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Why I’m Thrilled Romney Picked Paul Ryan

The ideological division between the 2012 Presidential candidates just got wider and more defined. For those of us who vote blue, we couldn’t be happier.

Shortly after news broke that Mitt Romney had selected Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate, my friend, Matt Davies—the very smart and witty Pulitzer-prize winning editorial cartoonist—made a great comment: 

“So the presidential candidate chose a massive lightning rod of a VP to toss red meat to right wing ideologues and shore up the base. But enough about 2008.” 

Do Democrats see this as a repeat of Sen. John McCain’s polarizing pick of Sarah Palin? Many do, and with good reason: Ryan may be a liability in the eyes of some very key undecided voters. His selection is surely going to be seen as Romney’s attempt to appeal to those in his party who skew far right.

And look how that turned out for the GOP four years ago.  

On the surface, it takes some bite out of one of the complaints the GOP has had about President Obama—that he’s never had ‘real world experience’ in the private sector. Neither has Ryan—he’s a career politician himself. Ryan has no foreign policy experience, unless you count being able to ‘see’ Canada from Wisconsin. But those would be the surface potshots.

In more substantial terms, Romney’s choice will definitely have a ripple effect in ways that will make the Dems happy. It immediately shines a spotlight on some of the right’s biggest vulnerabilities. First and foremost, Ryan’s wide-reaching budget plan that jolted even members of his own party when it was introduced.

It’s been widely quoted that, according to a report in the Atlantic, Romney’s tax rate in 2010 would have only been a mere 0.82 percent. No wonder Mitt likes him. But the issue of releasing tax returns is going to keep following the GOP’s presumptive nominee for POTUS, and the proposed Ryan plan is going to draw even more attention to the issue of how fairly the public is taxed—or not. It strengthens the appearance that Romney and his party stand for cutting taxes for the rich, to the detriment of everyone else.

Swing voters are amongst those who will listen most closely now that Romney has chosen Ryan. Polls show that independents, seniors and women haven’t been fans of the Ryan plan, and it will hurt the GOP not only in the presidential race but across the ballots as well for pivotal Congressional and Senate seats. But even more alarming for the GOP? Ryan’s efforts against Medicare may even put Florida securely in the blue, and be a major strike against the Republican ticket for seniors in general.

Some readers might dismiss that opinion coming from a Democrat, but what if the same thought came from AARP, the non-profit group representing seniors and retirees. AARP’s 2011 report on the Ryan plan was titled, “Medicare in the Crosshairs.” Here’s one point they made out of many:

“An analysis of the Ryan plan by the politically neutral Congressional Budget Office estimates that by 2030, typical 65-year-olds would pay 68 percent of the cost of their coverage out of pocket, compared with the 25 percent share they pay now. In dollar terms, the average 65-year-old’s costs would be more than double from about $6,000 a year under current law to $12,500 by 2022, and would be higher for older people.”

But let’s talk about how choosing Ryan will energize the Democrats.

His budget plan’s cuts pointedly targeted social programs and dug deep and harsh against voters who are most needy, programs the GOP prefers to call entitlement handouts. Coupled with the party’s proposed tax cuts for the rich, the ‘R&R’ team is going to be seen as having an approach that moves too far, too fast, and as willing to leave the needy even more vulnerable.

Now here’s a biggie: Ryan is widely viewed as someone who has aggressively taken on women’s rights and health issues, someone you might even call a ‘General’ in the ‘War on Women.’ Women and younger voters who were undecided will certainly tune in to the fact that Ryan has had women’s rights on his target list from day one.

He is against a woman’s right to choose, and has long been committed to ban abortion, even in cases of incest and rape. He co-sponsored the ‘personhood’ bill that defines life as beginning at conception. He has pushed for defunding Planned Parenthood, which would eliminate health care options for millions of needy women; and he’s decidedly pro-life, according to an interview he gave John McCormack of the Weekly Standard in 2010:

“’I’m as pro-life as a person gets,’ Ryan told me in July. ‘You’re not going to have a truce. Judges are going to come up. issues come up, they’re unavoidable, and I’m never going to not vote pro-life.’”

