Photo credit: Ushanka
Ohio Gov. John Kasich introduced Miami University graduate, Paul Ryan as a hometown hero in Oxford, Ohio, today, where Ryan told the crowd he welcomed the coming debate over who has the best plan to overhaul Medicare.
USA Today reported:
“We want this debate. We need this debate. And we will win this debate,” the Republican vice presidential hopeful told thousands of supporters outside the university’s engineering complex.
Other than a couple references to his alma mater, Ryan’s speech fell in line with what Republican Mitt Romney gave the day before in Chillicothe to a much more enthusiastic crowd, also outside and about the same size. While providing applause and cheers at key points, Ryan’s crowd was subdued compared with the reaction to Romney’s fire and brimstone speech.
Ryan, dressed in khaki slacks and an open collar, long-sleeve blue shirt, revealed he liked 5-way chili. And Oxford, of course, is not his hometown. That would be Janesville, Wis.
This was Ryan’s first campaign visit to Ohio since being named to the ticket. His second will be Thursday in Canton at Walsh University.
Paul Ryan is said to have honed his conservative economic views at Ohio’s Miami University where his interest in politics and economics thrived during his four years on the small-town campus.
The AP sent a reporter to Oxford OH to look into Ryan’s days there.
The liberal arts school of 14,000 students prided itself on its teachers and the kind of personal availability that Ryan found with Hart, who Ryan has said challenged him and set him on “a vision quest” to improve the nation’s economics.
Hart had Ryan, an economics/political science double major, in a junior-level macroeconomics class designed to be a “weeder” — loaded with analytics and math, it wasn’t meant to help grade-point averages.
Ryan had little trouble mastering the work, Hart said, and he stood out with an intellectual curiosity that brought him frequently to Hart’s office to talk things out. They dissected what they saw as flaws in Keynesian economics and government approaches, and traded thoughts on writings such F.A. Hayek’s 1944 warning against state control, “The Road to Serfdom,” and Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged,” about creative and productive individuals rebelling against increasing government control and taxation.
Hart doesn’t remember Ryan ever discussing plans to run for office, but he said he wasn’t surprised when Ryan asked for a recommendation for an internship in the office of Sen. Bob Kasten, R-Wis., which Ryan landed, or when Ryan went to work after college for New York Rep. Jack Kemp. Hart considered Kemp, with his optimism and font of conservative ideas, a natural political mentor for Ryan.
Ryan had joined the College Republicans and took on tasks such as putting up yard signs and knocking on doors for Boehner, who would win election in Republican-dominated Butler County in 1990 to the seat he still holds.
Miami’s political connections go back to President Benjamin Harrison, Class of 1852. Vice President George H.W. Bush campaigned on the campus in 1988, Ryan’s freshman year, and the campus was among the settings for George Clooney’s 2011 presidential politics thriller “The Ides of March.”
Ryan stayed in the Anderson Hall dormitory his freshman year, then moved to the Delta Tau Delta house. Several Greek houses were founded at Miami, and about a third of its undergraduates are in fraternities or sororities.
A younger fraternity brother recalls Ryan participating in fraternity parties, but not to excess.
“He was a pretty conservative guy, and with a very good sense of humor,” said Michael Loisel. “He liked to engage in conversation, and with a little more depth than the ‘Where did you go last night?’ and ‘How much did you drink?'”
Loisel, now an assistant prosecutor in Lucas County, Ohio, remembers Ryan as not engaging in the heavy-handed hazing of pledges. “He was one of the guys you could talk to. He wouldn’t belittle you,” Loisel said.
By his senior year, Ryan was obviously very popular, said Tom Hall, an economics professor who had him in a class on business cycles.
“There’s always some senioritis in the last semester, but he was glad to be there. He had a good attitude about learning,” Hall said. “His fellow students liked him a lot. That came across. … When you are a teacher, you can tell who the other students like.”
Hall added, “I just remember thinking this guy would do well in whatever he does.”
Hmmmm, smart, popular, affable, a natural leader – yep, sure sounds like Paul Ryan.
It’s funny. I don’t remember hearing about any reporters being dispatched to Occidental or Columbia or even Harvard in 2008 to learn about then Senator Obama’s college days. It wasn’t until January of 2009 that we got to hear from Obama’s ex roommate about his Columbia years living in a shoddy apartment in NYC.
Well, wait a sec – there was one guy who had a story to tell in 2008 about the Obama he knew at Occidental, but no one in the media was interested in hearing about it.
Dr. John Drew, a former Marxist who knew Obama when he was at Occidental, has shared his story in numerous venues outside of the MSM. You can read some of his recollections, here.
My graduate studies that fall had tempered my earlier Marxism with a more realistic perspective. I thought a revolution was not in the cards anymore. There was no inevitability, in my mind, to the old idea that the proletariat would rise up and overthrow the ruling classes. Now, the idea that we could entirely eliminate the profit motive from an advanced industrialized economy seemed like a childhood fantasy. The future, I now thought, would belong to nations with mixed economic systems — like those in Europe — where there was government planning of the economy combined with a greater effort to produce a more equitable distribution of wealth. It made more sense to me to focus on elections rather than on preparing for a coming revolution.
Boss and Obama, however, had a starkly different view. They believed that the economic stresses of the Carter years meant revolution was still imminent. The election of Reagan was simply a minor set-back in terms of the coming revolution. As I recall, Obama repeatedly used the phrase “When the revolution comes….” In my mind, I remember thinking that Obama was blindly sticking to the simple Marxist theory that had characterized my own views while I was an undergraduate at Occidental College. “There’s going to be a revolution,” Obama said, “we need to be organized and grow the movement.” In Obama’s view, our role must be to educate others so that we might usher in more quickly this inevitable revolution.
I know this may be implausible to some readers, but I distinctly remember Obama surprising me by bringing up Frantz Fanon and colonialism. He impressed me with his knowledge of these two topics, topics which were not among my strong points — or of overwhelming concern to me. Boss and Obama seemed to think their ideological purity was a persuasive argument in predicting that a coming revolution would end capitalism. While I felt I was doing them a favor by providing them with the latest research, I saw I was in danger of being cast as a reactionary who did not grasp the nuances of international Marxist theory.
Chandoo let Boss and Obama take the crux of the argument to me. Chandoo, in fact, seemed chagrined by the level of disagreement in the group. I cannot remember him making any significant comments during this discussion.
Drawing on the history of Western Europe, I responded it was unrealistic to think the working class would ever overthrow the capitalist system. As I recall, Obama reacted negatively to my critique, saying: “That’s crazy!”
Little bit of a contrast, there, eh?