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article imageOp-Ed: Did Romney 'throw in the towel' with his choice of Rep. Ryan?

By Bill Schmalfeldt     Aug 11, 2012 in Politics
One wonders if by his selection of Tea Party darling Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) to be his running mate, presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney has just announced to the world, "Screw it. I can't win."
While the ultra right-wing blogosphere covers their individual computer screens with flecks of saliva foam in excitement, these writers tend to operate under the misconception that they speak and write for the "real America." But the last time anyone bothered to check with "real America" about what they think of the Tea Party, the results weren't all that spectacular.
One recent poll found 41 percent of Americans support the Tea Party while 45 percent oppose it, and 50 percent say the more they hear about it, the less they like it.
Therefore, when you hear Tea Party supporters saying "Americans think this" or "Americans agree that" what they are actually saying is that a loud minority of Americans, mostly white and elderly, agree on certain issues.
Mitt Romney was viewed with great suspicion by the Tea Party and the gaffe committed last week when his spokeswoman Andrea Saul told the truth about the similarities between Romneycare and Obamacare may have been the final straw.
With more and more negative press piling up against Romney, could it be he just decided "to hell with it" and rejected the safer choices, the candidates who would have made more sense as running mates to the moderates and independents? Tim Pawlenty? Rob Portman? Heck, even Marco Rubio who won a Tea Party straw poll on Romney running mates doesn't bring the negative baggage that Paul Ryan brings to the ticket.
All through the campaign, Romney has been touting his experience as a businessman. In fact, Romney proposed a constitutional amendment that would require a president to have at least three years of experience in private business before taking the highest office in the land. (Such a rule would have denied America the leadership of Dwight Eisenhower and Teddy Roosevelt -- not Barack Obama, who spent 12 years as a lawyer in a small law firm.) You know who such an amendment would disqualify?
Paul Ryan.
He's been in Congress since 1998 when he was 28 years old. His rich business experience before that includes:
• Ryan moonlighted on Capitol Hill as a waiter at the Tortilla Coast restaurant & as a fitness trainer at Washington Sport and Health Club.
• One of Ryan’s summer jobs in college was as an Oscar Mayer salesman in Minnesota, peddling turkey bacon and a new line called “Lunchables” to supermarkets – he even drove the “Wienermobile” once.
It s not quite the  Hope  poster from 2008  but we offer it for your amusement.
It's not quite the "Hope" poster from 2008, but we offer it for your amusement.
So, is Romney "giving up?"
Well, he is running away from the Ryan budget. Moments after announcing his choice, the Romney campaign sent out a list of talking points, including that Romney thinks Ryan made a "good start" with his budget proposals, however "as president he will be putting together his own plan for cutting the deficit and putting the budget on a path to balance." No details until after he's elected. Meanwhile we, as voters, are supposed to forget previously reported facts.
"I think it'd be marvelous if the Senate were to pick up Paul Ryan's budget and to adopt it and pass it along to the president," he said this March.
Elsewhere, he added: "I spent a good deal of time with Congressman Ryan. When his plan came out, I applauded it as an important step," he said. "We're going to have to make changes like the ones Paul Ryan proposed."
In a Fox News Sunday interview in December 2011, meanwhile, Romney was asked about the Ryan budget as if it were his own plan and responded by arguing the merits of Ryan's approach.
And as pointed out by the Obama campaign, Romney said in an interview with a Milwaukee radio station in March 2012 that he and Ryan had been working "over the last several months" in collaboration on plans "for a tax policy and spending, as well as Medicare reform." Ryan's "proposals and the ones I’ve outlined in my campaign are very much on the same page," Romney added.
Ryan, for his part, seemed to agree, telling CBS in March that Romney would enact the major parts of his budget as president.
"I'm not expecting everybody to enact every little piece of this," Ryan said. "But, yes, he -- and the other candidates running for president -- have embraced these kinds of reforms because we know it's the best way to save and strengthen the Medicare guarantee, save Medicaid."
