Confronting lingering right-wing skepticism about his conservative pedigree, Mitt Romney’s safe and uninspired campaign just took on a much harder edge as he opted for free-market ideologue Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his Vice-Presidential nominee.
Americans will now be able to see, with unequivocal clarity just what the Republican Party has in store for them.
Ryan, along with his head of the GOP ticket are the perfect corporate stooges. Back in 1999 he voted in favor of repealing the Glass–Steagall Act which regulated banking. He wants to keep tax-cuts for the rich and tax-breaks and subsidies for corporations, but not for the average citizen. He represents the end of public education and the expansion of the prison industrial complex. He wants to privatize Social Security by handing it over to risky Wall Street investors.
The Tea Party’s mania surrounding Ryan is the latest example of Republicans with selective amnesia as Ryan was part of Tom Delay’s spend all congress. He voted for all of the Bush’s unfunded budgets and tax cuts for the top one percent of income earners. He voted for their federal intrusion into public education thru the No Child Left Behind act, also without funding. He voted for the massive Bush Medicare Part D expansion. Ryan actually voted with the Bush Administration’s agenda of unprecedented expansion 94% of the time.
It may surprise his so-called fiscally conservative fans to know that Paul Ryan’s voting record includes votes for the TARP and the auto bailouts. More surprising is that so many anti-establishment Republicans are ignoring the fact that he is not as conservative as they'd like to believe. Ryan is now a part of John Boehner’s do nothing but obstruct congress. As House Budget Committee Chair, his Ryan Budget, which passed the House in 2011 would gradually turn Medicare into a voucher program and slash state funding for Medicaid.
The greatest insight we can take from the Ryan pick is that Romney and the Tea Party have been stuck in their FOX News echo chamber for so long, that they have convinced themselves that the rest of America thinks ending Medicaid and Medicare, along with mortgage, healthcare, and college tax deductions while cutting taxes for the rich are all good ideas.
Romney apparently feels he can win without the independents, because they have conceivably just lost half the independent vote. They are certainly in danger of losing the crucial state of Florida, with the state's high concentration of the elderly who rely on Medicare. But that’s where the voter suppression laws come in to play, something Romney has not talked about.
"Congressman Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney are a match made in millionaires' heaven, but they'll be a nightmare for seniors who've earned their Medicare benefits," said New York Rep. Steve Israel, chairman of Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He added, "For the last 18 months, we've said Republicans will have to defend the indefensible -- their vote to end Medicare. Now with Congressman Ryan on the ticket, House Republicans face the one thing they hoped to avoid -- a national debate on their budget that puts millionaires first and Medicare and the middle class last."
Both men consistently cite policies that will hurt the middle class. More than three-fifths of the cuts proposed by Mr. Ryan, and eagerly accepted by Mitt Romney and the Tea Party driven House, come from programs for low-income Americans. That means billions of dollars lost for; job training for the displaced; Pell grants for students; and food stamps for the hungry. Ryan’s announcement as Romney’s selection was made in Norfolk, Va., against the backdrop of the decommissioned USS Wisconsin, even though Ryan wants to cut $11 Billion of Veterans Benefits.
Before anyone gets weepy about Paul Ryan and his pulling himself up from his bootstraps story, it should be noted that Paul Ryan's father died when he was a teenager. It was the government that sustained his family when it was in need – as the government should. Both he and his mother were able to live and go to college through the help of his father’s Social Security checks. So Paul Ryan was able to lift himself up with the help of Social Security checks, but now he wants to take Americans’ away and give them to Wall Street.
In many ways Ryan is the antithesis of Romney. Ryan has been a consistent true believer while Romney -- to put it charitably – has taken both sides on almost every issue. In a New Yorker interview with Ryan Lizza, Ryan expressed his scorn for presidential candidates who “run on vague platitudes and generalities.” By accepting to run as Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential pick, Ryan himself has changed direction embracing a candidate who epitomizes his scorn.
In his acceptance speech Paul Ryan said, "We will promise equal opportunity, not equal results." This contradicts something Romney has continually stated: "Americans deserve the amount of education they can afford." That isn't exactly equal opportunity as many in America today cannot afford to pay high tuition and both Ryan and Romney have proposed deep cuts in education from Head Start to college aid. The younger generation already has higher education costs and will be the first to have to compete in this globalized economy. Without more education, especially in math and science as well as early childhood education, they can't really compete effectively.
As House Budget Committee chairman, Mr. Ryan has drawn a blueprint of a government that will be absent when people need it the most. It will not be there when the unemployed need job training, or when a struggling student needs help to get into college. It will not be there when a miner needs more than a hardhat for protection, or when a city is unable to replace a crumbling bridge. It will not be there when the elderly cannot keep up with the costs of M.R.I.’s or prescription medicines, or when the poor and uninsured become increasingly sick through lack of preventive care.
With his selection of Ryan as his running mate, Romney - a man with no apparent core values - is appeasing to right wingers who do not like or trust him. It is a desperate attempt to pump up his base. Desperation can lead one to make risky mistakes and in the end this selection may be just that.
Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney’s running mate is a true establishment pick. The GOP is supporting a VP nominee who; went from working for politicians to being a politician. What Ryan’s choice does for the Romney campaign, is lend a definition beyond just being this rich guy. But the differences between the GOP nominees are as starkly different as anything we've seen in a long time.
The Romney campaign wanted this election to be about Romney vs. Obama and the campaign made the decision that simply wasn't enough. Now voters will have the clearest choice in a campaign since perhaps Carter and Mondale vs. Reagan and Bush in 1980. Both sides now recognize that and say this is the debate they really want to have.
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 DigitalJournal.com