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Paul Ryan's Record On Science and Government 543

Posted by Soulskill
from the no-interest-in-underwater-utopias dept.
sciencehabit writes "U.S. Representatives Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) don't have much in common when it comes to politics. Kucinich is a very liberal Democrat who's leaving Congress this January after being defeated in a primary election by a more moderate colleague. Ryan is a conservative leader and now the Republican Party's presumptive candidate for vice president. A dozen years ago, however, the two men found one thing they could agree on—killing the National Ignition Facility, a multibillion dollar laser fusion project at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. The article goes on to explore other impacts Ryan could have on science as VP."
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Paul Ryan's Record On Science and Government

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  • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Friday August 17, 2012 @05:52PM (#41030423)

    ...and it's one of the most impressive scientific endeavors we've undertaken [llnl.gov].

    Yes, one of it's missions is "stockpile stewardship" [llnl.gov] -- maintaining the integrity of the United States nuclear stockpile without nuclear testing, via simulations and tests.

    But it also has a goal of initiating "ignition" [llnl.gov]: a sustained ("sustained" being relative, here) fusion reaction which produces more power than was put in.

    Even if there is no immediate practical application, understanding various aspects of fusion, and the science it takes to get there, is critical to our energy future.

    In short, like many military and national security projects, this is a truly dual-use.

    The NIF just made history by firing its 192 beams to deliver more than 500 terawatts and 1.85 megajoules of energy to its target [llnl.gov] -- more than 1000 times the power the United States uses at any particular instant, and more than 100 times the power of any other laser.

    We do need science like NIF, and I'm still pained by the US decision to kill the Superconducting Super Collider (SSC) [wikipedia.org], what was to be the most powerful particle accelerator in the world -- significantly more so than the LHC -- after 14 miles of tunnels were dug and over $2 billion spent.

    I hope this article [physicscentral.com] wasn't unintentionally accurate when it called the SSC the "high water mark of American science"...(must see photos by the way).

    We NEED big science.

    • I also toured it a few years back. I still watch out for news from them, as they charge up the super ooper awesome laser and get ready to make a mini sun amongst the vineyards there.
    • by Freddybear (1805256) on Friday August 17, 2012 @06:00PM (#41030539)

      The article acknowledges that the LINL project still suffers from some of the fiscal management problems which Ryan objected to, which were some of the same problems the SSC suffered from as well. I guess we are to conclude that wasting taxpayer money on bureaucratic snafus is necessary for the advancement of science.

      • by Ziggitz (2637281) on Friday August 17, 2012 @06:07PM (#41030645)
        Every branch of government and every government funded project wastes money. Every. Single. One. Are we to conclude that we should just shutdown all government because it isn't 100% efficient with its cash flow? Given the potential for huge scientific advances, the interest such projects can invoke in our children, and the relatively paltry amount of spending in comparison to other government agencies and departments, like DARPA and the DoD, we can easily justify absorbing the budget overflow.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by SuperKendall (25149)

          Every branch of government and every government funded project wastes money. Every. Single. One. Are we to conclude that we should just shutdown all government

          Are we NOT to conclude that we should shut down wasteful programs, that we should just carry on?

          Eventually you run out of other people's money, and then what?

          Wasting money in one program means the eventual starvation of programs that do NOT waste money. If no-one is willing to stand up to boondoggles like the bridge to nowhere, the whole government w

          • by Chirs (87576) on Friday August 17, 2012 @06:41PM (#41031015)

            Are we NOT to conclude that we should shut down wasteful programs, that we should just carry on?

            The answer to waste in a program isn't always to shut down the program. Sometimes you should get rid of the waste within the program.

            • by gd2shoe (747932)
              Very true, but it's usually much more efficient to entirely shut down a program, and restart it from scratch. (It really shouldn't be, but it is.) The problem is in identifying and firing problem bureaucrats, and nobody is willing to do that. Instead, they slap them on the wrist, or transfer them around. Nothing ever changes.
              • by dbIII (701233)
                Sorry but I don't really see your post as making any sense and think you've just listened to people looking for an excuse to remove an existing group and put their own cronies into a new sinecure with no troublesome old hands to make waves.
                If you want to actually get to a more concrete goal than bums on seats it makes more sense to learn from mistakes than to ignore them and repeat them with a different group of people (ie. starting from scratch).
                I saw such pointless behaviour as you suggest with a new CEO
            • by hey! (33014)

              One interesting corollary to the fact you can't get rid of all waste in any program (government or otherwise) is that if you under-fund a program that kernel of waste becomes a larger fraction of the overall budget.

