Rand's huge novels, especially Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, champion triumphant individualism, free-market capitalism, and enlightened selfishness. That side of Rand has made her a heroine to many conservatives and many in the business community, including Ed Snider, chairman of Comcast-Spectacor, which owns the Flyers. Snider is helping bankroll a movie series based on Atlas Shrugged.
But Rand, big a heroine as she is to some, also is an uneasy fit for any politician courting centrist, moderately conservative, or independent voters.
With the instantaneous, astonishing speech of today's communications world, hundreds of articles and thousands of tweets went out Saturday about Rand, who she was, why we should care.
Keith Olbermann - the embattled liberal TV host who has gotten himself fired from several channels - smacked Rand, her philosophy, her unfortunate enthusiasms, and the wisdom of praising her in one's first speech as running mate. He also posted this: "Just a reminder that the anti-government Ayn Rand who @RepPaulRyan says inspired him to seek office, ended up on Social Security + Medicare."
Many tweets noted the combination of faithful Mormon Romney, staunch Catholic Ryan, and militant atheist Rand, who called Christianity "evil" and "monstrous" along with all other religions. In "Ayn Rand Joins the Ticket," an instantly-written online article for the New Yorker ( http://nyr.kr/P0Y9qe), Jane Mayer noted that Ryan has distanced himself from Rand's atheism and denial of transcendant moral values. That wasn't enough for the tweeters.
Thanks to Twitter, the ultimate crowd-tester, the world now knows that Ryan has praised Rand in speeches throughout his political career.
Much was the fun. Anna Froula retweeted an anagram: " 'Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan' = 'Immoral Ayn Rand-type nut'. In the same spirit, Emily Wilkins tweeted: "Paul Ryan, Ron Paul, Rand Paul, Ayn Rand #makeitstop."
Pro-GOP tweeters charged lefties with hypocrisy ("atheism is only a problem when it's not one of your own?") or ignorance (Stacey Hanrahan tweeted: "The lefty loons referencing Ayn Rand have never read Ayn Rand or understand her views") or simply celebrated Rand.
Though tweeters on both the left and right bemoaned the Rand mention, it's fair to say both sides were less than thrilled. As big a heroine as Ayn Rand may be to people across th e political spectrum, this probably wasn't the GOP's idea of a perfect kickoff - at least in the Twittersphere.
Contact John Timpane at 215-854-4406 or email@example.com, or follow on Twitter, @jtimpane.