"And plenty of people (fewer on the liberal side, though still a great number of moderates) are lauding Ryan himself as ”courageous”. On the surface, such a take is understandable: Ryan’s claim to fame — his “Path to Prosperity” budget — was a political loser when introduced last spring. But a closer look reveals that these claims are bunk: Picking Ryan is essentially a safe sop to the conservative wing of the party, and Ryan himself is not so courageous.
First, Romney’s choice: The past few weeks have made clear that the race is slipping away from him, as President Obama’s lead has widened in state and national polls and the economic outlook has brightened slightly. The right has sensed this — see talk show host Laura Ingraham, among others — and conservatives are convinced that Romney is losing because he’s not assertive or conservative enough. So I agree with the New Republic’s Noam Scheiber when he writes this:
Ryan is the way Romney and his aides escape blame for their now-likely defeat — blame which would have vicious and unrelenting — and pin it in on conservatives instead. With only minor historical revisions, they will be able to tell a story about how Romney was keeping the race close through early August, at which point the party’s conservative darling joined the ticket and sent the poll numbers into steady decline.If moderates such as Condoleezza Rice (pro-abortion rights) and Chris Christie (pro-gun control and moderate on immigration) were out of the question, Ryan was easy to choose ahead of the other possibilities: He has no Bush administration history, unlike Rob Portman, no raft of mini-scandals-in-waiting, like Marco Rubio, and some actual charisma, unlike Bobby Jindal and Tim Pawlenty. Picking a reliable conservative was much safer for Romney than daring the right to abandon him and/or heap all the blame on him for losing in November. By process of elimination, Ryan was the best — and the safest — of the bunch.
As for Ryan himself, to begin with, what policies turned Clinton-era surpluses into Bush-era deficits? In large part, two tax cuts, two wars and a massive prescription drug benefit, and Ryan voted for all of them. (He also voted for TARP, by the way; his fiscal rectitude only included actually voting against massive expenditures once President Obama took office.) His “serious” debt-reduction plan doesn’t balance the budget until 2040. By contrast, the House Progressive Caucus budget, whatever else you think of it, balances the budget within a decade.(Note: In both cases, those are the budgets’ authors’ projections; your math may vary.) Furthermore, no doubt in fear of the senior vote, Ryan dropped the Social Security privatization aspect from his debt plan and now only guts Medicare for people 55 and younger. Finally, Ryan refuses to touch defense spending, retains tax breaks for oil companies that don’t need them, zeroes out the capital gains tax and finds his savings in programs by shredding the already hole-ridden safety net. For a Republican, this is smart politics. But how exactly is it “courageous” or “serious” to protect the interests to some of the most powerful (and wealthiest) lobbies in Washington — Wall Street, oil companies and the defense industry — while heaping painful cuts on the poor? No, the idea that Ryan or Romney’s nomination of him as his vice president is courageous is simply wrong." [Source]
Mr. Bernstein, in his article, tries to make a case that Bolt and his Jamaican teammates have to be cheating to be this good.
"For many of us, years of drug-tainted performances have deadened the senses. Records fall, anthems play, shoes get sold, and then we get back to sports that matter more to us. For others, the athletes are not so much tainted as scientifically enhanced – the competition viewed now as a high-tech synergy of man and molecular engineering, in which the outcomes can still be celebrated for what they actually are, regardless of the laughable rhetoric that accompanies the games, insisting it’s something more pure.
There is another place where too many still exist, however, that is as intellectually dishonest as it is willfully ignorant, where convenient blind spots and emotionaI neediness cause otherwise intelligent people to create fairylands of childish naiveté.
It is indefensible ground. The province of suckers.
Even the simplest assessment of the circumstances surrounding the explosive success of Jamaican sprinting, for example, sets off alarms. There is enough information available that you’d think it would keep anyone from waxing romantic about Usain Bolt or his teammates.
“When people ask me about Bolt, I say he could be the greatest athlete of all time,” Carl Lewis told the Times of London. “But for someone to run 10.03 one year and 9.69 the next, if you don’t question that in a sport that has the reputation it has right now, you’re a fool. Period.”
Jamaica’s Yohan Blake, who just won the silver in the 100 and 200, tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug prior to the 2009 World Championships. Teammates Julian Dunkley and Steve Mullings have also been caught doping.
What are the odds that a tiny, island country suddenly dominates global competition…just because? [Source]
What a dope! (Pun intended) "Suddenly"?
Tell that to Herb McKenley, and Arthur Wint. They won a gold medal in the relays in the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki. McKenley, long before Bolt, was a world champion sprinter. Oh, and Bolt was a world junior sprint champion at the age of 17. (He ran a 19.93 in the 200 meters at the world junior championships) Do you think he was doping then?
In the seventies there was Donald Quarrie, who won gold in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. The list goes on, but I am not going to do the work for a lazy journalist who should have done the research himself before writing a bunch of trash.
Bernstein also writes about two athletes, Julian Dunkley and Steve Mullings, being "caught doping", but they are not on the current Jamaican track team.
In the future I hope that clowns like Dan Bernstein will do their homework -and maybe read articles like this one- before they disparage the hard work and paint with a broad brush of negativity the entire track team of a small but proud nation.
*Cartoon from the Jamaica Observer.