              I've seen both scenarios: programs which are so underfunded they focus entirely on surviving instead of producing results, and programs so over-funded the challenge is to get all the cash dumped in their laps spent so as to avoid funding cuts next year.

              In other words: any program has an *optimal*

          • by Vancorps (746090) on Friday August 17, 2012 @06:47PM (#41031085)

            Name one government or corporate program that doesn't waste any money. There is a big difference between mismanagement and wasting small amounts of resources. You're right in that projects like the bridge to nowhere should be stopped. The problem from people I know involved in government projects is that companies will bid low to get a contract and then make up their money in change orders. This is the same whether it is an IT project, a construction job, or a defense contract.

            Defense contractors are so good at it that they build factories everywhere imposing enormous inefficiency transporting goods needlessly. If the government tries to reign in this project then thousands of jobs are lost across many districts impacting a large number of representatives. So there is no incentive to fix the inefficiency to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars but we can instead tackle waste in small places to the tune of tens of millions. Makes a lot of sense doesn't it?

            • by trout007 (975317) on Friday August 17, 2012 @07:34PM (#41031445)

              I've worked in private industry and for government and let me tell you the difference from what I've seen.

              In business if you put out a quote for a project you can shop around and use other companies reputation and try to come to a decision.If there is is something vague they will call you and try to figure it out. They will sometimes let little changes go. But sometimes they won't. Let's say you pick a company and they nickel and dime you on changes. You finish that project and decide never to use them again if you though you got screwed.

              In government it's the opposite. The lowest bidder get's the job as long as they have the capabilities to do it. If there are two ways to interpret something they intentionally pick the wrong way and deliver it so that they can get paid to make the changes. They are legally right. And next time there is a job they are right back in line and you can't bar them from bidding. A companies reputation for screwing over the government doesn't prevent them from winning the bid. What this does is cause the government to waste even more time and effort to make "perfect" requirements. But as any of us know when you are building something from scratch your requirements are going to evolve.

              • by s73v3r (963317)

                Perhaps if government wasn't required to only take into account bid price when putting out a contract, and was able to take other factors into account, like any business out there, there wouldn't be so much waste like this.

                • by CapOblivious2010 (1731402) on Friday August 17, 2012 @08:01PM (#41031615)
                  Factors like, say, how much the non-lowest-bidder was willing to contribute to the selection committee's re-election campaigns?

                  Of course, the selection committee will say the contributions had nothing to do with picking that vendor - they looked at the company's skills and track record, and decided that, all things considered, this really is the best overall value even if it's not the lowest bid.
                  • by s73v3r (963317)

                    Or like above, factors like if the company has historically been able to deliver the contract in the first place.

                    • by aaarrrgggh (9205)

                      It is never easy to select the "best" vendor for a job. If you are lucky, you can pick a vendor that will do the job within your allotted contingency. Tracking vendors on the basis of past change-orders is unfair without a very large balance of projects, as the cause for the change becomes an issue. (Absolute % over award amount is meaningless; you need relative comparisons for every other bidder.)

                • by trout007 (975317) on Friday August 17, 2012 @08:31PM (#41031863)

                  But you can't. Like I said these contractors did things by the book. They aren't doing anything illegal. It's just that in a business relationship sometimes you let things slide because both sides want the project to succeed so everyone can make a profit and can work together in the future. To government contractors it doesn't matter if a project is successful. As long as they follow the legality of the contract requirements they can make as much money as they can get away with. It's not like the government is going to run out of money.

                  Here is an example. We needed a test bed that you could mount a 150kh mass. Then accelerate it at 30m/s^2 for 4m and bring it to a stop in another 4m. It had to do this in the horizontal and in the vertical +z direction. Pretty simple request for proposal. A local company got the bid. They built it and we went to the acceptance test. It could do it horizontally but it didn't have the power to reach 30m/s^2 in the +z. We told them they needed to fix it. They said it met the requirement because you have to take into account that just sitting still it was resisting 9.8m/s^2 of acceleration from gravity. We said BS. We took it to the lawyers and they said since it was a small business contract they were going to side with the company. I then resigned the part that held the test mass to remove enough mass to get back the capabilities we needed. We did those mods on the tax pays dime.

