Saturday, August 11, 2012

Romney Cuts His Losses

By choosing white male Christian Reaganite Paul Ryan as his running mate, Mitt Romney is attempting to secure the votes of at least the Republican base, the 35 percent of the population who vehemently hate and fear Barak Obama and only support Romney because he's a Republican and is running against Obama.

US Rep. Paul Ryan, R-WI
Republicans face a possible landslide defeat in the presidential election and the loss of the House of Representatives. Democrats already control the US Senate. Seeing President Obama cement a lead in the polls over the summer, and being given a nine percent lead in the latest nationwide Fox News poll, many Republicans had been urging Romney to chose Ryan. Although they didn't want to say so, they saw the handwriting on the wall and in effect wanted Romney to cut his losses, and to avoid the 'go for broke" mistake John McCain made in choosing Sarah Palin. In a sign that his position is weakening within the party and not just with voters, Romney conceded.

It's a pathetic statement of the facts as they are for the Romney campaign. Obama has consistently out-polled Romney by comfortable margins in many of the so called battleground states, where campaigning has been intense and voters know the candidates. As voters nationwide have begun paying attention to the candidates, Obama has extended his lead nationwide. Romney, knowing that voters are in no mood to elect a president who campaigned on the kind of principals Ryan represents, had recently begun to moderate some of his positions in an attempt to seek broader voter support. He and his campaign had begun to talk about the universal health care program Romney implemented as Massachusetts governor. Now he has cast his lot with those who believe that if you happened to be privileged it's because you deserve it, and if you're not, too damn bad. The I've got mine to hell with you philosophy of life.

Obama and his campaign staff must be smiling and rubbing their hands together with glee. They had already been trying to tie Romney to Ryan and to the draconian federal budget proposal that Ryan, as chair do the House budget committee, has put forth, which will end Medicare and gives huge, deficit ballooning tax breaks to the rich.

I'm reminded of the 1992 election when George Bush Sr, having been beaten about the head and shoulders during the campaign by young whiz kids Bill Clinton and Al Gore, was falling further and further behind in polls and made his last campaign swing before the election through the US South in an attempt to hang onto the Republican base and avoid a humiliating defeat, an attempt to cut his losses.

Like Bush Sr, Romney grew up in the relatively more liberal US Northeast. Like Bush Sr, Romney has adopted ultra conservative positions only to gain the support of the Republican base. Bush Sr was never seen as being comfortable with his party's base, but pandered to them for personal gain. Now it's Romney who's whistling Dixie.

(Note: Paul Begala here lists the main specifics of the Ryan budget, which cuts taxes for the rich, increases them for the rest of us, and would, indeed, destroy Medicare and leave seniors who depend on it screwed. Also, Ryan is the most conservative member of congress ever selected to be the vice presidential nominee according to this interesting chart which compares VP nominees going back to 1900.)

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