Mitt Romney has selected Rep. Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate. Conservatives are hoping against hope that this selection will relaunch Romney’s campaign by providing the necessary policy focus that has been lacking up to this point.
Romney’s choice of Ryan was not as much of a bold move forward as it was a bad selection from a pool of bad options.
What ‘bright mind’?
Conservatives looked at Bobby Jindal, Tim Pawlenty, Chris Christie, Condi Rice and others as potential running mates for Romney.
Before Louisiana Governor Piyush “Bobby” Jindal started palling around with Romney he endorsed Texas Governor Rick Perry. Jindal is hailed as one of the “brightest minds in the Republican Party.” Can anyone honestly believe that ultra-conservative WASPs in the Republican Party would vote for a VP nominee named Piyush? That is almost as bad as a president whose middle name is Hussein.
Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty would have had trouble overcoming his primary challenges to Romney’s health care initiatives. According to Pawlenty, “President Obama said that he designed Obamacare after Romneycare and basically made it Obamneycare…”
New Jersey Governor Christie understood that he was not ready. Former Secretary of State Rice’s perspective’s on affirmative action and abortion make her too liberal and I don’t see the GOP backing an African-American woman.
Usually during the primary process, a candidate will tack towards the extreme end of the political spectrum to capture their party’s nomination and jib back towards the center to capture the more moderate faction of the electorate in the general election. Romney tacked to the furthest extremes of ultra-conservative ideology by changing his positions on issues such as immigration, health care reform, and contraception. With Ryan’s selection, Romney has compounded his tack towards the right in an effort to convince ultra-conservatives that he’s really in their camp.
‘Starve the beast’
Ryan’s budget, his so-called “Path to Prosperity,” is actually the latest version of Reagan Administration Budget Director David Stockman’s “starve the beast” fiscal philosophy, a fiscal-political strategy to cut taxes in order to deprive the government of revenue in a deliberate effort to create a fiscal budget crisis.
Creating the crisis then allows conservatives to make the case for cutting the social programs –“the beast” they have opposed since their inception. They force the federal government to reduce spending by cutting programs rather than raising tax levels.
Ryan’s proposed cuts to social programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, and housing assistance while maintaining the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy is a 2012 version of a failed 1980s idea. The “trickle down” economics of the Reagan era as applied during the Bush 43 era – what George H.W. Bush called “voodoo economics” – has contributed to the sinking fiscal boat America finds itself in today.
Part of the solution is to simply go back to the tax rates of the Clinton era. Congressman Bobby Scott’s idea of allowing the Bush-era tax cuts and the 2 percent payroll tax holiday to expire is a very simple way to revenues back on track. This would yield approximately $4 trillion to $5 trillion. The additional revenue could be immediately put towards direct job creation, such as investments in transportation and infrastructure.
Conservatives hope that adding Ryan will provide the policy focus that the campaign has sorely lacked. It’s bad policy with the wrong focus. Ryan’s hope would prove to be America’s nightmare.
Contact Wilmer Leon via www.wilmerleon.com.