Romney/Ryan and Ruminations on the Right
Well, I’ve got to say I liked the 2012 Presidential Election a lot more when it was just some nebulous idea, a distant specter. Those were the good times, when Rick Perry, stoned on painkillers, couldn’t remember what departments he wanted to eliminate, when Herman Cain quoted the Pokemon movie, and when Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum were legitimate contenders. Remember the fun we used to have? The Republicans were a freak show and their milquetoast contender, Mitt Romney, seemed firmly unable to get just about anyone to support him. This thing was in the bag for Obama, weak economy and racist bigots be damned.
What hubris! This is America, where facts don’t really matter, money trumps everything, and people are more than willing to be seduced by talk of exceptionalism, by false promises and logical fallacies shrouded in ethereal platitudes.
And now the election’s less than 3 months away and I’m scared. Nervous about voter ID laws, nervous about the untold millions waiting to smear Obama, and nervous about an American public that just doesn’t seem to get it.
Of course, the big news is that Romney chose Paul Ryan as his Vice-Presidential nominee. It’s an interesting choice, and one I don’t think will turn out too well for Romney. Ryan is best known nationally for the eponymous “Ryan Budget.” The Ryan budget is an abomination. It’s the culmination of 80 years of Republican policies. It’s the total repeal of the New Deal, and it’s a plan that would thrust us back into the Gilded Age.
Of course, that by itself is not a deal breaker for Americans. They are happy to be swept up by talk of opportunity and social mobility that flies in the face of economic reality. What’s different about the Ryan budget is the starkness with which it makes its plans known. Gone are vague promises about reigning back entitlements and in its place are hard numbers which make it clear that Medicare and Social Security will be ended as we know them. The rich will get massive tax cuts, and just about the only governmental spending will be for Defense. This isn’t a new plan; it’s the same Ronald Reagan, George W Bush playbook that tripled and doubled the national debt respectively. But at least those charlatans made us feel good about it with optimistic language; there were no harsh realities in their universe.
The Republicans have invented the notion that the ballooning national debt is a crisis that needs to be dealt with immediately, and their plan isn’t even a viable way to address this supposed crisis.
Ryan will end the Earned Income Tax Credit, so poor people’s rates will go up, while people like Mitt Romney will pay an effective rate of less than 1%, as capital gains and other taxes are eliminated. Republicans don’t hate taxes, just poor people. The Orwellian hypocrisy of the modern Republican party would make for funny satire, except it’s really what they believe.
Paul Ryan’s ideas are popular when offered as abstract ideas, but when the actual cutting begins, Americans are fairly uniformly against them. They like their entitlements, just not the idea that someone else is living fat off the government hog. Paul Ryan’s selection might just start to awaken people about what they are really getting if they elect Romney. The selection has given the Obama campaign a concrete plan to run against, and an unpopular one at that.
In classic Romney fashion, he backtracked on the day of the announcement and reminded reporters that he has different budget plans than Paul Ryan, though he won’t say where he differs. What the fuck is wrong with this guy? Similarly, the Romney campaign was apoplectic when his press secretary said something laudatory about Romneycare, something he’s been proud of in the past, before providing people with healthcare became an original sin in the eyes of the GOP. Can’t Romney show backbone about anything for once in his life? For a spoiled, rich bully who’s been handed every advantage in life, he sure is a pussy. Of course, that trait is common in bullies, but it’s normally buried beneath layers of false bravado.
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