Apparently, it is our duty as American patriots to hold the candidates responsible for what they say now and in the future -- not what they've said or done in the past.
By choosing Ryan, does Romney truly believe he will turn this race around? A congressman who, in his own state, only has a 36% approval rating according to the most recent polling?
Does Romney think that moderates will come flocking to his side now that he's chosen a running mate who has embraced the extreme "survival of the fittest" philosophy of the hypocrite Ayn Rand, who blasted any dependency on government but died while on Social Security and Medicare?
Does Romney truly believe the middle class will rush to his support now that he has chosen a running mate whose tax plan, according to the non-partisan Tax Policy Center, would lower the take home pay of middle and lower-class wage earners while giving a 12.5% bonus to people making more than $1 million a year?
Is Romney looking forlornly at the telephone, waiting for calls of support from people who rely on Medicare and Social Security to care for their parents and grandparents, knowing that his new running mate wants to turn Medicare into a voucher system that will ultimately cost seniors an additional $6,000 a year and raise the eligibility age to 67? Someone who called Social Security a "Ponzi scheme" and has, since 2005, advocated privatization of this vital safety net?
Will Romney be disappointed if the 4.1 million people who will lose their jobs in the first two years of his administration, according to the Economic Policy Institute, or the one million college students who won't get Pell grants because of the Ryan budget don't come knocking at his door?
Will Romney be devastated when he gets no support from the informed middle class, not the deluded tea partiers, but actual people who actually realize that Ryan supports the $40 billion in oil subsidies? That Ryan has ownership stakes in the oil companies that benefit from those subsidies?
Will the voters realize that this is the same Paul Ryan who bad mouthed the signature achievement of Romney's term as governor, universal health care in Massachusetts? That he said Romneycare led to rationing and cuts in health care? That he said Romneycare is quite similar to Obamacare?
Will people who support the military come running to Romney when they realize his running mate called the generals who voiced their support of Obama's military budget "liars"?
Does Romney think this choice will bolster his already woeful support among women when they hear over and over again that Ryan co-sponsored the Sanctity of Human Life Act, which declares that a fertilized egg “shall have all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood.” This would outlaw abortion, some forms of contraception and invitro fertilization.
How will the moderates and independents react when the see the video of a 71-year old man, thrown to the floor and handcuffed for daring to talk back to Ryan during a town hall meeting last year? When they hear Ryan joking about the old man "taking his blood pressure medication"? When they learn that instead of holding "free" town hall meetings in the summer of 2011, Ryan charged $15 admission, and when a group of citizens in his district showed up to complain, he called the police on them?
It's hard to see how this choice will help Romney with the Hispanic vote, given that Ryan is on record comparing Latinos to animals while saying "anchor babies cost money" as if white, middle class babies come free of any expense.
Yet, the right wing blogosphere is hooting and hollering and shouting their support for Paul Ryan as the vice presidential pick as if Romney had chosen Christ himself. Do they not understand what a small percentage of the American voting public they represent?
This choice will be seen as a good thing by a small percentage of white, elderly, and middle-class Americans who believe every word Rush Limbaugh tells them and that every word Glenn Beck utters comes from the mind of God Himself. Thankfully, these people who will vote against their own self interest are not in the majority. As more people pull their heads out of the Fox News cloaca and begin to get information from other sources, they become more educated and informed and realize that the GOP does not have their interests at heart -- that they are in business to see to the further enrichment of the upper classes at the expense of those in the middle and lower classes.
Chances are Mitt Romney recognizes this fact. Chances are he knew that when he threw up his hands and said to himself, "Hell, I may as well give the job to Paul Ryan. My goose is cooked, anyway!"
Or, maybe he hopes there are just enough stupid people in the middle class to help him turn this remarkable fraud on the American people into a success. We've seen he has no trouble lying when it suits him. This could all be just one more bit of subterfuge in a last ditch attempt to salvage a dying campaign.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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