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Paul Ryan’s “Intellectual Seriousness”

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 9:02 pm - April 5, 2011.
Filed under: Congress (112th),Noble Republicans

Count one of my favorite blogresses as a fan of the fetching Paul Ryan:

What makes him a formidable figure and opponent to the president is his intellectual seriousness. (I will be the first to call for a budget summit, televised like the health-care summit, one with another round of Ryan vs. Obama.) At the American Enterprise Institute (where Ryan last appeared in a debate against David Brooks, who was thrilled by Ryan’s plan), Ryan offered an overview of his vision and his budget plan. He made both the philosophical case (“If the debt poses an existential threat to all we hold dear — if we truly believe that our current path leads to a debt-fueled economic crisis and to the demise of America’s exceptional promise — then let’s dispense with the trivialities”), and he went through the four core elements

Not only has the Wisconsin Republican shown the ability to make the tough choices necessary to put forward a fiscally responsible budget, bu he knows how to “roll-out” the plan, in Jennifer Rubin’s words, “with meticulous care.”

Read the whole thing, particularly to see how Rubin, the blogress in question, details Ryan’s PR skills.

Ignorance of or Indifference to Intolerance on the Left?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 5:18 pm - April 5, 2011.
Filed under: Blogging,Gay Culture,Random Thoughts

In a post last October, I wrote about one of the advantages we gay conservatives have in confronting the prejudices of some of our left-of-center peers:

. . . over time, the intolerance on the left makes us stronger.  And helps us judge the character of our interlocutors.  For while we often deal with liberal bigotry, we also frequently find open-minded “progressives” who in their interactions with us demonstrate an ability to rise above the prejudices of their peers.

If someone dismisses our political views as a mere product of what they contend are our own insecurities and animosities, then they are not likely to see us an individuals.  Yet, if they respect us as individuals even while disagreeing with our politics, we know they are friends we can count on, those who do not let superficial differences get in the way of real friendship.

Now, I’ve made this argument before and do so again, largely because it seems every time I point out the prejudices certain gay liberals hold against conservative and their dubbing political difference as a manifestation of self-hatred or as some form of whining.  Yet, it is hardly whining to identify and criticize the narrow attitudes of certain individuals.*

Yet, when we write about the hostility we face from some of our peers, our critics pull out their template of our victimhood even if it means ignoring the point of our post.  For example, last month when I blogged about how Mito Aviles, a left-of-center gay man running for West Hollywood City Council treated me with dignity and respect even as he seemed incredulous at the notion of a gay conservative, a critic, within fifteen minutes of my posting the piece, chided me for “crying“.   Another accused me of “playing into the whole ‘Victim Mentality’“.

In fact, I was making precisely the opposite point — that more often than not when we come out as conservative to our gay liberal friends, we frequently encounter some incredulity, but also understanding.  And I had wanted to make clear that while many gay liberals are among the most intolerant people in America today, most are not, indeed some are among the most broad-minded. (more…)

GOProud praises Ryan’s “Do-Something”* Plan

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:09 pm - April 5, 2011.
Filed under: GOProud,Real Reform

In praising the comprehensive budget plan that House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan introduced today, Jimmy LaSalvia, Executive Director of GOProud reminds us of a criticism Democrats have been leveling against Republicans for the past two years:

The left constantly berated Republicans in the last Congress for supposedly failing to offer alternatives, labeling the GOP as the ‘party of no’. Today, the liberal smear machine is in full force, attacking Rep. Ryan and House Republicans for having the political courage to put forward a comprehensive budget plan. Democrats in Congress are offering no such plan, and the President offers no such plan either; it seems just a few months after attacking Republicans for supposedly failing to offer solutions that it is indeed the Democratic Party that is totally devoid of any plan to solve our budget crisis.

It’s almost as if Democrats (and their allies) were accusing Republicans of lacking a plan in order to “bait” them to present one so they could attack as “extreme.”

Nice to see a gay group reminding us a smaller government which spends less is good for gay people.

UPDATE:  Log Cagin has now followed suit, with R. Clarke Cooper, the organization’s Executive Director, calling the Ryan plan “a serious budget in response to the serious challenges facing our nation today“.

*About the deficit.

Paul Ryan & National Seriousness

Good insight from Jim Geraghty:

I’m watching Ryan roll out his plan here. The public reaction to this will tell us a lot about how serious we are as a country. If the response is general support, or “I think we need something like this, but would want to change this part here or that part there,” we’ll be okay. If there’s a general recoiling and rejection, and a preference to cling (bitterly?) to the notion that small-ball cuts in discretionary spending will be sufficient to control the debt, then we’re doomed.

UPDATE: Peter Wehner has similar thoughts:

Now comes a civic test of sorts. What will be the American public’s reaction to the plan that Ryan presents? Will they rally behind it, or rebel against it?

It’s hard to know. Perhaps we find ourselves in a new political moment, in which reforms and cuts that were once unthinkable can now be advocated without danger of self-immolation. On the other hand, it may be that what Ryan will propose goes beyond what the public is willing to accept. What is reasonable to conclude, I think, is that if the public continues to resist reforms to entitlements—either because of ignorance, demagoguery, or selfishness—we will experience, sooner than we think, the kind of “domestic convulsion” the founders warned about (and which Europeans are now experiencing). Demography and mathematics make that inevitable.

