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Interview: John Cassidy

Following our segment on what strategy the GOP will employ to win crucial votes in Ohio, host Jeff Greenfield speaks with New Yorker writer John Cassidy about what Paul Ryan’s rise as Romney’s running mate means for the Republican Party.

Cassidy has written extensively about the intersection of economics and politics. He argues that having Ryan on the GOP ticket represents a drastic change in Romney’s strategy — from moderate to more extreme.


  • Gustavo Corral

    First of all, let me comment on the issue of Republican appeals to moderates : 
    Moderates are not conservatives who are a little less. Rather they are people who pick and choose their values. They want fiscal discipline, but may be in favor of abortion. They may not like regulation but want the benefits of it ( don’t be surprised : this is America : you can stand for something and also its opposite )

    So being fiscally conservative is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as it is done in the right way. To that point, conservatives should never shy away from being conservative, rather they should avoid the reputation of being crazy. Abortion is a sensitive issue, but by using this language of “legitimate rape” and that rape “shuts down a woman’s reproductive system” ( an interesting idea, btw, that with a few more million years of evolution might have been! ) is really writing your opponents’ tag lines for them. Abortion was a nice, safe issue that people were meant to stand behind but not actually do anything about. Now the debate is getting serious! 

    Anyway, why go down on Ryan for his budget ? Was Obama clearer in his budgetary intentions in 2008 ?
    There is a fundamental concept of fairness in this debate : If you don’t propose an alternative solution with realistic numbers, you have no right to criticize another person’s cuts. 
    Obama has not proposed a budget that would reduce the deficit to anywhere near an equivalent degree. So we are comparing apples and oranges. If we have to make a true comparison then we should start talking about whether pain today is worth more  than the risk fiscal collapse tomorrow. Because that is effectively the trade-off you are making. 


  • Anonymous

    Your point about moderates is well taken, but Ryan’s budget, apart from demonstrating a cruel disregard for the less fortunate, is based on absurd assumptions:

  • Anonymous

    I always enjoy John Cassidy’s insights.

    This is a bit off-point, but for those who are skeptical of the “magic of the market” propaganda we are saturated with in this country, I recommend Cassidy’s book “How Markets Fail.”

  • Julogue1

    Amazing that Ryan’s ideas are so clearly stated.  But,where are Romney’s?  All he’s said about Ryan’s plan is that his is different.  Romney blames others for his failure to state exactly what he will do to improve the economy – except to lower taxes on the wealthy.  Is this his total plan?  What is his plan?  No one seems to be asking that question.  What companies are just waiting for lower taxes to hire more Americans?  (Are we supposed to believe drill baby drill will start the oil companies hiring everyone who needs a job?)   Where are the specifics?  Where, oh where, are the “bold” ideas except for stepping down hard on the poor.  Romney’s either hiding his plans, like his taxes, or he doesn’t have any plans. (We know what lower taxes and deregulation did to us in the Bush years.)   

  • Truevirgo32

    Can we please get an objectional look at Republicans instead of a biased opinion from a democrat hack from a liberal rag? To hear John Cassidy talk about a moderate Romney having an extreme view on abortion is laughable if not ridiculous! You want radical, try Obama’s view on abortion which supports killing a baby that’s living outside the mother after a failed abortion and refusing to give it medical care which is a bill that he sponsored as a senator in the Illinois senate…that’s extreme but of course no mentioning of that by John Cassidy! BTW in the latest polls more people define themselves as pro life not pro choice, so get the facts straight!

  • Prospector

    Consult with the Google for your answers:

  • Prospector

    Jimbo — that’s one man’s opinion from his blog. Klein is no objective writer on the issues. He is unabashedly, in Obama’s corner. Even so far as to be part of a cabal of “jornolists” who actively undermined the McCain campaign in 2008 while pretending to be news reporters.

  • Anonymous

    Prospector, I don’t care if Klein has a point of view, I care if what he says is true.  Instead of attacking the messenger tell me what he said that was untrue, or tell me of any lies of omission. 

    The fact is, Ryan’s budget is a fraud.  It calls for broad cuts but leaves out all of the politically inconvenient specifics.  By one estimate, his original budget would have exploded the national debt by $60 trillion, which has been reduced to “only” $14 trillion in the current incarnation of his plan.

    It’s also an act of class warfare, shifting the tax burden from the wealthy to the middle class.