Back in February, Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner testifying before a Congressional hearing chaired by Paul Ryan, provided the perfect juxtaposition between the two campaigns in this presidential matchup.
Here’s what we wrote:
Back in February, Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner was responding to questions raised by House Budget Committee Chairman, Paul Ryan, and specifically what the broadly outlined Obama budget made public via an Obama speech was going to do with respect to our long-term debt problem. Geithner's response:
“We’re not coming before you to say we have a definitive solution to that long-term problem. What we do know is we don’t like yours (Ryan's budget proposal.)”
Everything you need to know about the shameless cynicism, small-mindedness and lack of seriousness possessed by this administration is summed up in that quote. But you better get used to it because that quote will represent the emotional and intellectual rigor behind everything else you will hear from now until November.
High unemployment? We're going to tax the rich through the Buffet Rule. High gas prices? We're going to investigate oil market speculators or something. Unsustainable long-term debt? You suck.
And if you haven't heard it yet, get ready: Paul Ryan is going to kill Medicare as we know it.
Because "as we know it" is completely unsustainable and no prominent figure in D.C. from either party outside of Ryan has been willing to acknowlege this let alone put forth a plan on how to save Medicare.
The entire tone and tenor of the campaign has changed with the Ryan pick. Ryan's combination of genial earnestness and his wonkish knowledge of the issues is the perfect counter to the cheap, petty and mindless class-warfare rhetoric that has been the centerpiece of the Obama campaign.
Oh, and good luck trying to demonize a decent, family-oriented Catholic from the Midwest.
And with respect to what Paul Ryan means to this country and our particular generation, Gen-X, here is what we wrote back in April of 2011:
20 years ago, we read a book called Generations which charted 4 recurring generational cohorts through American history.
From the preface:
This book presents the "history of the future" by narrating a recurring dynamic of generational behavior that seems to determine how and when we participate as individuals in social change - or social upheaval. We say, in effect, that this dynamic repeats itself. This is reason enough to make history important: For if the future replays the past, so too must the past anticipate the future.
Obviously, of particular interest to us were the cohort generations (Reactive generations) of the Gen-Xers (in the book, the 13ers, as it was the 13th generation since the nation's declaration of independence). The common trait or characteristic of the cohorts of the Gen-Xers was that though they got off to a rocky start, it was this generation that was asked to make the sacrifices and tough decisions to guide America through turbulent times.
It was interesting to note that the previous cohort to the Gen-Xers contained F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound, Irving Berlin and Eugene O'Neill of the "Lost Generation" that fought the moral crusades of Prohibition and the Palmer Raids "with bathtub gin and opulent sex" but then matured into the generation also of FDR, George Patton, Dwight Eisenhower and Harry Truman that guided this nation through the dual crises of the Great Depression and WWII.
As we read this in our mid-twenties as a much popularly-maligned member of Gen-X, we wondered what history would hold in store and what avenue of redemption would be presented for us to lead. 20 years on, we think it's becoming clear what this crisis is going to be if it is not at our doorstep already. To ignore it is to be blind to the facts and to do nothing about it would be simply a massive moral failure.
Folks, the Gen-Xer-in-Chief, Paul Ryan (via KT):
OK, gang, that's probably it for today. We'll see you tomorrow.