Wehner via Instapundit.

Paul Ryan’s Path to Prosperity Begins in the Private Sector

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:36 am - April 5, 2011.
Filed under: Congress (112th),Noble Republicans

Just over two years ago, in control of the White House and both houses of Congress, Democrats promised us that the key to economic revitalization would be found in a near-trillion dollar stimulus.  Ever more government spending would be sure to jump start the economy.  Well, here we are nearly twenty-six months after the president signed his recovery act and only now is the economy beginning to recover, but not because that “stimulus” is just beginning to kick, but instead as Veronique de Rugy reminds us, because it’s “winding down“:

The unemployment rate for March dropped to 8.8 percent, which we should remember is the rate that the Administration said the economy would reach if the stimulus had not been passed. It took two years to reach this rate, and as it turns out, it is on the way down, not up.

(Via Instapundit.)  Increased government spending, to paraphrase an expression, was not the answer, it was part of the problem.  One man who gets this is Paul Ryan, the fetching Wisconsin Congressman who chairs the House Budget Committee.  In anticipation of the release of the GOP budget which he authored, he took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to explain why his plan is necessary:

No one person or party is responsible for the looming crisis. Yet the facts are clear: Since President Obama took office, our problems have gotten worse. Major spending increases have failed to deliver promised jobs. . . .

The president’s recent budget proposal would accelerate America’s descent into a debt crisis. It doubles debt held by the public by the end of his first term and triples it by 2021. It imposes $1.5 trillion in new taxes, with spending that never falls below 23% of the economy. His budget permanently enlarges the size of government. It offers no reforms to save government health and retirement programs, and no leadership.

Calling his op-ed, “The Path to Prosperity,” Ryan outlines the spending cuts and reforms necessary to get our government’s fiscal house in order while “reforming the nation’s outdated tax code” to help encourage economic activity.  The less government interferes, the more private enterprises will be revitalized.

The Republican budget even “budget targets corporate welfare, starting by ending the conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that is costing taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars.”  Seems under Ryan, Republicans are making a comprehensive approach to federal spending and not dodging the tough issues or the sacred cows which increase the flow of red ink.  Everything, Moe Lane writes,  is “apparently on the table.(more…)

Why can’t Hollywood learn from the box office?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:36 am - April 5, 2011.
Filed under: Movies/Film & TV

Back when I was trying to break into the entertainment industry as a screenwriter, I used to follow the box office returns most assiduously.  I wanted to know what kind of movies people were watching, what themes and relationships resonated with audiences.  And I would then consider my own story ideas and find which stories were, thematically, most like those which sold the most tickets.  I would focus my attention on marketing those.

Now, all my stories lacked explosions and car chases, but each did affirm the value of certain archetypal relationships, like a man’s bond to his father, a child’s connection to his or her family and the tension between that familial affection and his or her romantic inclinations (see, e.g., Romeo and Juliet).  Back in 2002, when My Big Fat Greek Wedding, which cost only $5 million to produce, snuck up and surprised everyone, capturing nearly one-quarter billion dollars at the domestic box office alone, I had great hope for some of my scripts, a few of which had similar themes.

Attending a panel of industry executives at a Film Festival the summer that sweet sleeper was eating up the box office, I asked if its success would change the way things were done in Hollywood.  To a man (there were only men on the panel), the executives said it would not.

In what other industry, I wondered, would an unexpected success not cause companies to reconsider the way they did business?

Over at Big Hollywood, my friend John Nolte explores a similar theme:

  1. Anti-American, anti-troop films flop one right after another both here and overseas. See:HereHereHereHereHereHere. HereHereHereHere.
  2. The rare pro-American, pro-troop film makes money overseas. See: HereHereHereHere.Here.
  3. Hollywood makes anti-American films one right after another.
  4. Hollywood says they don’t make pro-American films because they don’t make money overseas.

Read the whole thing.  Why does Hollywood not learn from the box office?

Perhaps, when I moved to LA, instead of studying the box office, I should have changed my politics.

Has Barney Differentiated Himself Yet From This Death Threat?

If the unhappy Barney Frank were a Republican, the media would have a field day with some of his silly statements.  I mean, all they need do is hold Barney to the standards he sets for his partisan adversaries.  Remember just over a year ago in the health care debate when he insisted “his GOP colleagues need to do more to ‘differentiate themselves’ from the hateful speech spewed in the healthcare debate’s final hours.

Well, last night, Glenn Reynolds reported on some rather angry things said to one of the Massachusetts’s Democrat’s Republican colleagues:

REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN PETER KING gets death threat and bloody pig’s foot. “A frozen pig’s foot and a note laced with anti-Semitic rants were sent to Rep. Peter King’s Capitol Hill office, a congressional source familiar with the situation confirmed to CNN Monday.”

Sounds like hateful speech to me.  Now, under normal circumstances, we wouldn’t hold Democrats responsible for the angry rhetoric of their ideological confreres. But, well, since Barney asked his Republican colleagues to “differentiate themselves” from the angry rhetoric of their ideological confreres, shouldn’t we be asking him to do the same?

I’m not holding my breath.