              • by Vancorps (746090) on Friday August 17, 2012 @07:55PM (#41031589)

                I see the same stuff in business though. Anytime consultants are brought in I see it again and again. I saw it big time when dealing with IBM and even bigger when dealing with Oracle. This problem is not unique to government but it definitely happens a lot more and to large excess which is unfortunate, tragic, and completely unnecessary.

                Of course parent I was replying to was trying to say this problem was unique to government implying that government only wastes money and that's simply untrue. I look at hundreds of low-income housing projects just in Arizona and even though the projects come in over budget they do a great deal in helping people get back on their feet after prolonged periods of unemployment. I look at the alternatives and feel like I have to conclude that it was worth it. Hordes of homeless have a tendency to cause a whole host of other problems and I suspect when you add up all the other costs that you at least break even.

                There definitely needs to be more accountability in regards to government contracts. My impression is that there simply isn't enough personell available to oversee all the projects that are in motion. Of course this is just because I have friends that work in government so it's mostly hearsey as to the true causes of the bloated spending.

                I would love to see a GA database that includes a company's history. If they are always over budget then that should definitely be considered when accepting a low bid from them.

              • Funny (Score:5, Insightful)

                by rsilvergun (571051) on Friday August 17, 2012 @08:32PM (#41031879)
                The lowest bidder that could claim to do the job always got the work anywhere I worked, except when there was nepotism involved (*cough*Paul Ryan*Cough).

                Oh, come off it! Businesses and Gov't both screw up and get screwed. It's part of buying goods and services. The gov't stands out from private enterprise only because whenever society needs something done and it's too expensive to get anyone to pay for it we have the gov't do it. So the numbers are bigger and the loses are too.

                Like cars? Like Roads? Guess what, a highway system was too expensive for private industry to bother with. Too much investment, there were better places to make short term gains. Same is true for drugs. You didn't think those companies actually PAID for their research, did you? Lately they can't even get the US gov't to pay for it (deficit cuts you see), and it's all done in Europe. They the drug Co's move it, do a little bit of testing, and release a product. Privatize the profits and socialize the loses. Capitalism at it's finest.
          • by Titan1080 (1328519) on Friday August 17, 2012 @07:16PM (#41031319)
            well, i can think of LOTS of 'projects' that could've saved the trillions of dollars, in absolute, 100% waste. The B1 bomber. The B2 bomber. The stealth bomber. The F22. The F35. The war in Iraq. The war in Afghanistan. Shall I go on?
          • by Weezul (52464) on Friday August 17, 2012 @09:04PM (#41032157)

            I'd planned on saying the only companies I've worked at that were more efficient than academic research labs were small start ups. I then realized the small start ups were less efficient than the labs I know too.

            Anything big wastes money by the boatload. Avoid bigness unless absolutely necessary. In science, we usually avoid bigness whenever possible, just ain't always possible. In the corporate world, they try achieving bigness though stock value destroying mergers simply to justify a higher salary for the CEO.

            If the U.S. doesn't do the science, someone else will. And someone else will reap the rewards. American PhD who wish to actually *do* science are already moving to places like China. America is done.

        • by flaming error (1041742) on Friday August 17, 2012 @06:43PM (#41031049) Journal

          Ziggitz is right. While we all love to grouse about government waste, government is not really all that unique. The stereotypical hyper-efficient corporation is a myth - most of us know of stunning wastes of money at our own employer. And our vaunted household finances, while smaller in magnitude, probably include some waste too.

          Every human endeavor has waste, and if scrutinized under a microscope, something that somebody could interpret as corruption is nearly everywhere too.

          We're not always angels, and we're not always robots. But let's not let that stop us from doing what good we can.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Not only that, the private sector has far, far higher salaries especially as you go up the food chain. You can argue about whether that is waste or not, but it adds cost.

            I've worked at a national lab and worked and consulted for a few Fortune 50 corporations, and while there is no apples to apples comparison, you get a hell of a bang for the buck at the labs. Frankly, I think some corps are lucky the labs are not competing in the market. Every time I visited one major diversified international corp based

          • by Deadstick (535032)

            The stereotypical hyper-efficient corporation is a myth - most of us know of stunning wastes of money at our own employer.

            Can you say "Six Sigma"?

