Maureen Dowd really, really dislikes Paul Ryan, resenting even the man's moderate demeanor for hiding what she is sure is "full-tilt virulence." Her Sunday column for the New York Times, "Beware a Beautiful Calm," not only extensively quotes that well-known political commentator Tom Morello (of the left-wing rock band Rage Against the Machine, which hasn't released a studio album since the year 2000), but diagnosed Ryan as psychologically "hysterical."
What happens when you realize you are the machine you’re raging against?
Tom Morello, the Grammy-winning, Harvard-educated guitarist for the metal rap band Rage Against the Machine, punctured Paul Ryan’s pretensions to cool in a Rolling Stone essay rejecting R&R (Romney ’n’ Ryan) as R&R (rock ’n’ roll).
“He is the embodiment of the machine that our music has been raging against for two decades,” Morello writes, adding: “I clearly see that Ryan has a whole lotta ‘rage’ in him: A rage against women, a rage against immigrants, a rage against workers, a rage against gays, a rage against the poor, a rage against the environment. Basically, the only thing he’s not raging against is the privileged elite he’s groveling in front of for campaign contributions.”
...Ryan looks like a bonus Romney son, as Dan Quayle did with Bush senior. Republicans find the tableau of two rich white guys -- same shirts, different generations -- comforting. With W. and Cheney, the usual order switched and the vice-presidential candidate played the role of surrogate dad.
Where Ryan is like Cheney is in tone: at first blush, the Wisconsin congressman emanates a thoughtful, reassuring reasonableness, talking to reporters and sometimes Democratic lawmakers. Cheney’s deep voice, like the headmaster of a boys’ prep school, seemed moderate and measured, too, at first. But it is deceptive. Both men are way, way out there.
It is, to use a phrase coined by French doctors, la belle indifférence, or “the beautiful calm” of hysterical people. But the closer you look, the uglier it gets.
Just as Cheney, hunter of small birds and old friends, once defended cop-killer bullets and plastic guns that could slip through airport metal detectors, so Ryan, deer hunter, championed concealed guns and curtailing the background check waiting period from three days to one.
Just as Cheney was always willing to cough up money to guerrillas in Nicaragua and Angola but not to poor women whose lives were endangered by their pregnancies, so Ryan helped pay for W.’s endless wars while pushing endless anti-abortion bills, like one undercutting an exemption from the ban on using federal money for abortions in cases of rape or incest, and narrowing the definition of rape to “forcible rape.”
Beyond the even-keeled Ryan mien lurks full-tilt virulence. A moderate demeanor is not a sign of a moderate view of the world.