Can Paul Ryan be good at math AND a good Catholic?

Does anyone think the nation would be talking about Tim Pawlenty or Rob Portman today? But the nation is still buzzing about vice presidential pick Paul Ryan.

He is, clearly, the game changer that Mitt Romney needed – and this nation needs. He verifies a Wisconsin trait: principled courage beats cowardly vacuity just as Scott Walker beats Tom Barrett and rock beats scissors.

Now the Left, increasingly desperate, is trying to paint Paul Ryan as a bad Catholic because his economic beliefs were inspired by Ayn Rand, as were millions of others’, and the lady was an atheist. The Bad Catholic Theory is advanced by those who are notably irreligious and have hounded the Church of Rome from the public square when it suits their purpose. (The pro-abortion, priest-bashing Maureen Dowd of The New York Times is a particularly scurrilous example of this species.)

Comrade Nichols, for instance, points out that the fiercely Catholic William F. Buckley excoriated Ayn Rand in their day. But so did the notoriously libertine and atheist Gore Vidal.

For what it’s worth, I am not a capital O Objectivist, but Rand mid-wifed the vibrant libertarian movement and, says Wikipedia, “her influence among conservatives forced Buckley and other National Review contributors to reconsider how traditional notions of virtue and Christianity could be integrated with support for capitalism.”

For the record, Ryan’s bishop and mine, Robert Morlino, does not endorse political candidates and admonishes Catholic religious who would appear to so. But Bishop Morlino does make clear, in the Aug. 16 diocesan Catholic Herald, that “I am proud of [Ryan’s] accomplishments as a native son and a brother in the faith.”

“It is not up to me or any bishop or priest to approve of Congressman Ryan’s specific budget prescription to address the best means … Where intrinsic evils are not involved, specific policy choices and political strategies are the province of Catholic lay mission. But … vice presidential candidate Ryan is aware of Catholic social teaching and is very careful to fashion and form his conclusions in accord with the principles mentioned above. Of that, I have no doubt.”

Or has the Catholic magisterium incorporated The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money? Was the Communist experiment in collectivism – each according to his need – more conducive to Catholicism? If I understand my own religion, it teaches that each of us chooses our eternal destiny by our actions in this life. Charity cannot be coerced at the point of a rifle.

Another thought: a healthy economy is the surest balm for the afflicted. It’s why people flee TO the United States, not from it. Being broke like Greece will only beggar the middle class to say nothing of the already impoverished. It’s called “living within one’s means.” The U.S. hasn’t been doing that. We’re in the midst of the worst economy since the Great Depression. Does chronically high unemployment have a greater claim on the moral high ground than restoring jobs and home ownership?

Finally, let’s remember what can come from statism, however well intentioned. President Obama and the Democratic Party enacted legislation forcing Catholic hospitals and schools to fund abortion. Those who love to impose their own morality – Maureen Dowd, Laurence O’Donnell, John Nichols, and their ilk – have so much easier time of it when they can enlist the coercive powers of the government. Forty-three Catholic dioceses and organizations, including the Archdiocese of New York and Notre Dame University and Catholic Charities, have brought suit to restore their First Amendment freedom of religion.

Do the math

Those of simple minds and hard hearts are telling us that Paul Ryan would push Grandma over the cliff so that he can enrich his polo playing friends.

The NY Times did not see fit to write about Paul Ryan’s foray into Florida’s white belt and shoes retirement land but it did something better. Above the fold on page one is a photograph of Paul Ryan and his 80-year-old mother assuring seniors that grandma is safe.

Instead, Romney-Ryan are gaining traction by showing how Obamacare raids $716 billion from Medicare. Here are the particulars. Folks, it’s a matter of demographics and mathematics. 

America is now coming to understand that Paul Ryan came to save Medicare, not destroy it. The great Peggy Noonan suggests that the Republican ticket run an ad showing Granny’s wheelchair careening toward the precipice before Paul Ryan, the caped crusader, springs to her rescue.

Granny won’t fall off a cliff with or without Ryan’s blueprint, but our kids are headed there when they reach retirement if we don’t do something now.

Another brick in the wall

Even liberal Hollywood understands that teachers unions are the problem, not the solution. First there was the documentary Waiting for Superman, now comes Won’t Back Down.

“Inspired by actual events,” this one is a heart-tugging fictional portrayal of parents and a rogue teacher determined to take back their schools from the recondite clutches of the teachers union. It stars an A-list Hollywood actresses, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis (who appeared in The Help), and Holly Hunter.

The state of California, for instance, allows parents to petition to take over their failing public school and turn it into a charter school.

An op-ed piece in Sunday’s New York Times gingerly reaches the unavoidable conclusion that:

“Over the years, the teachers’ unions have indeed guarded tenure protections and last-in-first-out layoff practices to a zealous degree that could at times seem indifferent to the welfare of school children.”

“… could at times!” Hilarious!

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