cases except when the life of the mother is threatened. Romney’s stance on abortions is slightly less narrow, adding that abortions should also be allowed in the case of rape or incest. Every news outlet covering the election took some time out their busy schedules to write articles articulating this difference, but in the end, it doesn’t really matter. Romney’s name comes first on the ticket, so his policies come first. Even Ryan agrees with this, saying in a recent interview,
“Well, look, I'm proud of my pro-life record. And I stand by my pro-life record in Congress. It's something I'm proud of. But Mitt Romney is the top of the ticket, and Mitt Romney will be president, and he will set the policy of the Romney administration."
Ok, well how about the other stuff they disagree on?
Well for one, the details of their tax plans are different. While they both want to lower rates, they have proposed different ideas as exactly where to set those rates. Ryan boasts that his new tax plan will be so simple that recipients can fit on a postcard.
Finally, someone found a way to combine the spontaneous thrill of a postcard in the mail with the exhilarating rush that comes with filling out tax forms.
His plan sets a 10% rate on everything up to $50,000 for single-filers and $100,000 for married couples. Everything above that is taxed at 25%. So essentially the highest tax bracket starts at $100,000 for joint-filers and $50,000 for single folks. The plan also eliminates taxes on interest, capital gains and dividends. This is where Ryan’s plan differs semi-significantly from Romney’s. Romney proposes eliminating taxes on interest, capital gains and dividends only for those making $200,000 or less.
Yes, this is a tangible difference, but lets be real. Considering that nearly 100% of Romney’s income comes from interest, capital gains, and dividends, agreeing with Ryan’s plan would lower Romney’s effective tax rate to jack shit (%). Campaigning on a platform of “If I’m elected I will start paying no taxes” would not be a good idea, so I don’t think its very likely that the “comeback team” will drop Romney’s “under $200,000” addition anytime soon.
When John McCain selected Sarah Palin as his running mate in 2008, he didn’t have to worry about his policies clashing with her less-than-extensive on-the-record policy opinions. Mitt Romney, in contrast, picked someone with opinions probably more well defined than his own.
But in the end, he’s the Presidential nominee, and Ryan will have to adapt to him, not the other way around. Sure, Romney will certainly heed Ryan’s advice when drafting policy. I’m also sure that neither of them believe that there their ideas are the absolute pinnacle of perfection. Over the last three years, Republicans have put forward a slew of proposals to counter the ideas of the President, but they didn’t have realistic expectations for their present implementation.
If they are elected, their policy would retain the same basic ideas that they are campaigning on, but, especially after going through whatever clusterfuntacular Congress that gets put in place, the details of the proposals will probably end up different.
Moral of the story: What a candidate says during the campaign does not necessarily translate to policy.
Shocker, I know.