Bill Moyers: In Paul Ryan, The Right at Last Has Their Man

  • submit to reddit
Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, right, and vice presidential candidate Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., wave at the crowd during a campaign event, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012 in Norfolk, Va. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan in Norfolk, Va. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Ever since Barry Goldwater lost his bid for the presidency in 1964, the conservative movement has been looking for a choice, not an echo (Goldwater’s mantra). Reagan came close, but compromised too often on taxes and back-slapped with Democratic Speaker Tip O’Neill too often to give them total satisfaction. George W. was almost the putty-in-their-hands they’d craved, but the vast corruption he tolerated left a record they couldn’t boast of, and his wild deficit spending (including two wars they allowed him to put on the credit card and the budget-busting Medicare prescription bill) frustrated their aim of reducing the government until it could be drowned in the bathtub.

Mitt Romney hasn’t won their hearts either. He has shed so many of his previous positions in order to appease the Tea Party that he sounds as if he is reciting by rote Conscience of a Conservative — Goldwater’s declaration of principles — and just might forget it all the morning after his inauguration.

This was never Romney’s party, and without Karl Rove’s shadowy money behind him, he would not have survived the primaries. So shape-shifting a figure was unlikely ever to inspire the front line troops in an election the Right sees as a showdown with the Anti-Christ at Armageddon. In this campaign, Romney is now the “the man who isn’t there” – the dispensable one.

But in Paul Ryan, the Golden Boy from Janesville who schooled himself in the ideology of right-wing think tanks inside the Beltway, they finally have one of their own — a true believer for the new Gilded Age.

The country, too, now has a choice, not an echo. And that should add up to a definitive election in November.

  • submit to reddit
  • Katrina

    Funny, I was talking about Barry Goldwater to my 20 year old son. Here we go again. I still think Goldwater is scarier than these guys as of now- but wait, they’ll try to scare me (us) again, for sure.

  • Natalie Dandekar

    I think these guys are a lot scarier than Goldwater. Go figure

  • Jonathan Toth from Hoth

    I keep thinking this is a set-up. The GOP has picked the worst candidates (other than they might be the biggest sell-outs) to battle Obama. You think the Dems might be funding this decision as well. Otherwise, what’s next, a massive smear on the president or a false flag attack?

  • Fred B.

    Ryan has done nothing but solidify the base; those who were going to vote for Romney not because they believed in him, but because they were anti-Obama/liberal/Dem/choose one. You now have a more concretized block of voters, but the numbers probably haven’t changed (excluding the announcement day bump). What he hasn’t done is shifted the undecided. They are still vacillating and will continue to do so throughout the rest of the cycle until they have to hold their collective noses and make a choice. Ryans’ budget is up for a rewrite because of the tea party-esque drek that it is and this could be seen as a resignation of principles for the sake of politics. Once the adjustments begin, if the Dems don’t show this as lack of resolve by the R&R, they deserve to choke on their lack of fight.

  • Dan Duncan

    Unfortunately, regardless of the outcome in November, Ryan will either lead the way with his policies or he will be a leader in devisive blocking of anything that President Obama will try to do. Doesn’t look good for us Americans who will pay the price either way. Romney wins, we return to horrible foriegn policy decisions that lead to wars, more wealth at the top, cuts for the poor and middle class that Republicans will have no idea how to handle the poverty they will face. Unless, President Obama has a new way of dealing with the obstruction of ANY of his plans for our future, change under his administration will be small and slow. Both options are depressing for all of us unless we find a way to change Capitol Hill. Those guys aren’t giving up there “entitlements” any time soon, especially Mr. Ryan. It’s now virtually impossible to protest. So where are “our” options?.

  • John Daniels

    Well done, not simply “spun”. Thanks for the clear thought. I agree that this choice of Ryan makes our choice clearer.

  • Steven C Mitchell

    Don’t be scared, get angry, get to work!

  • Steven C Mitchell

    Ryan, Romney et al conservatives represent the Pharisees of the present day; make no mistake about it.

  • Joel Applegate

    Thank you, Bill. It’s so important for this message to get out there. Ryan’s so-called “philosophy” is bankrupt thinking.

  • Sharon

    Romney is on a short leash by the power brokers: Norquist, Rove and Cheney. They approve Ryan and maybe it isn’t an accident that Romney introduced Ryan as the next President of the United States.

  • cali gal

    Dan, Ryan is up for re-election in his district and I understand his challenger is a viable strong candidate. Maybe we shall work and support getting Ryan out of the House too!!!

  • Anonymous

    Romney should fire all his staff, borrow a bunch of money from Rove and the Shadow gang, and sell the shambles of his Presidential campaign to Paul Ryan for a nifty little profit.

  • ivar

    If Paul Ryan’s ideas were to become policy, everyone interested in working for a living who are 50 and below will have a shot. With current policies, nobody 50 and younger got any real chance. Including those preferring foodstamps and social security disability, etc.

  • Anonymous

    In case you haven’t noticed President Obama has been rather mum on what he plans to do with Social Security. Don’t forget he is the one who gave us the Cat Food Commission.

  • Anonymous

    A quote from Mark Twain during the last Gilded Age.

    “What is the chief end of man?–to get rich. In what way?–dishonestly if we can; honestly if we must.”
    — Mark Twain-1871

    The divide in America is not between political parties and their ideologies, between religious beliefs, between rich and poor, or between value systems; it is between the corporate state and the citizen.

    Supporters of “The Corporate State…” march to the following orders; establish optimal conditions for private firms so that they may profit without interference.