        • by s73v3r (963317) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {r3v37s}> on Friday August 17, 2012 @07:36PM (#41031463)

          Every branch of government and every government funded project wastes money

          The same can largely be said of the private sector as well.

        • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @12:30AM (#41033423)

          Coincidentally, the CBO analysis of the Ryan plan shows a shutdown of the entire government within a decade except defense, medicare, and social security.

          http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3708 [cbpp.org]

          Does that seem sane, smart, wise?

          What is with this insistance on keeping a defense budget over the total of the next 20 nations combined? Could we perhaps get by on a defense budget over the total of the next 10 nations combined and leave a little money for the SEC, the agencies that prevent massive chemical spills, those who fund the national high way system, perhaps a small space program, etc?

    • by readin (838620) on Friday August 17, 2012 @06:12PM (#41030693)

      We NEED big science.

      And we need health care...

      and welfare...

      and food stamps...

      and national defense...

      and the space program is really important...

      and drug rehabilitation programs...

      and the FDA...

      and the EPA...

      and without the NEA our kids won't learn about art and learning about art has been shown a correlation with higher math and science scores...

      and we need to protect our borders...

      and did I mention healthcare??



      Nearly everything our government does is important to someone but it's clear from our high taxes and massive deficit that we just can't afford it all. Cutting waste will help but it won't enough. Some programs that are good and useful need to be shrunk or eliminated too. Doing so is of course unpopular. Whether or not this particular program was the best one to cut, I'm glad Ryan has the guts to make the hard decisions that need to be made and deal with the political fallout.

      • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Friday August 17, 2012 @06:18PM (#41030765) Homepage Journal

        Nearly everything our government does is important to someone but it's clear from our high taxes and massive deficit that we just can't afford it all.

        What're you, poor or middle class?

        All sardonic social commentary aside, tax rates, at least on the wealthiest of Americans (that's not you nor I, BTW), is the lowest it's been in over half a century. [politifact.com]

        Not to say the government of today isn't chock-full of waste and bloat, just pointing out facts.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by jmorris42 (1458) *

          Politifact is useless. You won't believe me so I won't even cite, Google it yourself.

          The important numbers are the percentage of the budget shouldered by the top income earners vs their share of total income. Go look it up and compare it to Europe. Anyone who even utters the phrase 'fair share' must first go see that number for themselves and THEN define exactly how much more they think they can extract before they say 'fuck it' and go somewhere else. I want a percentage. Define it.

          • by uniquename72 (1169497) on Friday August 17, 2012 @06:56PM (#41031191)

            You won't believe me so I won't even cite.

            This is perhaps the most cowardly comment ever made on Slashdot.

          • The important numbers are the percentage of the budget shouldered by the top income earners vs their share of total income.

            How about the percentage of the budget shouldered by the top wealth holders vs their share of said wealth?

          • You think that might have anything to do with the massive rise in income inequality the US has experienced in the past 50 years? Richer rich people and more poor people?

            Maybe your numbers are misleading and Politifact is (more-or-less, it does have real problems) right.

          • by riverat1 (1048260)

            The reason the "top income earners" are shouldering a higher share of the budget is because the gap between them and the middle class has widened over the last 30+ years. If the income was spread more evenly as it was when the top marginal rate was over 50% then the middle class would pay more taxes and more than make up for the drop in income of the top earners. There's no point in taxing low income people if you have to turn around and give them food stamps and subsidize their housing.

        • by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday August 17, 2012 @06:37PM (#41030981)

          You may think taxes are low, but the U.S. corporate tax rate is the highest in the world. [usnews.com]

          You might be able to raise taxes even more on just the working class, but you'd not come within spitting distance of even eliminating the DEFICIT, much less actual debt.

          The only serious way out involves LOTS of cuts, everywhere. If you pretend otherwise you are simply ignorant or on a mission to doom us all. Sure some taxes will be raised also, but it's foolish to pretend taxing will get you all the pretty baubles of government rule you have grown accustomed to.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Ziggitz (2637281)
            In practice US corporations pay very little more in taxes than European corporations do. Your first line is a non starter.
          • by Vancorps (746090) on Friday August 17, 2012 @07:08PM (#41031277)

            So what you're saying is that the tax rates in the 90's, one of the more prosperous times in this country's history was what? Last I checked our economy has grown since then. During that time not only could we afford most of these programs but we had projected surpluses had we stayed on target. It doesn't take a genius to realize that when times are really tough and you're too far in the whole simply cutting back isn't enough, you'll need a second job until you recover.

