Two Best-Sellers May 22, 2012March 27, 2017 THE ROMNEY / RYAN / AYN RAND BUDGET Marissa Hendrickson: “Re your column Friday on Paul Ryan, when people sing the praises of Atlas Shrugged as a source of lessons for the real world, I always want to tell them to read it again, but this time, remember that they’re not John Galt, they’re Eddie Willers. The guy who could appreciate genius, but didn’t have any of his own — look what happened to him. Unless Paul Ryan can produce a machine of his own invention that produces unlimited electricity from the static in the air, he’s not John Galt, and he shouldn’t try to make policy as if he is. I liked the book, too, but yeesh. It’s not a handbook, it’s a cheesy novel.” ☞ Another wildly popular book that can’t be taken literally but that approaches these moral questions from the opposite end of the spectrum — from the left — is the dovish, bleeding-heart one about “blessed are the meek” and “turning the other cheek.” (I particularly like this little passage.) Call me a centrist (please) but to me the best path lies someplace between these radically different bestsellers: an ample dose of good rough and tumble capitalism, with lots of safeguards against price-fixing, lots of creative destruction as new and improved technologies supplant the old . . . yes! . . . but all that tightly coupled with seriously progressive taxation, government investment in basic research and infrastructure, a “there but for the grace of God go I” safety net, and extensive — enlightened — regulation for a complicated world. (And a vibrant press constantly on the prowl for waste and corruption to root out; stupid or excessive regulation to revamp.) That’s my utopia. GOVERNOR ROMNEY ON REVEREND FALWELL Columnist Pat Cunningham of Rockford Illinois has a question about Governor Romney’s embrace of the late Reverend Falwell: . . . I ask you: Whose words were worse? Jeremiah Wright’s, for inviting God’s punishment of America for its racism? Or Jerry Falwell’s, for saying that God had punished America — and rightly so — for its liberalism? Last Saturday, Mitt Romney delivered a speech at Liberty University, a school founded by Falwell, and said this of the late reverend: In his 73 years of life, Dr. Falwell left a big mark…The calling Jerry answered was not an easy one. Today we remember him as a courageous and big-hearted minister of the Gospel who never feared an argument, and never hated an adversary. Jerry deserves the tribute he would have treasured most, as a cheerful, confident champion for Christ. I will always remember his cheerful good humor and selflessness. There were no qualifications in Romney’s praise of Falwell, no hints of disapproval of Falwell having blamed America for Sept. 11, no effort to distance himself from the suggestion that God had punished America for not hewing to Falwell’s moral code. So, there you have it. Barack Obama has disowned the man who said “God damn America,” but Mitt Romney has praised the man who said God has rightly punished America with horrendous acts of terrorism. And yet, some people want us to believe that Obama’s morality is the more questionable in all of this. HOUSEKEEPING Richard Theriault: “You ARE going to rotate your head shot, aren’t you? Last week’s, with the open shirt and smile, was much better. You look so — so — Republican — in this one. Forgive me, but I had to say it.” ☞ I seemed to have some horrible skin disease in the last photo. Live with it: I’m a +moderate+ Democrat.