    The marching orders follow a simple set of principles: elimination of outside influence on compensation and benefits, and other operating expenses; removal of controls (regulations) impacting freedom of action; and establishment of barriers to prevent challenges to the corporate state’s control.

    “The Citizen” has the following desires; physical cravings of food, drink, shelter and sex; emotional yearnings of recognition, validation; and rational needs for truth and knowledge. “The Citizen” follows a basic principle; rationalize actions to satisfy physical and emotional desires.

    “The Corporate State” and “The Citizen” have one thing in common; Money.

    Money is the means and motivation for “The Corporate State” to make a profit; and for “The Citizen” to satisfy its physical and emotional desires.

    Where there is money, there is greed.

    “The Corporate State” demonstrates greed when in the interest of profit through financial gain they throw destitute families out of homes, allow the uninsured to die, wage useless wars, poison and pollute the ecosystem, slash social assistance programs, gut public education, trash the global economy, plunder the U.S. Treasury and crush all popular movements that seek justice for working men and women.

    “The Citizen” demonstrates greed when in the interest of satisfying physical and emotional desires it seeks financial gain without providing, when physically capable and effectively educated, an equitable contribution of service in return.

    “The Corporate State” and “The Citizen” must acknowledge their greed; and must acknowledge that without controls greed goes unchecked. Money is not going away and neither is greed going away.

    “The Citizen” has the ability to address its greed. To do so, “The Citizen” must continually strive to insure that its rational desire for truth and knowledge provides a check and balance between money and, physical and emotional desires.

    “The Corporate State” is not a citizen; it does not have physical cravings or emotional yearnings. For “The Corporate State” to address greed “The Citizen” must continually strive that their rational desire for truth and knowledge provides a check and balance between money and “The Corporate State’s” profit impact on society.

    Controls on “The Corporate State” are required. Greed unchecked in “The Corporate State” results in the removal of all services, eliminating the middle class and working class; it results in physical and mental death; “The Citizen” loses all hope. When hope is lost, “The Citizen” rationalizes food, alcohol, religion, and material consumption to their extremes. Today’s social Darwinism is tomorrow’s social genocide.

    Controls on “The Citizen” are also required. Greed unchecked in “The Citizen” results in excessive use of services; entitlement becomes the norm; extreme debt the result. Greed unchecked in “The Citizen” who is a member or supporter of “The Corporate State” increases greed of “The Corporate State” exponentially. The negative impact on society is also exponential, coming full circle back to the need for controls on “The Corporate State”.

  • Donald Parker

    the Rights’ solution for the economy will be debtors prison.

  • David Olson

    Remember when all talk within the Beltway was David Stockman as the budget wunderkind whiz-kid guru under Reagan and Jack Kemp was the supply side salesman? Ryan worked for Kemp for awhile and so that must have been his indoctrination to voodoo economics complementing his then newly found devotion to his idol Ayn Rand. Other things equal, the Obama campaign should be able to run with this gift and win re-election. However, I agree with other comments that Ryan will not go away and he will be positioned to run for president in 2016 regardless of whether he holds onto his seat. The Movement Conservative mandarins have definitely found their man.

  • David Olson

    What a bunch of rubbish. Paul Ryan’s “budget” is a fraud and has two hidden agendas: (1) decimate the federal government and safety net programs; and, (2) transfer even more of our Treasury to the wealthy and uber-rich. As for your simplistic under/over 50 analysis, my son who is very much under 50 has a good career with one of the top software companies in the world. I am definitely over 50 and have been working steadily for well over 30 years without any governmental handout. No one “prefers” food stamps or disability. Get a grip, there are 23 million unemployed Americans who were mostly victims from the worst financial crisis and recession since the Great Depression. That financial crisis and recession was mostly caused by fiscal and public policies that Ryan and his supporters wish to reinstate setting up the next crisis.

  • jerusha

    a definitive election with more shadowy money from who-knows-who than ever. a definitive election rife with voter registration suppression and “superpacs” fueled by multinational “persons” excercising monetary “free speech” and plastering the airwaves with self-interested distortions and untruths

  • gkloner

    The choice in November couldn’t be more stark . The Obama vision represents the 99%, the Romney vision the 1% .

  • Sheeple

    I believe this election has become the 2nd US Civil War. Each side is definitive and voracious with only one objective – to win, at any cost. We, the American people are merely the collateral damage.

  • Scott McClain

    I think we should move Capitol Hill. Let’s move it to another state. Then the buzzards of the Beltway would have to migrate. I’ll put a suggestion out there and not just because I lived there 10 years. Kansas City. Everyone on the coasts would have about the same drive time.

  • Justin Schier

    The reason this “true believer” stuff doesn’t resonate with me is that the “make the rich richer” politicians known as the Republicans don’t really believe in the regressive social agenda they have co-opted in order to get votes.

  • Mary in Baltimore

    “MAYBE” we should get to work replacing Ryan in Congress?!?! I am long unemployed and living on Social Security & dwindling “retirement” funds, but have been sending tiny checks for months to Zerban . . . along with Kaine, Grayson, and every other sane candidate in especially endangered states — in desperate hopes of a House & Senate that Obama can work with. Yes, it took him waaay too long to GET IT that the GOP is resolutely out to block his every effort; but even his “getting it” will not save us if we don’t protect the good and replace the deranged on the Hill. Get to work NOW, with your checkbooks and your volunteered time.

  • Anonymous

    I’m with Jonathan….when is the other shoe going to drop? This is too easy.

