Monday, August 13, 2012

Vetting Joe, Vetting Paul

Much has been made of the vetting process for political office. Obama was largely given a free pass  based on the media's perceptions that his ethnicity and his party affiliation exonerated him from blame. The press is now feeling the fallout as newspapers and the most strident Obama supporting networks are struggling financially.

But what of the VP picks, the guys "a heartbeat away" from the presidency. While the Democrats are trying to characterize Paul Ryan as a demon, in reality he is a well educated family man, whose interest in economics goes back to college. He is married to his first wife, has three nice kids and has regular, middle class backgrounds to rely on. Bill Bennett said the following about Ryan:
"...Over time this young budget guru, who once told me he relaxes by kicking back with actuarial tables, began to master the U.S. budget in a way that few ever have. He was appointed to be a member of the president's Bowles-Simpson Commission, but, not yielding to political pressure, voted against its recommendations because it failed to adequately reform Medicare. So, together with Alice Rivlin (Bill Clinton's former OMB director), Ryan co-authored the Ryan-Rivlin plan to seriously reform Medicare (although she didn't support the version of it he included in his all-encompassing budget).

Their plan fell largely on deaf ears, but just because Washington wasn't listening, Ryan didn't stop leading. He joined forces with Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, to co-author a bipartisan plan to reform Medicare. Their plan leaves Medicare intact for existing recipients and those approaching eligibility and offers future enrollees a chance to enroll in the traditional Medicare government option or enroll in a premium support plan, where seniors can choose from a variety of competitive plans that work best for them..."

But what of Joe Biden? Joe, along with Obama, got largely a free pass. He likes to characterize himself as a blue collar guy, but he attended a prestigious prep school where his academic career was lackluster at best. He went to college where he graduated in the lower half of the class and his law school years, which he considered a bore, demonstrated him as a lower quality of student graduating near the bottom. To be fair, he's got a loud mouth. And he's got the same type of football player rah-rah appeal that attracts people who are either ideologues or are largely uninformed.  But while the hoopla over Ryan's accepting the VP nod from Romney seems to be a position for media scorn and scrutiny, I have to wonder if and when the media will dare to investigate the background of Biden-who seems far more dubious a pick to be a "heartbeat away."

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