Well, Mitt Romney made the big announcement Saturday.

The blogosphere, Twitter and Facebook all lit up with the news that Paul Ryan will run on the Romney ticket as the vice presidential candidate.

The reaction was sadly predictable.

Zealots representing the two parties divided up and began throwing rocks across the shallow ditch the media and pundits try to pass off as a great political divide.

Take this Washington Post headline for example.

Paul Ryan is Romney’s VP pick, setting up stark choice on budget issues

Democrats wigged out, began running in circles and cried hysterically, “The sky is falling!” After all, we all know Ryan wants to end Medicare, gut social security and institute a system of human sacrifice across the Fruited Plain. As Democrats tell it, Ryan wears the black robe of the Grim Reaper, wielding a razor-sharp scythe, mindlessly slashing government spending beyond its very core. It doesn’t take a master’s degree in political science to know that the left will spend the next three months trying to panic Americans into thinking a Romney-Ryan presidency will completely gut the federal government.

“The horror! The horror!”

Conservatives spent Saturday jumping up and down gleefully proclaiming sunshine and roses, “See! Mitt is serious about cutting government and slashing spending!” Now the Republicans can differentiate themselves from those big-government, high-spending Democrats and their evil socialist-communist-Marxist leader Obama. Republicans will spend the next three months saying the same thing as the Democrats– only they will use glowing terms. They will swear that a Romney-Ryan presidency will end the era of big government. They will slash all unnecessary spending! They will shrink the federal behemoth! And they will return the nation to its “constitutional roots.”

Then there’s reality.

On core issues, Paul Ryan is pretty much the same as Mitt Romney, who isn’t a whole lot different than Barack Obama. It’s all just a matter of degree, and very few degrees actually separate these men and their policies. They all believe in wielding the power of big-government. They all want to continue spending trillions of dollars that don’t exist. And saddest of all – they all ignore the Constitution on a regular basis.

It all reminds me of a comment that Tom Woods made in a speech, pointing out that folks on each side of the political aisle run around pointing at their opponent screaming that he is the worst person in the world, and then slap a bumper sticker on their car for a guy that’s maybe five percent different.

Mitt picked Paul to snow “conservatives” into thinking he really cares about reining in government. Based on his own record, he obviously needs to create that impression to get the Tea-Party folks on board the Romney train. But once you clear the smoke and crack the mirrors, you find in Ryan just another big-government, big-spending, constitutionally illiterate politician playing to the crowd.

  • He voted for TARP.
  • He voted for auto bailouts.
  •  He voted for Bush’s Medicare expansion.
  • He voted for No Child Left Behind.
  • He voted for the 2008 stimulus package.
  • He voted for “Real ID.”
  • He voted for making the Patriot Act permanent
  • He voted against repealing NDAA indefinite detention.
  • He voted for CISPA.

His supporters (or maybe they’re just Obama opponents) tell us to ignore those votes because Ryan “knew” he was voting the wrong way. But that raises a big question:  if he’s already made some deliberately bad decisions for political reasons, what’s to stop him from making more deliberately bad decisions for political reasons in the future?

But at least Paul Ryan is a man of principles, right?

Yeah, OK. He put those rock-solid principles on full display during the TARP debate.

“This bill offends my principles. But I’m going to vote for this bill in order to preserve my principles, in order to preserve this free enterprise system.”

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Albert Einstein generally gets the credit for defining insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.” By that definition, the time to straightjacket the U.S. political process long ago passed. Regardless of whether Americans pick Mitt or Barack in 2012, I guarantee one year after the inauguration the federal government will be bigger, more intrusive and deeper in debt.

The time has come to quit looking to Washington D.C. to solve America’s problems.

Washington D.C. is the problem!

Mike Maharrey

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