    Ryan isn’t going to win over any independents? His dismantling of Medicare is documented in his budget. And he raises the eligibility age for seniors. He cuts Social Security by changing the COLA calculations. He repeals Obamacare.

    His pick is a disaster for getting swing voters.

    Either the powers-that-be in the GOP are really that out of touch with the middle. Or there is something coming.

    Or maybe it’s as simple as live by pandering to the Tea Party….and die by it. GOP must feel they have a strong enough base to win the election that they can play to the extremes.

  • Americaphile Freedom













  • Jim Potter

    Social Security is at the present time not a pressing concern. The economy and health care are far more pressing concerns.

  • Jim Potter

    Good post. I’ve been saying pretty much that same thing for a number of years now, that when you dig down to the root of the matter America’s biggest problem is its rampant greed.
    America is capitalism run amuck. America is Ancient Rome on steroids. America is Ancient Rome with nuclear weapons.

  • Lucky Lou

    The Republicans wouldn’t be this crazy if Hillary Clinton was president. hehehe!

  • swanlady123

    excellent post – balanced and well written thank you

  • WeRDevo

    I’m still having a hard time believing Romney will be a Presidential candidate. Time to jump off a bridge with no water under. I love what tczyz had to say. Now that’s someone who should be President! A very wise soul who is for the people.

  • Barbara Kinney

    Right on!

  • Barbara Kinney

    I love your knowledge & wisdom. Thank you for this post!

  • Barbara Kinney

    A socialistic economy is much more fair to all than is a capitalistic one. See Iceland.

  • Owen Johnson

    Absolutely, Mary. It matters little who’s in the White House if the Congress isn’t doing anything constructive. We need a Democratic majority in both Houses if this country and its people are to survive the Tea Party idiots. Really, I think the Presidential race is just a diversion to keep us from seeing what’s going on in local and Congressional races. Support your Democratic candidates at ALL levels, where their Republican opponents are getting huge contributions from the Koch brothers and their ilk.

  • Kit Carson

    The Republicans will handle the poverty by pretending it doesn’t exist, as always.

  • Rose in Michigan

    Absolutely, Mary. I can vote for my senator and representative, both Democrats and both pretty good, if not perfect, but since I can’t vote for Elizabeth Warren I signed up for a small monthly contribution to her campaign last fall. It may not be much, but I think it’s only one of many small contributions from around the country funding her run for the Senate, and in the aggregate they’ll make a difference.

    What is it the Christophers say? Better to light one candle than curse the darkness. Some of us can do more than others, but each of us can do something, and as Obama’s 2008 campaign demonstrated, grassroots mobilization is powerful.

  • Simon Rodan

    If Paul Ryan believes that a tax cut for the 1%, the entrepreneurial
    “job creators”, will reduce unemployment, then he should support
    legislation that makes any tax cut contingent on the reduction in
    unemployment achieved.

    At the end of each tax year if unemployment falls by say 2%, “job
    creators” get to keep their tax cut. Otherwise they pay full fare like
    the rest of us.

    Surely this is exactly the kind of “pay for performance” that Republicans are so keen on?

  • Barbara Friedman

    I guess you really fell for the Repugnican rubbish and lies! NOBODY prefers foodstamps, but the extreme right wing of our Congress will not allow any bills helping the country to even come up for votes, as they do NOT want Obama to show success in any area they can control! They’d rather see the entire country fail rather than have Obama succeed! Those of you under 50 should stop whining and start learning what is happening around you that keeps the jobs from happening and the economy from strengthening! Look to the Koch Brothers controlling this Supreme Court and the Congress, and look to Karl Rove and his demonic plans for winning the controll of all 3 sections of Government, and then you will see what true evil is!
    This country was on the road to becoming the envy of the world, and now, thanks to an uncompromising Congress, we are the laughing stock instead! Who ever heard of the good of a country being second to the good of “The Party”, except in Dictator Nations! Heaven help us, you younger people haven’t the experience or understanding to know when your country is under siege by a very dangerous element! Wake up before our United States is gone!

  • Kevin Daugherty

    Romney’s Freudian slip…..introducing Ryan as the next President of the U.S., because, deep down he knows he ain’t what the right really wants. But Ryan is.

  • David Sherburne

    moon calling earth… moon calling earth, come in earth!

  • Chad Quick

    It’s been discussed in many circles including NPR, but not
    much seems to come of it. Why doesn’t
    the Obama team pony up and choose Illinois “Golden Girl” Hilary as his running
    mate? That would certainly secure some
    swing votes.

  • Keocookie

    And the residents in the prison will be required to pay for their own room and board, etc.!

  • Fred Felix

    The far right is absorbing the Republican party. Eventually the Tea Party will prevail and supplant Republicans.

  • Ed

    Well said Dan

  • A

    With Romney, there’s only wealth at the top? I’ve never seen more wealth at the top than now, in fact there’s literally only wealth at the top left now.

  • Not Nuts in CA

    I guess the lemmings missed the part where Ryan wrote the budget with a democrat representative from Oregon. MSNBC will never give the whole story and most these posters arent willing to listen to anything but the party script.

  • Vox Populi

    The Romney-Ryan Austerity Plan will allow Obama to sell out Social Security and Medicare for the benefit of his corporate sponsors and still look like the Lesser Evil. What genius, employing a black man to shove the neo-liberal agenda down the throats of the 99%. Some people still haven’t caught on.