            Let's also probably not mention that companies can write off expansion expenses negating the tax burden. At 39.2% according to your own link, that would be pretty high, care to see how much taxes corporations actually pay? Tax rates [huffingtonpost.com] are manipulated so much in the political landscape that its no wonder it makes most people's heads spin.

            Consider Japan, they lowered their corporate tax rate but use value added taxes to make up the difference. There are incredibly few businesses that actually pay 39.2% in taxes.

            Cuts are indeed necessary, but they need not be nearly as severe as the Republican party would have you believe. When asking for sacrifice you should probably make sure that everybody is sacrificing instead of young women who no longer have access to planned parenthood to get birth control pills because they have had so much of their funding taken away that they are only open a few hours a week if at all in certain states. These types of cuts only cause additional problems and more importantly expenses as you then have more women getting pregnant and needing assistance in other ways since they don't have health insurance that covers birth control.

            Look at California for trying this method. They have vote mandated spending and their constitution requires that taxes can only be increased through a voter iniative. So people vote for a program and then when it comes time to pay for it they opt out and then you run out of money. The programs would not have been proposed to begin with if there wasn't some problem that needed to be solved. So the answer is to raise taxes and pay for the programs that fix the problems that ravaged this country at the start of the 20th century. All the assistance programs out there were created for reasons, all the regulatory bodies were created for certain reasons. If they aren't working then the answer most often isn't to throw them out entirely, it's to fix the process so that it actually accomplishes the stated goals. Cutting food assistance programs isn't going save the country any money, people need to eat, what is someone that is starving going to do when they can't afford any food? We are seeing already with crime increasing in almost every part of the country.

            There is a difference between being a bleeding heart liberal that wants rainbows to shoot out of everyone's butts and a compassionate person that understands that we are all part of a community and that you can help the people in your community and all prosper or leave people to their own devices and end up needing a police state to keep those like myself with means safe.

          • by s73v3r (963317)

            You may think taxes are low, but the U.S. corporate tax rate is the highest in the world. [usnews.com]

            Corporate tax rate largely isn't paid, so it doesn't matter.

            The only serious way out involves LOTS of cuts, everywhere

            Start at the top then. Cut the military.

            If you pretend otherwise you are simply ignorant or on a mission to doom us all.

            Same for anyone who opposes raising taxes on the rich.

          • The only serious way out involves LOTS of cuts, everywhere.

            When the republicans say LOTS of cuts, they really mean starve programs that aren't directly beneficial to them or their contributors. This is what has most people including me upset. We all agree cuts have to be made, and most of us agree that every facet of government spending must have a cut. Yet the republicans are not willing to compromise and make social spending out to be the deficit boogeyman as if tax incentives, government subsidies, waste

        • by roman_mir (125474)

          The only truth about the 'lowest taxes' would be if you only talked about this scam called 'carried interest'. Now that is a true scam.

          As to the rest of that statement, today the US corporate tax rates are highest in the world (used to be Japan, not anymore). Personal tax rates are high as well, but that's not the problem, the problem is that nothing can be written off against the taxes. After the WWII in USA the top marginal tax rates used to be stupidly high, 94% or something like that. The actual tax

      • by Ziggitz (2637281) on Friday August 17, 2012 @06:55PM (#41031183)
        If you think Ryan is some sort of deficit hawk looking out for the nation's debt and deficit, you haven't seen his voting record over the last ten years.
      • by s73v3r (963317)

        but it's clear from our high taxes

        By "high taxes", you mean among the lowest in the civilized world, and lowest in history of this country, right? Because you clearly don't know what high taxes actually are.

        I'm glad Ryan has the guts to make the hard decisions that need to be made and deal with the political fallout.

        Except that by "hard decisions", you mean that he's willing to cut programs that he doesn't like, or is ideologically opposed to. I haven't heard him willing to cut the military down to the levels that are needed.

      • by ukemike (956477) on Friday August 17, 2012 @08:07PM (#41031667) Homepage

        We NEED big science.

