After it was revealed that Paul Ryan was a longtime Ayn Rand fanboy, reporters, critics, and the general public had a literary field day. Out came in-depth analyses of how Ryan’s fiscal policies were akin to Randian philosophies, and what character he would play in Atlas Shrugged. It all got us thinking about other political candidates and their literary preferences. Usually politicians are the ones who are being written about in books, not talking about them. So is Obama still as big of a fan of poetry as he was in his college days? Which classic novel for young ladies has a beloved spot on Hillary’s bookshelf? After the jump, we take a stroll through some contemporary politicos’ favorite reads.
Paul Ryan – Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
“I grew up reading Ayn Rand and it taught me quite a bit about who I am and what my value systems are, and what my beliefs are. It’s inspired me so much that it’s required reading in my office for all my interns and my staff… But the reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand. And the fight we are in here, make no mistake about it, is a fight of individualism versus collectivism.” – via Atlas Society
Does he or doesn’t he? After being thrust in the spotlight as a vice presidential candidate, Ryan has since tried to downplay his earlier praises of Rand’s philosophies. Rand’s atheism and view of abortion as a “moral right” don’t really jive with Ryan’s conservative stance, but he can’t exactly take back the impassioned speech he gave only a few years back. Once a Randian always a Randian?