Well, it’s happened: Mitt Romney has chosen his running mate and now we can get down to the nitty gritty of campaign back and forth. The VP pick is Paul Ryan, author of the infamous budget House Republicans have tried to pass twice, and general creep. For some reason media outlets keep playing him up as a charming fellow, but there’s nothing charming about a guy who, at an invitation-only “town hall meeting” made jokes about a 71-year-old man being forced to the ground by police for the outrageous crime of speaking his mind.
I suspect that, as is the case with Romney, the more voters get to know Ryan the less they’re going to like him. A poll taken right after his selection indicated that most voters don’t even know who Ryan is. This is unfortunate, as this means the electorate hasn’t been paying attention at all to the wild-eyed right-wing agenda being pushed in the House since 2010. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but the general ignorance of voters never fails to shock me.
There’s some sign that people are starting to take notice of what a jerk Mitt Romney is. His favorable/unfavorable ratings are trending the wrong way for him and in recent polls Obama has begun to pull away. For a while there it seemed like we’d be in a statistical dead heat until November, but things are not developing in Romney’s favor.
I’m sure Romney hopes that by picking such a right-wing ideologue as his running mate, Republicans will get excited and want to vote, but I think he’s miscalculated. Republicans were already excited and ready to vote simply because they want the evil, black secret Muslim communist out of office. Yes, they’re going to be over the moon with poster boy Ryan bolstering the ticket, but there’s not a single undecided or independent voter who’s going to say, “You know what? I wasn’t going to vote for Romney before, but now that he’s got that guy who wants to end Medicare on the ticket, I’m going to go for it.” If anything, they’ll be turned away.
The race isn’t over. Obama is going to have to stay on the offensive all the way through election day, educating voters about exactly what Romney and Ryan stand for. The right-wing noise machine has been squawking about Obama’s negativity in this cycle, but the truth is that Obama can’t afford to play nicey-nice when he’s being painted as one step removed from the Antichrist by the opposition. It’s pretty clear by this point that any good Obama has done makes negligible impact on voting trends, so his only hope is if voters begin to understand what a disaster-in-waiting the Romney/Ryan ticket represents. It’s a sad commentary on the state of our politics, to be sure.
I will give Romney credit for one thing. I’ve gone on record here on the blog as being less than enchanted by Obama‘s track record as president. I wanted the second coming of FDR and instead I got a centrist. It’s probably true that only a centrist can govern now, but it was still a disappointment. However, the emergence of Romney (and now the addition of Ryan) has made me all the more determined to vote and advocate for the President. It took guys like these to shake me up and remind me that whatever faults Obama may have, he’s miles better than his competition. I’ll take a president who has some negatives over a president who’s all negatives.
As always, I urge you not to take my word for any of this. Go to some unbiased sources and read about the Romney/Ryan plan for America and see for yourself what a disaster it would be. Remember that the people advocating for Romney are generally scared white voters who fear increasing marginalization in a multicultural America or, more significantly, the very rich. Those scared white voters are going to be steamrollered by the Romney/Ryan plan, but that won’t stop them from marching lockstep to their doom. The rich, on the other hand, are going to laugh all the way to the bank as they vacuum up even the smallest crumbs of American economic prosperity and leave nothing for the rest of us. Remember, too, that this latter turn of events isn’t a side effect of Romney’s policies, but the entire purpose of them. He’s a quarter-billionaire and he wants to govern for the sake of other wildly rich folks like himself, not you. Similarly, Paul Ryan’s made his money through a lifetime of government work and he aims to keep it all for himself and share none of it with anyone, no matter how desperate or needy they might be. Are these men the right prescription for America?
I make no bones about who I support in this election. Feel free to disagree. But before you fire off that outraged comment or declare a right-wing jihad on my books, understand that I support the candidates I do because they want everyone to have the same chance of success. I know about hard work, about suffering through economic hardship. I know that sometimes a hand up makes the difference between having a meaningful life or one filled with privation and despair. I’m not out to give freebies to layabouts. Rather I’m in the camp that says people who work hard should see some reward for their efforts, and those who succeed should give back some of their good fortune to create the next wave of prosperous Americans. I don’t see taxes as an evil, but as the price we pay to maintain the American dream. Barack Obama feels the same way. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan don’t. That’s pretty much all there is to say.