As for other social issues of importance to democrats, Ryan is also considered unfavorable toward environmental concerns, putting big business needs above all else, and denying global warming science.

That, coupled with his vote against the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and wanting to amend the Constitution to ban gay marriage, Paul Ryan is decidedly someone who will get Dems out to the polls in November.

Coming from a libertarian-leaning Republican who wants to keep government out of people’s lives—except women people, it seems; oh and gay soldier people; and breathe fresh air people—Ryan is as invasive as it gets.

Romney’s choice is a strong statement, meant to energize and shore up the GOP’s base. But it also shows the weaknesses in his party’s presumed ticket. As the weight of the Romney-Ryan combo makes more cracks in its own foundation, his VP choice may have served to show just how weak Romney really looks.

Patricia Grace-Farfaglia August 14, 2012 at 01:44 PM
At least Congressman Ryan tells us what he believes and is a practicing Catholic. The Supreme Court has upheld abortion rights. But now we have the problem of abortion for gender selection. More boy babies historically is bad for society and leads to wars and gang behavior. President Obama and the Congress is moving us toward a government healthcare system. It will be a mediocre system with longer wait time for appointments. Doctors are already retiring earlier to avoid lower pay and longer hours. The rich will not be affected because they will pay out of pocket and are generally thinner and get more exercise. America is getting fatter and healthcare costs will have to be rationed with all of the chronic disease. Medicare will be unsustainable in 2016. It will be folded into the government healthcare system. There is no perfect choice in this election, but an indebted America may get to the point where we have very few freedoms. The Chinese will own us.
Rosemary C. August 14, 2012 at 07:34 PM
Where do you come up with this gibberish? Gender selection? Chinese will own us? Come now. What newspapers are you reading? What news are you watching? I think I know the answer to that question. It wasn't that long ago that the right were claiming if we allowed gay marriage in CT it will be the end of the world as we know it. Hasn't made a bit of differance.
Ruth Morley August 14, 2012 at 08:16 PM
Having lived with an incredibly effective medical system in France the program being offered under the new medical system here seems very limited. However it is clearly a step in the right direction. I suggest that the writer talk to people who have actually lived with such systems. Doctors who are in it for the money only may drop out or go into private practice but most have and will work with the system. By the way in France if you have a chronic disease such as cancer you receive prompt and efficient service at zero cost. Other services do have some fees and oh, of course you pay for all this as part of your taxes when you are working.
Patricia Grace-Farfaglia August 14, 2012 at 08:56 PM
Rosemary, I do not get all my information from TV news. I teach a course on culture at UCONN. Although it is illegal in China and India to abort an fetus solely because of sex, but the preference for boys is ingrained in the culture. I spoke with a gynecologist in Connecticut who expressed her concerns that new immigrants in her practice were requesting ultrasounds to determine if they would continue the pregnancy. If the woman was carrying a girl, then they would request an abortion. The world wide sex ratio at birth is 107 boys to 100 girls. But in China it is 120 boys for each 100 girls, a steady rise from the world average since the one child rule was put into place. This has led to a rise in bride kidnapping and urban parents paying rural women to have a baby girl with the hope of an arranged marriage. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5953508/ns/world_news/t/china-grapples-legacy-its-missing-girls/#.UCq6kqBurTo
Ken Harper August 14, 2012 at 09:02 PM
I'd make two observations: one, the recent (and ongoing) financial crisis and subsequent high unemployment had very little to do with deficits or the national debt yet the solutions being offered seem to focus on those two issues and, two, the rest of the industrialized nations in the world receive health care at a lower cost and with better outcomes so it would seem fairly obvious that ours is not the best system (unless we're thrilled with spending more and dying earlier).
Patricia Grace-Farfaglia August 14, 2012 at 09:28 PM
