Copyright 2012 by John T. Reed

It’s 7:15 AM on Saturday.

I don’t get up at 7:15 AM on Saturday. But I did today. I heard yesterday that Paul Ryan might be Romney’s choice and that they would announce it this morning. I live in California so the announcement would typically be around 6:00 AM my time. While still in bed, I turned on the cell phone charging next to the bed and Googled “Romney VP choice.”


I could not go back to sleep.

One of my “national treasures” on the national ballot!?

At my web site, I have a list of national treasures whom we do not appreciate enough.

Here are the two paragraphs from that web page that describe how you get on that list:

These are talented, diligent men and women who are successful enough that we have heard of them. But they stand above other prominent people for their character. They seek position and ratings and raises, but not at the cost of doing what's right. Their highest priority is doing what's right, not what gives them status or money or fame. They comply with the ideal set forth in the Frank Sinatra song My Way.

They are also like John F. Kennedy's Profiles in Courage heroes only without the one big, famous, dramatic conflict. But we have to know that these people on my list below have fought a million little, behind-the-scenes battles to maintain their integrity as they have lived their lives. They tell people what they need to know, not what they want to hear. They also remind us of Henry Clay's statement, "I'd rather be right than be president." That is, they have a vision of how they want to live their lives and they will not compromise it for any of the enticements that tempt others to live their lives so as to win the approval of others. People who do this are extremely rare.

Ryan is on it. He has been for years. I am astonished that a person from my list has been nominated for national office.

I will still vote Libertarian

Am I going to vote for Romney-Ryan? Hell, no! I live in California. Obama won CA in 2008 by about 2-1. He’ll win it this time probably by 3-2. Voting Republican in CA is a joke. I will vote Republican if the election in CA is close, but I do not expect that.

I will vote for Libertarian Gary Johnson. He was allowed to be in one of the 2012 Republican presidential debates. He was one of my fellow speakers at the 2010 Freedom Fest in Las Vegas. That way, my vote makes more of a statement about what I want than if my vote is just buried in the California landslide for federal freebies.

But I digress.

A principled loss that sets the stage for future victory

I am afraid that the Republicans will win in 2012, just in time to preside over the U.S. government going bankrupt and flipping into hyperinflation, which will be worse than the Great Depression, and getting blamed for it for the next 80 years as they were in the Great Depression. See my article on the “Winner’s Curse” in the 2010 election.

I almost would prefer that they lost—especially with a ticket like this.

Grover Norquist is famous for his getting elected officials to pledge to oppose increases in marginal income tax rates for individuals and businesses, as well as net reductions or eliminations of deductions and credits without a matching reduced tax rates. On 60 Minutes, he said he was branding the Republican Party as the anti-tax increase party. Mission accomplished. Norquist is one of my fellow Harvard MBAs. “Branding” is a typical word used in marketing classes there.

So it is with the Ryan choice. It brands the Republicans as the party of fiscal responsibility.

Norquist wrote an article about the Ryan choice at

If they lose on that brand, so be it. And if there is a winner’s curse, having run with Ryan in 2012 will set the Republicans up for a fabulous “We told you so” campaign in 2016. And 2016, not 2012, may be the actual most important election of our lifetimes.

The American people do not deserve two squeaky-clean,“ trying to do the right thing” kinda guys like Romney and Ryan. It is astonishing that such people are willing to even go into politics let alone win the presidential/vice-presidential nominations of a major party.

The last time such guys won that nomination were Reagan/Bush in 1980-1984. 1980 was the only year I voted Republican for president. It looked like the election might be close. It was not. Reagan won California with the help of my wife and me.

I cannot think of another such pair of candidates for either party in the whole history of the U.S. Eisenhower was pretty clean, but his running mate was Nixon.

Can a sordid Chicago politician who has described Frank Marshall Davis, Bill Ayers, and Jeremiah Wright as his mentors defeat such people by calling them absurd names like felon, tax cheat, women hater, etc.?

I think maybe Obama can do that and win. Like I said, the American people do not deserve such candidates and probably will never get another chance to vote for candidates like them in the future.

American has become a nation of draft dodgers, personal-injury plaintiffs, lottery ticket buyers, welfare queens, and Internet buzz IPO boy billionaires who could not make a kid’s lemonade stand a success. Americans are no longer interested in such old-fashioned things as simply building a business that truly gives good value to its customers.

I saw Ryan once get asked how he became the budget expert.

“I read it,” he said.

That exchange summarizes him about as succinctly as possible. I followed a similar path somewhat. My book Aggressive Tax Avoidance for Real Estate Investors has sold over 100,000 copies and is now in its 19th edition. The beginning of that book was my reading J.K. Lasser’s Your Income Tax from cover to cover. I did a lot more research after that, but that transformed me from Joe Average who had only a vague understanding of the Internal Revenue Code to someone who said, “Oh, is that all there is to the tax law?” I went on to read a lot of other law books and such to get the fine details. The Lasser book is not aggressive. I met the head guy in charge of it once in his office at Simon & Schuster and told him that. He did not disagree.