  • Jeff

    Oh boy, talk of the kettle calling the pot black. Moyers is a member of the elitist left wing extremists who now labels Ryan a radical? Moyers is so far to the left he can’t even hold down a position on NPR. And now he attacks a man who has literally pulled himself up by his bootstraps? As the Dems recall the Goldwater campaign, they should also recall the use of negative campaigning, employed by Johnson’s publicists, remember the little girl and the mushroom cloud, the guys on the left pioneered negative advertising via television and now decry the use of negatives by Republicans even though they still use it. Wasserman Schultze can’t even keep a straight face when she tries to explain away the errors in the latest piece calling Romney a murderer. And then she claims not to know the party affiliation of the creators, even though the founders are former Obama staffers, get a life!

  • Anonymous

    “They (US Congressmen) give well-worn speeches on the yet elusive progress toward paradise for all citizens. But that paradise is but a fiction for the masses of ordinary citizens. The establishment paradise has been constructed and evolved in such a fashion that it is to remain that way in the name of the established order, conservatism and preservation of the powerful status quo.”


  • K. Wayne

    Bill agree with most except the “choice” we’ll have come november. Obama is a shill for the wall st banks. There is no three legs to the system with the almost complete capture of the courts – see the sentinel decision, kelo decsion etc. This country is an addict and as such can only begin recovery once it hits bottom. Sad.

  • Anonymous

    “Drowned in the bathtub????” ” ‘shadowy’ money???” C’mon, cut out the gratuitous hyperbole. It’s beneath you as a writer and me as a reader. How about Obama’s National Defense Authorization Act that lets the military incarcerate U.S. citizens without a warrant and hold them without recourse to a court indefinitely. And, btw, Biden and Romney support that Act, too … the question that hasn’t even been asked is whether Ryan does. If he does, there still won’t be much of a choice between tickets. And also, btw, Goldwater’s Conscience of a Conservative espouses far more liberal ideas than any of current candidates have ever enunciated. You should try reading it before condemning it, Mr. Moyer. “Liberal” and “Conservative” have gotten turned topsy turvy in today’s political world.

  • Mike Huisman

    Well you have to hand it to the Republicans they are willing to go all in in a wild game of Washington Hold’em. Tomorrow morning Romney will announce Paul Ryan as his running mate. Paul Davis Ryan is the U.S. Represe
    ntative for Wisconsin’s 1st congressional district, serving since 1999. He is a member of the Republican Party, and has been ranked among the party’s most influential voices on economic policy.Wikipedia

    This pick is truly a move by Romney to appease the Republican Party. It is a pick he would have preferred to make in 17 days at the convention, but the negative wounds in the last couple of weeks, inflicted by both the Democrats and self-inflicted by Romney, have put enough pressure on him that he needs to get it diverted now, not in 17 days. Paul Ryan, of course, is noted for his budget from hell that has taken heat from both the left and the right side. Many Conservatives feel Ryan is not conservative enough, he stated that the budget from Ryan will raise the debt by 4 trillion dollars and not balance the budget for 28 years. The left calls it cold-hearted and a danger to the senior citizens, the poor and the economy which it says will come to a halt with the budget cuts. He wants, among other things, to make Medicare a voucher program.

    This now makes Romney really irrelevant, which is maybe fine with him at this point, and puts the election on the backs of Republican Conservatism vs. Obama and the middle class. It is the chance for the Conservatives to grab the golden ring and change American Society as we know it or they can end up losing almost everything, the Presidency, Congress and Governor races across the country. That is if, the Democrats can show the right wing to be a dangerous philosophy that is only for the advantaged Americans in a way that angers the middle class majority and Independents. This should be an easy task when all you have to do is get the people to fear something and what you have or have not accomplished becomes as irrelevant as Romney has. But, it is a tall order for a Democrat Party that failed to win over these same voters the first two years while maintaining a majority in both houses and who quite frankly at time resembles “the gang that can’t shoot straight” even when the target is three feet away, big as a house and too stubborn to move. The gauntlet has been thrown by a Republican Party who feels they can’t risk waiting another four years and I expect the Democrats will welcome this fight more than the one that might have been. Let us hope one way or the other that the American People do not become collateral damage.

  • Jerry Fair

    David Stockman wrote a very unflattering opinion of Ryan which reveals the total hogwash of the Ryan economic plan and at the same time reveals how bad it would be if Romney Ryan somehow got into the oval office. There is no reason to vote Republican when you add up the minuses and minuses of what they will do. Yes President Obama has lied like a rug and done a less than stellar job but what makes anyone think Romney Ryan will one bit better. Things may improve with Obama but it has no chance of improving under Romney. No chance. I am a long time republican and this is my view. I would love to vote republican but that party is not the same party it used to be.

  • Anonymous

    Barbara – Thank you for your comment, much appreciated. My essay was considerably influenced by two books; Chris Hedges, “Death of the Liberal Class” and Plato’s “Republic”.

  • Tom

    There is two problems with the Romney Ryan ticket. First even though Ryan speaks of a smaller government, he still supports the high ticket items in the budget like defense spending and reduced taxes for the people who can afford more taxes. If he wants to reduce spending then he should start with defense and lead through the spending for congressional administration. While it is easy to attack the old and the poor. They have little money to give toward the election. There has been a lot of talk about trickle down effect of government spending. The best people to give money to is the people who will spend it all. Give money to the poor and they have to spend the money. Give money to the rich and they invest the money but often (as with Romney) outside the country.

  • Sila

    Outstanding comment, I hope you don’t mind me sharing your post on social networks. Many thanks, blessings, and much prosperity!