        And we need health care... and welfare... and food stamps... and national defense... and the space program is really important... and drug rehabilitation programs... and the FDA... and the EPA... and without the NEA our kids won't learn about art and learning about art has been shown a correlation with higher math and science scores... and we need to protect our borders... and did I mention healthcare?? Nearly everything our government does is important to someone but it's clear from our high taxes and massive deficit that we just can't afford it all. Cutting waste will help but it won't enough. Some programs that are good and useful need to be shrunk or eliminated too. Doing so is of course unpopular. Whether or not this particular program was the best one to cut, I'm glad Ryan has the guts to make the hard decisions that need to be made and deal with the political fallout.

        Yep we do need all that, and I can think of three things that we don't need. We don't need to spend more than the rest of the planet combined on our military, we don't need a massively expensive police/surveillance state, and we don't need to have almost trivially small tax rates for the richest people. Imagine that! We could get rid of a handful of things we don't need and be able to pay for the things we do need!

        • by eriks (31863)

          I wish I had a mod point for you, though I hope you won't need my mod point.

          The fourth thing we don't need (which holds the other three together) is the "revolving door" between giant industrial corporations and government. It's too bad we don't have a separation of corporations and state, in the "... make no law establishing preference for a specific corporate entity or sector" sense.

          I don't mean to say corporations (large special-purpose pools of private capital) shouldn't exist. On the contrary, they h

      • Our taxes are not high. In fact they are lower right now than they have been any time since 1950.

        This is one of the reasons for our high deficit.

        Lest we forget 12 years ago the government was actually spending less than it took in. In fact investors were getting worried because the US was not issuing Treasury notes.

    • by cpu6502 (1960974)

      History shows that the inventors of new technology rarely gain an edge over other countries. If they do it's only temporary. It is better to let the other country (or company) waste millions on R&D and then you just copy what they did.

      We did that with the industrial revolution (invented by the UK, copied by everyone else), the rocket-propelled missile (invented by Germany; copied by us), the jet plane (invented by Germany; copied by us), the steam train (invented by the UK; copied by us), et cetera.

      We

    • Fusion could be the most powerful means to reduce carbon emissions, if we weren't a bunch of stupid shortsighted idiots as a species we'd be putting a huge amount of money into fusion power research instead of wars and bailouts for our stupid broken economic systems.

  • Unless the Senate is split 50/50 no effect.

    • by Fwipp (1473271)

      Or until the president is unable to perform their duties.

      • by Daetrin (576516)
        And the VP is in a much better position to run for President 4-8 years later. Obviously it's not a shoe-in, but it does help. And the causes of the VP on the side that wins usually gain some support. The presidential nominee may pick the VP candidate solely for how many votes they think it will bring in, but after the election it's hard to turn around and say "but i don't actually support any of the things they believe in." And the Republicans in particular are big on pushing the "mandate" thing, at least w
      • by cpu6502 (1960974)

        Thanks to modern medicine the odds of a president dying in office have gone way down. In our first hundred years several presidents died during their first two terms, so the VP mattered.

        But in the 1900s only one died during his first two terms (shot), and that threat is also now near-zero because of bullet proof cars and vigilant secret service. We really shouldn't worry about a VP taking-over.

        BTW why would a liberal like Dennis Kucinich defund the science research for fusion reactors? I don't understand

        • by trout007 (975317)

          RTA. That facility was to be used to help maintain our nuclear weapons. That is why Kucinich was against it.

        • by LurkerXXX (667952)

          Reagan had a bullet proof car and Secret Service protection. He was still almost killed.

      • Or until the president is unable to perform their duties.

        Maybe that's the point.

        I suspect Mitt's reason for choosing Ryan is similar to Obama's rationale for selecting Biden, and Bush picking Cheney* - nobody's going assassinate Andy, knowing Barney is next in line to be Sheriff.



        * OK, maybe Bush didn't have a lot of choice in that selection, you don't typically say 'no' to a Sith Lord. [wikipedia.org]

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by JoshuaZ (1134087)
      When one has a Presidential candidate who waffles, flip-flops and simply doesn't state his policy goals like Romney does, there's a real concern that the VP is going to have a lot of influence on Presidential policies. This is all the more concern when the VP is specifically chosen because of his background as a policy wonk.
      • Palin for 2012!

      • by trout007 (975317) on Friday August 17, 2012 @06:06PM (#41030631)

        When was the last time we had one that didn't flip flop? The straight shooters usually don't make it past the primaries.