Anyway, politicians do not read budgets or ObamaCare or anything else. Why bother? They got elected didn’t they? And re-elected and re-elected. The public doesn’t read the laws. So the politicians can BS the public for decades and retire with a bunch of bridges and buildings named after them.


When I entered West Point and was in the Army and later in business organizations I learned a new word: “careerist.”

You may think you know what it means: a person who makes a career.

Nope. That’s not what it means.

It means a person who places their own personal career advancement above all other considerations.

Being a careerist means you do not make my national treasures list. My national treasures list is the uncareerist list.

Mitt Romney’s not on my list and I do not expect to add him. Why not? He is too much of a careerist: favoring gun control and soft-pedaling his opposition to abortion and signing Romney Care in Massachusetts; then claiming to be a “severe conservative” when running for president. The truth is he has been a bit of a chameleon in order to advance his political career.

However, having said that, Romney has not abandoned his Mormon religion even though he has no doubt gotten the message that doing so would help his political career.

And he did choose Paul Ryan, didn’t he? Sticking to his Mormon religion and selecting Ryan are not careerist behavior. I still think Romney is too much a careerist, but his selection of Ryan—who is not a careerist—is commendable with regard to getting Romney on a 12-step program to de-careerist him.

Fundamentally, non-careerists are willing to lose because they did the right thing rather than win by doing the wrong thing.

Some cynics will say that unless you win, nothing else matters. Bull! My national treasures list is only of people who say what they believe and believe what they say, not people who filter everything in order to advance their careers.

The truly radical Obama will call Ryan a radical. But Paul Ryan does not seem like a radical. He seems like the father of cub scouts that he is. Central casting in Hollywood would cast Obama in the radical role in a heartbeat; they wouldn’t even audition Ryan for such a part. Obama knows opposition research and lying and the rest of Chicago politics. Be he does not know casting.

His current efforts to cast Ryan as a dangerous radical are comical to watch. Reagan’s people used to laugh at opponent Jimmy Carter and his media allies nit picking Reagan policies in some speech Reagan made. “You morons. The TV audience did not focus on that. What they saw is Reagan’s sunny personality, basic decency, and the American flags and red, white and blue ballons.” Obama and his accomplices cannot see the Ryan for the oppo research. The public can see the Ryan and wonders what Obama’s people are talking about with the “radical” old-lady-in-a-wheelchair-off-the-cliff nonsense.

Look at Obama’s own first casting decision: choosing a dim-bulb buffoon—Joe Biden—whose main qualification was that he was the only guy in Washington who would not make the devoid-of-any-experience Obama look bad in comparison.

I am very worried that Obama may win in November. I do not think Ryan’s selection changes that probability. What it does, is let the American people decide whether they want federal freebies and the resulting bankruptcy or whether they want to start down the road to restoration. I am not at all confident that Americas will vote to end the freebies. But I feel better that the American people might, after they get hit in the face with federal default, hyperinflation, and draconian federal spending cuts, turn to the Republicans.

It reminds me of England in 1938. The British people had to choose between Winston Churchill’s claims that Hitler had to be stopped with force if necessary. His opponent, Neville Chamberlain, advocated the easy way. The latter notoriously negotiated the Munich Pact in which he appeased Hitler, waving the worthless piece of paper and claiming it gave Britain “peace in our time.”

When Hitler violated the pact and started World War II in Europe in 1939, the British people threw Chamberlain out and made Churchill prime minister for the duration of the war. Obama is giving Americans endless deficit spending—living beyond our means. Profligacy in our time. The Romney choice of Ryan is a Churchillian stance. It may produce a similar, delayed Churchillian success.

As I said above, I agree with Henry Clay. He said he would rather be right than president. Whether Romney can be both is questionable. But he has chosen to do the right thing with his first “presidential” decision.


By the way, Paul Ryan is not a great speaker. But he sure as hell is a great speech writer. He said more memorable lines in his first VP candidate speech than “great orator” Obama has in his entire life.

A couple of people have noted that Ryan voted for Medicare Plan D, raising the debt ceiling, etc.

I know. But he created and fought for his Roadmap to Prosperity which would hae the effect of rolling back his complained of votes. I have said his plan takes longer to reach acceptable debt-to-GDP ratios than we have but it moves in the right direction. Nothing else in Congress is doing that except for the two Pauls who would work faster to cut the debt.

Paul supporters demanded to know why I did not support them. I probably voted for Ron Paul when he ran for president on the Libertarian Party ticket in 1988. Since then, I have never had an opportunity to vote for a Paul. I am a registered Libertarian So I cannot vote in Republican primaries like the one Ron ran in this year.xtSimilarly, my “Jeff Underwood” (fictional president who mirrors my views in my in-progress novel The Unelected President) would be better in the presidency than Ryan on the liberatrian-purity scale. But neither “Jeff” nor I will be on any ballots.

One of Jeff’s principles is Ryanesque. He will sign into law bills that move toward what he wants—een if not as far as he wants—as long as they do not contain a mitxure of right- and wrong-direction stuff. See my article on the virtue of the Confederate Constitution’s rule that laws may only deal with one subject. Obama has demanded “clean” bills, meaning one-subject bills, but did not get them and went ahead and signed them anyway.

John T. Reed