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Archive for Sunday, August 12, 2012

Analysis: Romney’s pick of Rep. Paul Ryan sets clear November choice

August 12, 2012

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— Mitt Romney’s pick of Rep. Paul Ryan for the Republican presidential ticket brings clarity to the stark election-year choice for voters — the competing Democratic and GOP visions about the size and role of the federal government in Americans’ lives.

Ryan is synonymous with his revolutionary budget that slashes spending for safety-net programs for the poor, remakes Medicare and cuts personal and corporate taxes while pushing the deficit down to a manageable level. It turns the tea party dream of a scaled-back, less involved government into hard-core reality.

“America is more than just a place ... it’s an idea. It’s the only country founded on an idea,” Ryan said Saturday in Virginia as Romney introduced his vice presidential choice. “Our rights come from nature and God, not government. We promise equal opportunity, not equal outcomes.”

With Romney’s embrace of Ryan, it is now the Romney-Ryan budget and blueprint for the future.

President Barack Obama, who repeatedly talks up the November election as a profound choice for the country, has rejected the Ryan approach as “thinly veiled social Darwinism.” The Democrat and former community organizer sees government as a place with enough resources to help the less fortunate.

The Ryan budget, Obama said in April, “is antithetical to our entire history as a land of opportunity and upward mobility for everybody who’s willing to work for it; a place where prosperity doesn’t trickle down from the top but grows outward from the heart of the middle class.”

Roughly three months before the election, Romney’s choice clearly defines the fault lines and establishes the narrative for the election, one that Republicans and Democrats, liberals and tea partyers will echo in congressional and gubernatorial races. The outcome in November will have far-reaching implications for looming fiscal crises in the year’s final days.

On the grass-roots level, the selection of the 42-year-old Ryan, one of the House’s intellectual conservatives and Budget Committee chairman, energizes a GOP base wary of the Massachusetts governor and architect of the state’s health insurance program dubbed Romneycare.

Conservatives, from The Wall Street Journal editorial page to the rank and file, had been clamoring in recent days for Ryan. The timing of the announcement came as polls showed Obama with a narrow advantage and the number of undecided voters diminishing, underscoring the need for Romney to act fast.

“It’s absolutely fantastic,” Sal Russo, a longtime Republican operative and founder of the Tea Party Express, a well-funded wing of the populist movement, said in an interview. “He’s willing to go out there and tackle tough issues. The American people want somebody to make the tough choices.”

Russo said his organization had polled its 17,000 members, and Ryan and freshman Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida were the favorites for the No. 2 spot on the GOP ticket.

Democrats pounce

The conservative reward of Ryan also carries a significant political risk — and Democrats wasted no time in making it a top talking point.

The Ryan budget would scrap the current Medicare system that the nation’s seniors have enjoyed for decades in favor of a voucher program for those under 55 today. Starting in 10 years, the plan also calls for gradually raising the Medicare retirement age from 65 to 67.

Democrats immediately sounded the alarm about the implications of changing the popular entitlement program, a warning certain to resonate in battleground states such as Florida, Iowa and Pennsylvania — states with the heaviest concentration of those 65 and over.

“In selecting Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney has crystalized the contrast of this election,” said Rod Smith, chairman of the Florida Democratic Party. “Ryan is the architect of Romney’s extreme budget plan, which would end Medicare as we know it, increasing the healthcare costs for Florida’s seniors by thousands every year.”

The state’s Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, who faces a stiff challenge in his bid for another term, quickly posted on Facebook.

“Romney VP pick bad for seniors. Signals an end to Medicare as we know it. My commitment to Medicare never stronger,” Nelson said.

Democrats are certain to replay past Republican criticism of the Ryan budget.

Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker and one-time Republican presidential candidate, referred to Ryan’s plan to overhaul Medicare as “right-wing social engineering.” He later apologized.

Florida Rep. Connie Mack, who hopes to win the Republican Senate nomination Tuesday, said in April of the Ryan budget: “You know that budget was a joke, doesn’t balance the budget for years.” An aide later clarified that Mack was referring to the voting process in which Republican-passed legislation in the House goes nowhere in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Mack’s deficit-cutting plan calls for cutting one penny from every federal dollar spent.

Republicans see Ryan, a Catholic from Wisconsin who could appeal to blue-collar voters, as an appealing complement to Romney, a Mormon and multimillionaire.

But Ryan has tangled with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and others in the church over his budget, which would cut Medicaid, food stamps, Pell Grants and a host of other programs that directly help the nation’s poor.

Ryan had said the budget is based on Catholic social teaching. But in a letter, the Rev. Thomas J. Reese called that nonsense.

