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article imageOp-Ed: Agreeing to be Romney's veep may have bad political consequences

By Bill Schmalfeldt     Aug 12, 2012 in Politics
This morning, we see a lot of folks asking whether or not Mitt Romney's selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate means the GOP has given up on 2012 and is instead grooming Ryan for 2016.
The answer is "no."
Here's why.
With the selection of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) to be his running mate, Mitt Romney has changed the focus of the election. It will no longer be a referendum on President Obama's handling of the economy. If it were, with the current right track/wrong track polling, Romney should be up by 7 to 8 percentage points instead of trailing by that amount.
What Romney has done by selecting Ryan is admit, "We can't win by making this a referendum on Obama. No matter the shape of the economy, people like him, and they don't like me. Not at all."
So, instead, the plan is to turn the election into a stark, clear choice.
Do America's middle class and moderates think the strict, draconian, austerity promised by Romney/Ryan is the way to save the economy?
Or, do they see merit in the Obama/Biden approach toward slow recovery?
One cannot deny the economy is in recovery after nearly plummeting into depression in 2008-2009. There have been 29 months of consecutive job growth in the private sector. If Obama could get hiring started again in the public sector, that would go a long way towards cutting down the unemployment rate.
But the conservatives running the statehouses in red states like Wisconsin, Ohio, etc., won't have it. They continue to fire teachers (public sector) fire fighters (public sector) and police and other first-responders (public sectors) while gutting the unions that were responsible for these public servants getting decent wages and benefits.
We know what a Romney/Ryan administration would do. They have made no secret of it. They boast about it.
If you WANT Medicare turned into a voucher system that will eventually mean Gramma and Grampa have to pay $6,000 more each year, they are your candidates.
If you want Social Security to be left to the hands of Wall Street, they are your boys.
If you want state and local governments to be forced to either raise your taxes or ignore infrastructure repair, I can't think of two better candidates for you.
If you think it is sound fiscal management to allow insurance companies to deny you health coverage for pre-existing conditions should you change jobs or lose your current coverage, you should vote for the Romney/Ryan team.
That being said, we on the progressive side couldn't be happier about Gov. Romney's choice. Finally, we will have an election where the American people will decide what they want from Government, and what they don't want.
If they want to keep the safety nets in place, they will vote for Obama/Biden.
If they want their kids to be able to get Pell grants to go to college, they will vote for Obama/Biden.
If they don't want to go to war with anyone unless our actual national security is at risk, they will vote for Obama/Biden.
If they prefer that the Social Security system not be left to the whims of Wall Street, they will vote for Obama/Biden.
If they believe the wealthiest of Americans should carry a tax burden that is at least an equal percentage of their income as the middle class, they will select Obama/Biden.
If they would just as soon their tax money be used to improve infrastructure, grow jobs in the public and private sector, hire and replace cops, teachers, fire fighters, paramedics, buy new ambulances, new highways, new bridges instead of giving even more tax breaks to the wealthiest of the wealthy who already have more money than they know how to spend, and they certainly are NOT spending it on "creating jobs," they will vote for Obama/Biden.
Those of us on the progressive side of the aisle see this as a watershed election, and we thank Gov. Romney for choosing someone who clarifies just what it is the Republicans want to do to us in the next four years.
If we're stupid enough to cut our own throats with the knife Romney/Ryan are extending, then we deserve what we get.
But if the Romney/Ryan view of America's future is as roundly rejected by the American voter as we on the progressive side believe it will be, that doesn't leave much of a future for Congressman Ryan. In 2016, he will still be the same conservative he is now. (By the way, he will be running consecutively for Congress and Vice President... in case the VP gig doesn't work out, he's hoping to hold on to that congress thing. Voters in Wisconsin... you know what to do.)
On the day after election day, we will either be facing a future like Somalia, with a weak central government and states left up to their own devices, or we will have a government that the founders intended when they scrapped the Articles of Confederation and replaced it with a Constitution.
If the progressives win in November, it means the GOP will have to reconsider its love affair with the retrogressive Tea Party wing, and reinvent itself into the party of Lincoln that it once was.
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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