In the lead up to the Republican convention, Romney kept on shooting himself in the foot. His gaffes overseas, his unwillingness to disclose his tax returns, and his inability to get anyone excited have all led to his campaign team to go into desperation mode. So for his biggest announcement before the election: Paul Ryan will stick his name to the GOP ticket as Romney’s Vice Presidential running mate. Instead of shooting himself in the foot, Romney has blown off his entire leg.
What did poor people ever do to you?
Paul Ryan is a certifiable Tea Party darling, and one of the most conservative Republicans since Dick Santorum. He is the head of the House Budget Committee, and made a name for himself by proposing an entirely impossible and right-wing budget to solve the deficit. In his plan, he called for the hacking up of social assistance programs and the elimination of Medicare, which provides medical coverage for seniors. Supporters called it refreshing, everyone else brushed it off as fascist hock.
Ryan was heavily criticized for his harshness when dealing with the less fortunate. But his response was that America was a land of equal opportunity, not equal outcomes. In that case, Romney should give back all the money his dad gave him and start over like everyone else. America is not a land of equal opportunity, it never will be. This huge hypocrisy aside, Ryan’s budget deals with one abstract problem: the deficit, by exacerbating real physical problems such as poor people eating and seeing a doctor. Ryans budget shows that he is an out-of-touch, right-wing extremist whose vision of America conveniently blocks out parts of the country that need some sort of assistance. This will be the end for Romney in 2012.
The Romney campaign is growing desperate. Romney’s trip abroad revealed that not only does he lack knowledge of world issues, he doesn’t have the tact or curiosity to deal with them diplomatically. President Obama is just too strong on foreign policy: ending two terrible wars, killing bin Laden, successful campaign in Lybia, a new nuclear arms treaty with Russia, etc. The Republicans seem to have given up trying to challenge him, since no one in their ranks can measure up, unless you count Sarah Palin being able to see Russia from her house in Alaska.
Evidently, the Romney campaign wanted to give voters a ticket that focuses on the economy. But nothing that Ryan has done has helped the economy. His obsession with deficit and debt reduction has only served to distract the national discourse away from finding ways to grow our economy. His budget proposal would leave the economy in shambles, effectively cutting off domestic spending from those less fortunate and the elderly who would have to spend all of their money on medicine. Instead of picking someone who might be able to help Romney rebuild the economy, they picked the one guy who has no respect for it.
The last reason that Romney went with Ryan was to gain a better connection to the tea sippers. Ryan is, according to some in the Catholic Church, an Ayn Rand wannabe. That makes him liked by those who hate everyone else. But what Romney failed to realize is that the Tea Party will never, ever, ever vote for Obama, for a bunch of semi-legitimate, but mostly illegitimate reasons. They were all going to vote for Romney anyway, they just weren’t excited about it. Instead of picking a candidate who would appeal to the center — someone who might pry votes away from Obama — Romney went all the way to the far right, which is a move that will definitely limit his appeal among independents.
The decision to pick up Ryan will be the reason that Romney loses Florida, and subsequently, the election. No matter how socially conservative old people in Florida are, they will not support a ticket that includes a man who outwardly wants to abolish Medicare. That means huge burdens on those who are already strained. They may not like gay people kissing in the streets, but paying hundreds or thousands of more dollars per month is definitely worse. The election seemed close, but now it’s Obama’s game to lose.