“I am afraid that Chairman Ryan’s budget reflects the values of his favorite philosopher Ayn Rand rather than the gospel of Jesus Christ,” said Reese, a Jesuit priest and senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University. “Survival of the fittest may be OK for social Darwinists but not for followers of the gospel of compassion and love.”

Romney insisted on Saturday that Ryan is intent on creating opportunities for all Americans.

Comments

Richard Heckler 1 year, 8 months ago

Romney/Ryan claim to dislike government yet they spend their lives on government tax dollar payrolls.

That is evidence that big government is not the evil critter that they portray. Why are they lying to the nation?

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Richard Heckler 1 year, 8 months ago

Romney/Ryan will bring more Grover Norquist,Koch Familiy,Walton Family economics aka 1% economics and more big government into our lives.

My perception in a nutshell is USA Conservative which is Rt Wing Libertarian Neocon Fundamentalist Tea Party for Economic Terrorism

ThinkTotal Deregulation aka Laissez Faire Government. / Think Very Conservative Supreme Court. / Think One Party System - Facism. / Think Unfair Taxation. / Think Has no use for republicans or democrats. / Think More Big Government Control. / OBSERVE More Reckless Spending. / THINK New World Order/Global Economy = USA Jobs primary export. / DON"T FORGET Reaganomics is 1% Economics. / THINK Anti Choice. / ABSOLUTELY Anti Public Education. / THINK Revert back to old Med Insurance System which Screws the consumer worse. / CANNOT AFFORD Grover Norquist/Koch Family Economics. / MORE Home Loan Frauds. / MORE Banking Frauds. / THINK Anti American Job Market. / FEARS USA employment. / FEARS Educated Americans. /

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Paul R Getto 1 year, 8 months ago

A discussion of issues would be refreshing. We are not set up for this to happen. If everyone pays more and takes less and we balance revenue with needs, a 30-40 year plan could get us level again. It took that long to crap in our nest. Long term solutions are not the government's forte.

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voevoda 1 year, 8 months ago

If Paul Ryan really believed that individuals' rights come from "nature and God," and if he really favored smaller government, and if he really believed in equal opportunity, he wouldn't want the government to dictate in the most intimate matters of citizens' reproductive health.

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yourworstnightmare 1 year, 8 months ago

Ryan was a deeply polarizing pick. Romney is going all in with the tea partiers.

As author of a budget that privatizes Medicare, he will have some explaining to do.

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Getaroom 1 year, 8 months ago

Paul Ryan's speech yesterday was all tightly wrapped in the American Flag, Patriotism, God and Country and lest we forget, Ryan's personal favorite, Social Darwinism. He spoke as if no one had heard it all before and how he/they together would set the country on a new path. He made it sound so wonderful and so perfect that if you remained on the surface of it, we would all float right on up to GOD's Kingdom and don't forget the humble shall inherit the earth, the filthy rich get all the money and power and we are supposed to feel good about that - right? But he so obviously skipped over how he is going to continue to gut and strip out the middle class. Like Romney, he will privatize as much as he can get away with and never look back. More trickle down economics, passed on from Republican to Republican, in the fine old way that never worked and will never work for anyone but the filthy rich. What's wrong with money you ask? Nothing if it is made honestly and in plain view. Money made from Money and taken in obscene profits makes it filthy. Money taken from pockets before it ever reaches those pockets is filthy money. If you have signed onto their ideology(think Grover Norquist) these are like the Christian Crusades with the Robber Barons marching onward once again, in the name of God, devastating the environment, taking resources cart blanch and reaping profits. Those who do the work are expendable and their efforts are only and all about the profits of the company, not caring for the worker, although they will never tell you that and you should be happy for what you have. These guys are for maximizing corporate profits and in part doing so by forcing wages ever lower. Union busting is only one example of the systematic dismantling of society. Can you figure out why Corporate America is recording record high profits? Oh, come on, really?
Vote for Romney and Ryan and sign your life away for a long time to come - you will deserve it, the only problem, we all pay for your decisions. That is what "they" mean when "they" say, "we all must share in the burden", "they" just forgot to add only the middle and lower class who do all the work for less and less money all over the world. Poverty is Globalized you know.

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grammaddy 1 year, 8 months ago

Ryan is just Sarah Palin with a penis.

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Kate Rogge 1 year, 8 months ago

For a campaign that had to move towards the center to pick up independents and disaffected Democrats, Romney sure has made an interesting move. Ryan brings a lot of what Newt called 'right-wing social engineering' baggage to the ticket.

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