My cousin's husband has pancreatic cancer and was told in Canada to wait 2 months for an MRI to determine the best treatment. There are 26.5 MRI's in the US for every 1 million people, compared to 6.2 in Canada. He traveled to a US medical center for diagnosis and received treatment guidelines, and then returned to Canada for treatment. Canada's economy is not suffering a recession. Middle class Canadians think nothing of "jumping the line" and going to the US when they have to wait for treatment in Canada. Where will we go when there is not enough doctors to offer immediate treatment? It's the primary care doctors who are leaving the profession. They are not making money on treating Medicare patients. It is not greed but the reality of not being able to afford the overhead when reimbursement has been reduced 21% since the regulations went into effect April 1 .
Tom Bittman August 14, 2012 at 09:38 PM
The recent and ongoing financial crisis has everything to do with our national debt. Defense, social security, Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP cost us just a little more than 100% of our tax revenues in 2011 - but they only account for 61% of our spending. More than 10% of federal tax revenues pay interest on our debt. In an economic crisis, the federal government could help provide stimulus for the economy - by borrowing and spending more, temporarily. But when you are already spending 40% more than you earn (please read that again to get the full effect of our completely ludicrous federal government), and when you are already weighted down by $10 trillion in debt, the federal government has no flexibility to help the private sector jump start our economy.
Big Family August 14, 2012 at 09:40 PM
"Zero cost" LOL! Try 75% of your income, thats what the French government wants.
Big Family August 14, 2012 at 09:46 PM
Then why do people with the money come here for medical care?
Ruth Morley August 15, 2012 at 01:49 PM
In response to Big Family ..the new French government has Propsed that the wealthy should pay 75 percent tax on income ABOVE 1 million euros. People come to the US for medical treatment because they have a lot of money to burn ...I assume. In response to Patricia ..my husband went to the doctor and within one week was diagnosed with colon cancer and treatment started. This was in France. We know of two people in CT who had to wait six weeks after diagnosis for treatment to start ... And they had insurance. The US claimed to have the best breast cancer recovery rates but withdrew the claim when Canada demonstrated that France and then Canada had better recovery rates than the US. I agree with Tom's comment that we pay more and get less.
Patricia Grace-Farfaglia August 15, 2012 at 02:25 PM
France has an excellent healthcare system, but it is not a single payor system. More than 92% of French residents have complementary private insurance. This insurance pays for additional fees in order to access higher quality providers. It is a fairly homogeneous population with a government safety net, but the new immigrants, usually poorer and less education, have less access to care. It is a two-tier system. The legal system is less likely to bring a lawsuit against a physician than in the United States. The austerity measures put into place due to the downturn of the economy in Europe is expected to put strains on the health system with resulting increase in wait times and rationing. Out-of-pocket costs for healthcare in France averages 6.7% and in the United States, 12.8%. This data is from a Kaiser Foundation study http://www.kff.org/insurance/upload/7852.pdf. I think we could do better in the US to control costs and improve access to care. When I read the healthcare act, over 2,300 pages long, there was a lack of dealing with two important issues - tort reform and increasing the supply of physicians. Until we reform those issues, it is going to be a bumpy ride.
NewtownMark August 15, 2012 at 02:37 PM
Me thinks you will be blue in November
Ruth Morley August 15, 2012 at 06:46 PM
You are correct in stating that most French families have add on insurance. Typically this covers a private room (normally you share with another patient, eye care, dental care and a few other bits). We did not have an add-on but had excellent coverage. If your doctor is at the local clinique (technically private) you go there and in my husbands case that is where he was for his cancer treatment. We would take out an add-on if we go back but it is certainly not essential. The fact that typically lawsuits are not taken out only improves the care - doctors are not encumbered with huge liability insurance and consequently do not have to up their fees to cover it. The whole culture is different. yes they are suffering as we are due to the increase in the cost of care - longevity and the like and undoubtedly care may slip a bit but it will have to go down a lot before they loose their high standing in the quality of care statistics.

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