Fans of R sounds, rejoice! Mitt Romney has made his pick: Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will be playing the role of Sarah Palin in this year’s election. Unlike Palin at the time she was picked, though, a lot of people have heard of and covered Paul Ryan, which allows us to compile this little dossier.

Photo by Gage Skidmore.

First things first. Ryan is a seven-term member of the House of Representatives at the ripe old age of 42. He’s from Janesville, Wis., where he still lives, and went to college at Miami University of Ohio.

In the House (and outside of it), he’s primarily known as the architect of a hugely controversial budget proposal. Here’s an overview; but the topline is a broad overhaul of social programs like Medicare and Social Security. You will hear about this plan every 14 minutes until Nov. 6, so we’re going to focus on our core issues.

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Meaning: energy and the environment. provides a good overview:

  • Voted YES on opening Outer Continental Shelf to oil drilling.
  • Voted YES on barring EPA from regulating greenhouse gases.
  • Voted NO on enforcing limits on CO2 global warming pollution.
  • Voted NO on tax credits for renewable electricity, with PAYGO offsets.

To that last point, Ryan has pushed for ending subsidies for clean energy. He also supported ending subsidies for big oil companies, but has consistently voted to keep them.

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Over at ThinkProgress’ Climate Progress, they go deeper, in an article titled “Meet Paul Ryan: Climate Denier, Conspiracy Theorist, Koch Acolyte,” which basically sums it up. If you’d rather hear Ryan in his own words, well, here’s Ryan on “Climategate”:

These e-mails from leading climatologists make clear efforts to use statistical tricks to distort their findings and intentionally mislead the public on the issue of climate change.

Mm-hm. In his prepared remarks today, Ryan made no mention of energy or the environment.

But should that not be enough — should you, for some inexplicable reason, base your political decisions on more than just a single list of issues — here is a quick overview of the broader resources that are out there.

  • From August, 2010, The New York Times’A Young Republican With a Sweeping Agenda.” From August of this year, the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza wrote “Fussbudget.”
  • Lizza also shares this photo from Ryan’s high school yearbook, in which Ryan was named “biggest brown-noser.”
  • Here’s Ryan on C-SPAN in 1998, when he first joined Congress.
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  • And in 2010, here’s Ryan bashing the Romney healthcare plan. Oops!
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  • Other notes:
  • Some early analysis of the pick from Lizza and The Atlantic’s James Fallows (who is not a fan).
  • The best early analysis is Ezra Klein’s “Seven Thoughts on Ryan.”
  • But if you’re looking for detail, here is a 290-page opposition research book on Ryan, released by a Super PAC.

There you have it. Everything you need to know for 10 a.m. on a Saturday morning about a man who will either be a footnote to history or a footnote in Washington. America votes, 2012!

Update: Information and analysis continue to come in.

New York’s Jonathan Chait:

Over time the movement and the party have grown synonymous, and Ryan’s nominations represents a moment when the conservative movement ceased to control the politicians from behind the scenes and openly assumed the mantle of power.


If you’re interested, here’s who’s given to Ryan while he’s been in Congress. Sixth biggest contributor? Koch Industries.



Update: ProPublica has a very thorough compendium of articles about Ryan (but fewer jokes).