Why Paul Ryan is bad news for women (and everyone else)

As you all know, Mitt Romney chose Paul Ryan as his Vice Presidential pick on Saturday morning. And as most of you probably know, he’s kind of a terrible person. His infamous budget plan would decimate safety net programs for the poorest Americans, he pretty much believes that climate change is a conspiracy theory, and is a huge fan boy of big oil. The man’s priorities are just about as toxic as his hair gel.

But when Andrea Mitchell noted this weekend that the VP pick is a bad one for women, her comments set off conservatives, calling the remarks “demeaning” against conservative women. (While calling her a sour, bitter, oldpsychopath” hag. Gawd, she’s sooo sexist!) But Mitchell is right; women’s votes are really critical for both candidates, and could be a game changer in this election. Obama is up significantly against Romney in the polls (56-37)  for American women voters, so Romney needs someone who is going to care a shmidge about the issues they care about (or at least pretend to really well). But unfortunately for him, Paul Ryan is a potential Veep who has no interest except to disenfranchise most women — and basically everyone else except the super wealthy — in pretty astounding ways. Let’s see how his record fares for women and other communities we care about:

He voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.  This isn’t a controversial issue, y’all. It simply protects women from being denied equal pay for equal work. I think we can all agree this is a no-brainer. (Except Paul Ryan.)

He is the anti-choice poster boy. Ryan would overturn Roe v. Wade, banning abortion in cases of rape and incest and when the mother’s life is at risk. He also was a co-sponsor of the Sanctity for Human Life Act, a personhood amendment which would ban abortion as well as certain kinds of fertility treatment and birth control. He’s voted at least four times to defund Planned Parenthood (and all of the preventative health care that comes with it for millions of people).

He’d like to steal from the poor and give to the rich. Women are the majority of the recipients of both Medicare and (a sizable 69% of ) Medicaid, and the majority of the Medicaid population are people of color. Not to mention the programs provide critical care to people with disabilities, older people and children. Ryan’s budget (which Romney has come out embracing) would have cut food stamps, child care, and a ton of other often lifesaving assistance for marginalized communities, while cutting taxes for billionaires like Romney to .83%, Literally.

He’s against the Affordable Care Act. Which speaks for itself. He’s also vehemently against the law’s birth control coverage, saying it “violates our founding principles” to not allow people to deny women basic health care needs. Nice.

He’s consistently against LGBT rights. Ryan has voted against gay couples adopting, against marriage equality, and voted no to repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. It seems fitting that Romney and Ryan call themselves the “Comeback Team.” Social progress? Pshh.

His record on immigration is terrible. He’s voted against the DREAM Act and for extreme legislation in 2005 that would have made immigration violations felonies in Wisconsin, resulting in many undocumented immigrants being subject to indefinite detention. This summer, Ryan joined  House Republicans in criticizing President Obama’s “deferred enforcement” plan, which would allow children of undocumented immigrants to avoid deportation.

So yes, Paul Ryan is a bad pick for women, and everyone else who cares about their future, and the economic future of this country. But then again, so is Romney.

Pic via.

Join the Conversation

  • http://feministing.com/members/zeenacheda/ Dan C

    Really good summary, Vanessa.

    I hope people pay attention to all this, but I’m very scared that they won’t. I chill went down my spine when Romney picked Ryan. The guy is incredibly likable. A lot of the time, elections come down to who voters think they can trust. Nobody trusts Mitt Romney. Ryan, on the other hand, looks, and talks, like a boy scout. I think some people will be willing to overlook his policies because of this.

    Paulette Garin, the woman who lost against him in 2008:
    “How many times when I was out on the campaign did I hear, … ‘Oh, he’s so good looking! Why would you want to run against him? He’s such a nice man!’”

    • http://feministing.com/members/smiles/ Smiley

      What do you want? What does Mitt Romney have to do to get a fair hearing here?

      Had he picked a liberal, woman-friendly running mate (or sister), this site would have cried “it is to catch the women’s vote – this is dangerous and misleading – don’t fall for it”

      Why don’t you just say clearly: Mitt, we hate you, and nothing you do or say will make us revise our opinion.

      At least it is clear and will save everyone a lot of time.

      besides, don’t you really prefer and anti-woman, anti-choice candidate? It makes it easier to rally women voters to Obama, no? That being so, you should be applauding Mitt’s choice.

    • http://feministing.com/members/robbieloveslife/ Robert

      You’re right that he sounds friendly as hell. I can’t judge his looks the way women can but it appears the general consensus is that he is attractive. Unfortunately (or fortunately for some) looks matter in our society. I’m sure Romney considered this when he chose him because there are stupid women out there that are going to vote for Romney because of this guy without knowing anything. I don’t think it’d be terrible if Romney was president. Bill Clinton said Romney would make a good president and he knows something about running a country.

  • http://feministing.com/members/dorothymantooth/ Casey

    I agree, a great summary! However, Mitt Romney is not a “billionaire.” He is a very wealthy millionaire who I think is out of touch with the American people (and certainly American women). That said, in the interest of fairness, call him what he is.

  • http://feministing.com/members/bucky/ bucky

    This pretty much sums up the argument:

  • http://feministing.com/members/jbear9/ Jeanie

    I got that same chill, Dan C.

    I’m fascinated and horrified, all at once, at the circus politics has broken down to, scary clowns, and all.

  • http://feministing.com/members/brightlikeneonlights/ Jen

    I agree with you, Dan C, 100%. It does scare me to think that people are not paying attention to things like this. Here’s another article that one of my professors at UCONN wrote, actually, that I think is really great about how Romney and Ryan do not really respect women or women’s rights: http://chronicle.com/blogs/brainstorm/advice-to-a-student-who-didnt-like-his-first-year-of-college/51033.

  • http://feministing.com/members/rubymcgee/ Sue Nugent

    I do not know how anyone can imagine knowing how much Romney is worth… Are you talking about claimed income in the U.S. or the blind trusts he has spread out all over the world?
    This, I think, is a real issue; he by having offshore accounts (multiple he and his wife) he does not support the United States of America. Sure use all the loopholes and armies of C.P.A.s you want on your taxes but to leave out huge amounts of your earnings and on what is a pretty scary thing.
    He is like a black hole of money sucking from the country through mergers and acquisitions, out sourcing and much of it done as an anonymous player. Does his money get spent on arms for dictators who inturn give him something, does he make money off of investments in unsavory businesses (beyond the ones we know?)
    I don’t think anyone is qualified to say his net worth or even assume he is not a billionaire.

  • http://feministing.com/members/brittforbes93/ Brittany

    Yeesh. Against abortion even if it saves the mother’s life? Co-sponsor of a bill that bans fertility treatments and birth control? Against a bill that promises equal pay? When my mom overheard someone say “It’s like Romney paid right into our hands, picking someone so terrible” random person was DEAD right.

  • http://feministing.com/members/jbear9/ Jeanie

    Ryan may have read The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, but he seems to have gotten something entirely different than I. If he had understood it the way I did, he wouldn’t be in politics!