  • Sila

    You should be on a comedy tour, hit the nail on the head; Love it! Cheers, be well!

  • Anonymous

    Please do so. Also note that my essay was considerably influenced by two books; Chris Hedges, “Death of the Liberal Class” and Plato’s “Republic”.

  • Albert Lopez

    If this people don’t scar the hell out you I don’t know What Will !!!

  • Anonymous

    Good idea! Love it! This is the idea that needs spreading like the fires out West. Bravo. I’ll let me friends know in Wisconsin if they haven’t already gotten onto the band wagon.

  • csweet

    The fact that Mr. Ryan’s budget represents saving money by robbing all the railroad workers pension plan that they have paid for and worked their lives building makes it impossible for me to support or trust him at all.

  • Anonymous

    Interesting thinking but it all boils down to 5,000 years without practicing integrity on this planet, as so wisely expressed by Lao Tsu. Instead of making comparisons between humans and corporations, one needs to admit that these entities exist due to our minds. We created corporations! And once people decided to divide the land; then, began the greed. We need to move to higher ground where we realize our ridiculous natures and start sharing again on Earth since we have finite resources. When one takes on a multi-universe perspective, well, we are all looking rather amusing, stupid–corporate or not!

  • Anonymous

    Clever idea! Great. Let your representative know about it–move it forward.

  • Anonymous

    a plate shift due to excessive fracking!

  • jim

    SS is in deficit spending already and the current $2.7 trillion fund will be gone in less than 20 years. Every year they “kick the can” down the road escalates the problem. There will be a point when all payoffs will automatically be cut to less than 75% because there will not be enough coming in.

  • al loomis

    ryan is just a flag, carried by a great angry mob of orcs who want to go back to the fifties when white men had good jobs that supported a family, white women were chained to the kitchen stove, brown people didn’t count, and the marginal tax rate was 90%. strangely, no one ever connects that 90% to the general prosperity of the time.


    My grandaughter starts kindergarten this year. She and her mother are excited. As am I. In the course of registering for kindergarten her mother was presented with a list of things she would need to purchase in the way of supplies for the school year. Among those items were such things as: 15 glue sticks, 6 pencils, 6 black pencils from Office Depot, 2 boxes of markers, Kleenex, dry erase markers, a large box of sanitize wipes, a package of Playdough, coloured pencils and a box of 24 crayons. The list was much longer. All of the supplies are to be placed in the common supply to be used as needed.
    I can understand the need to place the supplies in a common supply. Some of the parents of some children will not be able to afford some things and it would not be nice to deny some children the opportunity of participating in class activities on the basis of their parents financial ability. That is only right.
    But the fact that the school system is asking parents to buy basic supplies to conduct a class is disturbing to me. It seems that a school district, given the money to buy the supplies could bargain with wholesale suppliers and get much better prices. As it is the parents of the students are being forced to buy at retail prices for the supplies needed in school. Doesn’t this raise the cost of the education?
    I suppose this ties back to the American horror at paying taxes. Rather than everyone paying a small tax and allowing their representatives at the school to purchase supplies, we prefer “pay as you go”. With the unintended effect of paying higher prices for the things we need. Thus the consumers of school supplies are forced into the arms of the retailer, prices are driven up for school supplies due to the increased retail demand, and the overall cost of school supplies is raised. Not to mention the time and expense each parent will incur.
    In this country we are doing the same thing on a much grander scale in our provision of medical care. Some of our leaders are trying to do away with Medicare as a government administered medical plan and move to a system of “vouchers” where we get a cash credit to use on the open market to purchase medical insurance. In fact driving customers to the insurance companies.
    The Veterans Administration uses their bargaining power to good effect in their negotiations on drug prices. The VA is able to get much more favorable prices for many of the drugs they supply to veterans. The large drug companies fight tooth and nail to prevent such a system from gaining traction nationwide. But the savings are apparent in the VA system. Those type of savings could be enjoyed on a much grander scale. But it would require us to trust our elected representatives and to demand that they diligently work on our behalf. Medical care, just like school supplies, are needed. They both have cost. That cost needs to be managed.
    I wonder if Americans are so engulfed in self-doubt that they think we can’t do something on a grand scale anymore. We could have an efficient, cost effective medical system that served all of the citizens of this country. But it will have to be WE. We can’t go about controlling our costs by giving government money, through taxes, to individuals and expecting them to get a good deal on their own. Big insurance and big medicine will take the money, give the least they can and then they will lobby the government to give the individual MORE money to spend on health care. That is how it will happen if we delude ourselves into thinking that the “free” market will produce low prices in a commodity that everyone needs. It is corporate influence on Congress that is pushing the privatize Medicare idea. The corporate idea of “privatize” is to put tax dollars in their shareholders pockets. Do you think they will welcome a cutback in that government money in order to economize? Do you think they will embrace cutbacks in re-imbursement? If history is any guide, no! You can look to the defense establishment for your answer.

  • gina smith

    The “golden boy” voted against equal pay and believes that “snow ” is the proof that there is no global warming !

  • Disgruntled

    Everyone leaving a message is just blowing hot air, no matter which side you are on. Where the hell is the middle ground? Where the hell are moderates? I am just sick all this stupid rhetoric and nonsense. None of you know what you are talking about!!!!!!!!

  • Matt Matthews

    I’m with you JT, because Obama is a Repub in Dem clothing. the idea has always been to move us all further toward feudalism, and Obama is part of the phony left, but ends up looking like a “moderate” the farther the “other side” moves to the fascist right. It is well calibrated; people like Rove, etc., al., do this for a living, and it is ALL they do. Not a big shock that they are good at it.