      • by unimacs (597299)
        The power to sway voters. I honestly think the choice for VP has more to do with how voters will react than how that person would perform as president.
      • by couchslug (175151)

        "This is all the more concern when the VP is specifically chosen because of his background as a policy wonk."

        Moreso when the strategy of the GOP is for future leadership to come from the House of Representatives. The POTUS need only sign off on their decisions. This is expected, and since Romney knows nothing about anything other than business he will be forced to rely on others.

        Note that Romney opposes any Defense budget cuts. That's a key sign of ignorance since it reveals he can't sort wheat from chaff.

    • Dick Cheney

    • by istartedi (132515)

      The VP has the President's ear. It's my understanding that GWB was actually not very keen on invading Iraq. Guess who was standing on his shoulder, er, ummm... standing next to him and talking into his ear.

    • r.e "the VP has what power?"
      It matters [lmgtfy.com].
      Really.
      To put it terms you might relate to, try thinking of it as a Disaster Recovery planning exercise.
  • this isnt that crazy.

    As a nerd I this seems like the best way to spend a trillion dollars but its hardly the craziest thing this guy has said.

  • VP Waste product (Score:5, Interesting)

    by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Friday August 17, 2012 @06:16PM (#41030741)
    The VP is generally considered a waste product. You don't pick your VP to match your views you pick your VP to fill in the blanks in your own personality. Romney is generally a centrist so he needs a fairly right wing VP. Romney being a Mormon needs a more "Christian" VP although I am surprised he didn't pick a protestant. Also you pick a VP from a swing state. Wisconsin could go either way and has an OK number of electoral collage votes. But at the same time you can't make it look like you have picked a token VP that is unbelievable. Obama has the black vote locked up so a black VP would be a waste and might actually lose Romney some white vote. The same with women voters. A token woman would doubtfully unlock many votes and again might have lost votes that he otherwise owns. The key for both candidates is to get out the existing vote and that is who you are picking the VP for. When I say lose votes I mean that they stay home not that they vote for the other guy.

    Where I worry is that Romney's wealth is built upon going into companies that aren't performing well and unlocking hidden wealth. Often this came by doing short term things like cutting R&D. The wealth would be "unlocked" and they would sell the company and make a pile of money. They did other interesting short term things like loading these companies up with debt. This all was great for them when they could cut and run but a country is the opposite. When you look at a policy now you need to think about the implications a century from now.

    If defense were to be cut in half and schools spending doubled the implications on defense would be immediate. But the benefits from the school increases might be 20 years down the road. But it would be glorious 20 years from now.

    I am a Canadian but it looks like the US suffers from the common malady of all democracies. Somehow we end up with choices that are all crap. In my life I have had the option of voting for one politician who turned out to be good. Somehow we need to be able to weed out these guys earlier in the process. Or maybe eliminate the party system?

    How can we have any hope that these guys(most world politicians) will spend wisely on science when they won't even listen to the majority of the population who want the war on drugs to end. Not a peep on an issue that is destroying the culture and economy of the US. This goes way past the issue of who some guy picked to be his spare.
  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Friday August 17, 2012 @06:29PM (#41030891) Homepage

    I'm from Kucinich's district, and I'm hardly surprised he worked with Paul Ryan. For instance, he worked a lot with Ron Paul trying to cut back military spending and Iraq War funding, because the two of them arrived to the same conclusion for completely different reasons.

    For the most part, it's been a record of futility, though: His own party's leadership hates him because he doesn't toe the party line on issues like health care (he once kicked Nancy Pelosi out of his office when she tried to force his hand). And of course John Boehner and friends hate him for being a Democrat. So none of his bills or resolutions make it anywhere unless he has support from other backbenchers, hence the strange bedfellows.

  • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Friday August 17, 2012 @07:04PM (#41031241)

    What's with the irrelevant anecdotes in the first paragraphs of articles these days? The article is about Ryan, not Kucinich. Mention of Kucinich seems to be entirely gratuitous.

  • Kucinich was the rep for Ohio's 10th district since '97 but the Teapublicans gerrymandered his district out of existence and forcing him to either retire or face off against Marcy Kaptur in her own, now larger, district.

    Kaptur is a Democratic powerhouse, was offered the chance to be VP to Ross Perot, and has always gotten between 55%-75% in her 16 terms, finishing below 60% only 4 times.

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