    If Ryan is the Golden boy his voting record does not show it. He was for most of the unfunded spending during the Bush years, including 2 wars and the big tax cuts for the rich. So suddenly he is Mr. Tightwad and the born again cutter of spending and no taxes.

  • george

    Getting Ryan out of office? Yeah, because you guys did such a great job with the Walker recall. Wisconsin has, literally, a criminal as Governor, yet enough of the state is apparently to stupid or doesn’t give a sh%t to do the right thing. Good luck with Ryan.

  • Don Jessy

    Sorry Jim, better check the figures. SS is in good shape, and will be clear away until 2050. This rumor tha it is broke is one of those used to disparage gov’t programs without actually looking at the statistics.

  • Kenneth Shipman

    Gravity’s Rainbow

  • kenegbert3rd

    Parenthetical to this fine digest of the situation by Mr. Moyers (to say nothing of the recent appearance on MOYERS & CO. by Tom Morello), I thought it would be helpful to note the following URL, if I could:
    Apparently Representative Ryan has in passing name-checked Rage Against the Machine and identified himself as ‘a fan.’ Maybe someone should Email him the words to their track ‘Wake Up’ (you hear it over the closing credits of the first MATRIX movie): ‘How long? Not long, ’cause you reap what you sow!’ Thanks for affording us a place to discuss this, Mr. Moyers and company.

  • Anonymous

    I also appreciate your post, and would like to add another perspective that I seem to be the only person talking about. We need to become more mindful of the presence of sociopaths in our society. You can find many excellent resources on sociopathy on the internet (e.g., “duckduckgo” — my new “google” — “profile of the sociopath”).

    In brief, typical sociopaths are incapable of forming emotional attachments to other people. They are pathological liars who are capable of effecting a superficial charm. They use their charm to con and manipulate others. They cannot feel shame or guilt. In summary, they feel free to use people in any way they want to get whatever they want (Twain had it right!).

    Here’s some good news: various estimates suggest sociopaths are only about 1-4% of the U.S. population. More good news, at least for society in general: many sociopaths self-destruct (alcoholism, drug addiction, etc).

    Now here’s the bad news. There are many sociopaths, probably hundreds of thousands, who don’t self-destruct. Many of them, due to their willingness to do anything (illegal or immoral) to get what they want, including power and control over others, are in positions of great power. Watch, analyze, and more deeply understand (through the lens of sociopathy) the behaviors of so many people who infest the centers of power (I think you know the places I’m talking about). Centers of power are sociopath magnets.

    It seems to me that the presence of sociopathy, especially in places of great power, explains to a large degree our present condition as well as historical conditions. We as a society would benefit by recognizing sociopathic behavior and the people behind it, calling them out, and doing our best to remove them from power — whether through electoral defeat or urging our more responsible citizens in power to use legal means.

  • Michael Green

    If it is a definitive election and Rmoney and Ry-UN win, then this country really is not the one the Founders envisioned or that God, according to the devout, created. It is instead a hellhole.

  • Sandi from Texas

    The only problem with Kansas City is the Koch Brothers would have more access to lobby the Representatives and Senators with their narrow and extreme agenda!

  • Bill D. Jennings

    It is difficult to deal with the obstructionist when the voting moronic public keeps giving he ball to the GOP. We had a one vote majority in the Senate and then lost the House in 2010. So for 18 months we have been in a GOP filibuster in the Senate and a “Let’s pass anything that is meaningless” House agenda as the GOP moronic faithful keep chanting ”down with government” yet continue to elect the same morons they have been electing for decades. The Bush crash was not bad enough. Until we have 40% unemployment and people dropping dead in the streets and Social Security and Medicare eliminated as the elderly die like flies the really moronic ”so-called independents” will continue to hold their handguns and vote for their own destruction at the hands of greedy selfish bastards who worship the almighty dollar. The irony is they do it ”ALL in the name of GOD” whom they ”serve” by doing the exact opposite of what He asked us to do! While Christians work for the Anti-Christ movement of the GOP it is difficult to remember we are simply trying to save our ”government of the people, by the people and for the people” from reverting back to an oligarchcal fascist tyranny that we fought and declared to be free of in 1776.

  • Charles Boone

    The Republican’s keep saying that Social Security is going broke. Then why give ALL the tax breaks for the wealthyand steal it from the public. This is money that WE have put in, not them.
    Give it back!

  • MsLindaB

    I keep reminding people that Ryan voted in 2010 against the $250 check proposed for Social Security recipients who were seeing their income reduced due to the COLA formula, no inflation and other rising costs. He said NO to seniors then and he will continue to do it if elected.

  • destroyideas

    Thank you for talking about the hidden tax on the working class. As the Republicans push to cut taxes and government spending, it’s just raising the price of entry into our society on the poorest people. Cut spending on parks, and now you have to pay to enter them. Cut spending on schools, and now you have to provide your own books, pencils, etc. The only way it could be worse is if they actually went through with flat tax plans, or if they actually charged the poor more.

    Oh… that’s right. Mitt Romney pays 13% in Federal taxes, and the poor pay over 20%.

  • destroyideas

    Have you ever heard a VP candidate talk about what “we” would do instead of what “he” (the pres. candidate” would do? He points to “our plan” instead of to “Romney’s plan.”

  • Anonymous

    Excellent, excellent post! What a great analogy. Thank you

  • Carol Foss

    I always look at the VP position as the most important slot. If something should happen to the Pres., who do I want running the country? This guy is scary. I don’t think he’s an original thinker, I think he’s a smooth operator. A good portion of his words have been said by other candidates.

  • Anonymous

    It absolutely matters who’s in the White House! Remember the next POTUS could appoint as many as three Supreme Court justices!

  • Dave Q.

    Funny, I sort of thought Romney was the Anti-Christ

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for your comments, and your research suggestions they are appreciated.

    In a certain respect I’ve considered your perspective as well, but possibly coming out it unknowingly from two different avenues.

    First, the Governor of Maine, Paul LePage was a run-away from an abusive father at age 13, lived on the streets, until a family “adopted” him. Yet, as Governor he has taken a slash and burn approach to dealing with Maine’s budget deficit. A friend posted on Facebook the following regarding the Governor.

    “Paul LePage could have learned from his unfortunate childhood and become a champion of the disadvantaged — instead he became a bully.”

    My response was that his abusive childhood had robbed him of the ability to become a champion. This begs the question, is he emotionally equipped for an office upon which should demand emotional IQ as well as business acumen? See below.

    “Childhood abuse or trauma has a pronounced effect in brain development. It can lead to subtle structural abnormalities in the frontal lobe, which is closely related to the limbic system — …the seat of our emotions. These abnormalities may result in deep-seated personality deficits (for example, an inability to be empathetic, or pathological narcissism) that are not readily diagnosable as psychiatric disorders. This may explain why early exposure to traumatic stress or disruptive changes in environment may result in more fundamental behavioral changes that are more often diagnosed as personality disorders. Some of these individuals may be prone to aggression and dehumanization of others in the service of a cause that they find noble.”

    Before continuing my apology as this is not intended to offend anyone’s sensitivity with respect to profanity. I will replace the actual word with “baloney”.

    Second, I’m reminded of an excellent book by Princeton professor Harry G. Frankfurt;

    From the Princeton Press website:

    “One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much “baloney”. Everyone knows this. Each of us contributes his share. …”

    Frankfurt proceeds by exploring how “baloney” is distinct from lying. He argues that “baloney”ters misrepresent themselves to their audience not as liars do, that is, by deliberately making false claims about what is true. In fact, “baloney” need not be untrue at all.

    “Rather, “baloney”ters seek to convey a certain impression of themselves without being concerned about whether anything at all is true. They quietly change the rules governing their end of the conversation so that claims about truth and falsity are irrelevant. Frankfurt concludes that although “baloney” can take many innocent forms, excessive indulgence in it can eventually undermine the practitioner’s capacity to tell the truth in a way that lying does not. Liars at least acknowledge that it matters what is true. By virtue of this, Frankfurt writes, “baloney” is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are.”

  • Kathleen

    Check out Alexandra Petri’s op-ed in the August 18 Washington Post. Funny but a good sign that lots of folks want to distance themselves from Ryan and his ilk.

  • youmustbejoking

    “Yes, it took him waaay too long to GET IT that the GOP is resolutely out to block his every effort;”

    How is it that a smart man like the President is only now getting it? I labor for a small hourly wage, have no advanced degree, and I “got it” about a week after his inauguration. This is why the race is so close. Many suspect that the President isn’t playing with a full deck. Hard to listen to campaign rhetoric and pretend the last four years never happened.

  • Denise

    Couldn’t agree more. You took the words right out of my mouth.

  • Linda

    Excellent post. This concept is often described as a way to preserve our “freedom” of choice and knowing what is best for “our own” child, family or self. The word ‘freedom’ has had a large role in the creation of the United States of America, but when I see it used in reference to, essentially, the concept of “rugged individualism” and making individuals go into the “free market” to negotiate the best possible cost for every individual need–it is inefficient and costly.
    We need to recall what makes a society a society.

  • RiversideTenor

    The GOP are engaged in a Coup d’état to fascism, because plutocracy and oligarchy isn’t enough from a republic of the People and for the People.

  • RiversideTenor

    The days of good respectable leadership are history for America.

  • Pamela Sue Therrien

    I was a Democrat as was my family all my life now an independant due to the fact that I have not seen a REAL Democrat in years and have seen little of Real Republican either for that matter. What I am not is a Socialist, Communist by whatever fancy name makes it more palatable to the Public. I am an American which fully believes in This Nation , our Constitution, and Bill of rights. I believe in the processes of our Government and that this Nation is different than any other because of it. I know many from all oppressed Nations have run to America to escape from exactly what Obama’s “vision” is for this Nation. The problem Obama has with this Nation is not that we are simpletons unable to understand his vision it is that the majority oppose it with every fiber of their being . The Nation while imperfect God knows, for over 200 years was the beacon in the dark night for the world and Nation where anything was possible but not guaranteed. Each person free to choose for themselves what their goals were and how to get there, free to fail and try again and succeed…or fail but freedom of choice was a guarantee and the world looked to America, that is our heritage. The People choose not the Government . Our Government is sent to uphold the laws of the land not pick and choose what is to ones liking or search for ways around the will of the people. Mr. President we don’t want what you are offering and as American’s we have the right to say……NO!

  • alice schrade


  • John Duevel

    I just read most of the comments below; not a word about the elephant in the room (the deficit) and our looming national debt. Where is the call for responsible government? If we keep this up we will all (save for the TWO PERCENT) be standing at the mailbox waiting for a government check – and there won’t be one worth the ink the paper.



  • Debbie Lackowitz

    Bill. So True. And I agree with Dan about Paul Ryan. If he wins, we’re toast. If by some miracle not, then you ain’t seen obstruction like this baby! Anyway. We DO have a choice. It’s called the ballot. USE it. But before you go…don’t forget. Find out all you can about the candidates. Then don’t let your ‘gut’ lead. Use your head! Simple, isn’t it? Oh one more thing. Please make sure you’re registered. It’s important. Cause you can’t vote without it. I hate to say I’ve never seen anything like this election year but…well you know. I’m not being flippant. I AM really concerned that lots of folks are going to be disenfranchised. How silly of me to think we’ve put this past us! One last thing. If we stand together, we CAN win. Divided? We don’t have a chance!

  • nancy

    gotta tell you a secret: the most hopeful (tho guiltily so) moment in my recent life was seeing dick cheney on tv and noticing how short of breath he was…

  • Anonymous

    We probably were all disenfranchised with Bush’s “Right to Vote” Act and the electronic voting machines. As it has been demonstrated over and over again, these machines are very easy to hack. My state, New York, had really great lever machines that were easy to use and problems were almost nonexistant. Now the last couple elections there have been many problems, many caused by the two inept election commissioners who got their jobs via political patronage and then one women’s husband was apppointed to serve out her remaining term. (Such is Republican politics in my county…pure patronage.) And if things are close there’s always the Supreme Court…I’m sure the “gang of five” would like to try their hand at deciding an election!

  • Anonymous

    The two-percent, which is actually more like the .1% will be the reason that the 99.9% has no jobs…at that point it will become unsustainable but I can assure you it’s not because everyone just up and decided to stand by their mailbox and recieve a government check.

  • Anonymous

    He’ll be like Cheney, the power behind the throne…it worked well for the GOP for 8 years before, it will work again. As for Romney, I think it was Limbaugh who said it best: “we just need someone to sign the bills that we send to him.” For the GOP wants to take over the Senate, too.

  • Anonymous

    Why not tax the wealthy for Social Security on all their earnings, not just the first $90,000.? Didn’t Romney make $20. million last year…problem solved!!!

  • Anonymous

    His plan doesn’t cut military spending and increases tax cuts for the wealthy…he isn’t a tightwad when it comes to those topics, just to what the other 99.9% of the population needs.

  • Anonymous

    Women should have had equal pay forty years ago, they all turn their backs on that one. Ryan wants them all barefoot and pregnant and wallowing in debt.

  • Anonymous

    Excellent post! The Greedy Corporatists want to privatise Education too, with their phoney education “reform”. They want our tax dollars to be syphoned out of the public schools and given to “corporate”(not public) charter schools and cyber-charter schools and you’ll still be buying supplies and probably much more, meanwhile public schools will be come more and more impoverished. This is another Corporatist lie; that the teachers are all greedy and lazy, that the schools are all failing and we need “reform”. Collectively we need to use our own brains and rise up against these lies! And concerning the “free market” and commodities: the last time gas went up over 4 dollars a gallon we were using 6 per cent less gas than the same time in the previous year…by “free-market”/supply-and-demand theory(more like grand lies) our prices should have went down, but not according to the Corporatists…they had a myriad of excuses, er…lies. The VA system of drug bargaining does indeed work well, it was a miracle that it went through, thats why they won’t apply it to Medicare or Medicaid and those “vouchers”…I perdict the insurance will be so high that many seniors won’t even bother and the money will stay with the government to be wasted on something. The seniors will just sit home until they die. As for Defense, look up the one where they lost whole pallets of money in Iraq, money that was supposed to be for economic developement and given out to Iraqui citizens to restore their economy…I wonder who’s bank account that went into?

  • Anonymous

    The Corporatists don’t want a society, they want a third world country or a fiefdom. All these deluded people run around saying my “freedom”…yeah, freedom to shoot yourself in the foot or slit your own throats…freedom to vote against your own interests and give your rights away. But as long as they have their Bogus “freedom….

  • Anonymous

    That’s on the agenda of both parties…fracking that is…As they like to say Drill baby Drill, spill Baby spill.

  • Anonymous

    Trickle down is a lie, a Big 30 year lie! Give money to the rich and they hoard it and want more and more. Plus they use their money against everyone else.

  • Anonymous

    Stockman, former Prez. Clinton, Sandy Weill and all the others expressing regret that they aided and abetted the greedy wealthy and their schemes should now stand up and lead the charge instead of just giving us their remorse.

  • Anonymous

    You might be right…Obama seems to have difficulty “doing the right thing.”

  • RedWhiteAndBlue

    Mr. Moyers,

    Every comment I’ve read in this thread is polarized against the Republicans. I haven’t seen any diaglog pursuing common ground which we could use as a foundation for meaningful debate on these topics.

    Does that concern you?

  • PlainOleMike

    “a true believer for the new Gilded Age” I have a hard time figuring out what, if any, reference exists from the guilded age.
    Understanding that fiscal responsibility is an absolute necessity. That our soveriegnty is in jeapordy. Our deficit is almost 16 Trillion dollars. You continue to belittle a person with innovative ideas? Our country cant cant afford to keep giving. Restructure is our only hope. Will the Ryan plan get us off the fiscal cliff? I think so. Does Ryan care about the needs of our poor? Our homeless? Yes, but we cant continue to keep adding to this defecit. Its irresponsible.
    My guess is your reference to the guilded age is oppression of blacks, civil unrest, stripping of voters rights, Where philanthropists spend money. I ask you, did we get this way overnight? We got it over the last 4 years. Where class warfare has taken a toll.