Mitt Romney's known for his gaffes and Freudian slips, but this is perhaps the biggest and most revealing by far. In short, here's a guy whose core support group could care less about aside from the vaunted (R) by his name picking a guy who's a bit more palatable to most of that core. Magic underwear meets soup kitchen and cat food sensibility. Anyone hoping he'd pad his campaign with a minority for vice-president were sorely mistaken. So no Sarah Palin and no Michelle Bachmann. I was personally hoping he'd really fall off the rocker and go with Allen West, as a sort of comedy option. It would have been hilarious.
Instead, we get Paul Ryan. Of the Ryan Plan.
This pick pretty much says everything Romney's "supporters" have been thinking to themselves ever since he won the nomination. "Did it really have to be you, Mitt?" If it wasn't for the other nominees undoing themselves spectacularly, Mittens probably would be working on a House or Senate seat right about now.
You go with the nominee you have, not the nominee you wish you had. Unless the nominee you have picks the nominee you wish you had as his running mate, the consolation prize being he's second-in-line to the presidency if Mittens falls off one of his wife's dressage horses on the White House lawn and breaks his back or something equally tragic.
I sincerely hope there isn't some sort of elaborate bait-and-switch plot brewing. Romney has yet to reveal the bulk of his tax information and if there's anything that could cripple his campaign. If things get too hot for him to handle on that front, he could always resign his nomination ahead of the 2012 Republican National Convention. I honestly don't know how that would work, but I can imagine the following happening:
- Mittens finally releases his tax info ahead of 2012 RNC.
- People discover serious improprieties in said tax info.
- Tax info and any other related info quickly becomes a massive scandal.
- Mittens "steps down" to "save" the GOP's electoral chances.
- Paul Ryan is somehow gifted the nomination, barring calls for a impromptu second primary.
- Tea Party-goers and GOP supporters finally get a presidential pick they actually like, causing the saga of the magic underwear-donning gaffe machine to fade into irrelevance.
GOP supporters love Ryan. He's a clean-cut, inoffensive white guy of the proper Christian faith with proper conservative bonafides and no track record of being a walking, talking gaffe machine. The Tea Party loves him, thanks to his supposed fiscal hardassery thanks to the Ryan Plan. If you haven't noticed what the plan actually entails, here's a quick synopsis that'll probably save you time reading the aforementioned Wiki link:
By selecting Ryan, Romney closely associates himself with the author of a controversial budget plan which would dramatically overhaul the federal government. Ryan, as head of the House Budget Committee, has called for big reductions in taxes for both wealthy individuals and corporations and turning Medicare into a program in which each senior citizen gets a voucher of several thousand dollars to purchase their own plan, instead of the current, government-operated program. He would make Medicaid a block grant program where each state could set its own rules.
Under Ryan, corporate taxes would be 25 percent instead of 35 percent, and the highest tax bracket for individuals would also be 25 percent instead of 35 percent. He would also cut trillions in government spending, likely reducing funds for education, health care and transportation at a much faster rate than Democrats have proposed in order to balance the federal budget.
And here's a walk-through of exactly how the Ryan plan will affect millions of Americans:
- The Ryan Plan shitcans Medicare as we currently know it in 2022 for everyone born after 1956. In other words, everyone under the age of 66 who hasn't already enrolled in Medicare at that point will receive vouchers. These vouchers will go towards purchasing a private health insurance plan of their choice. It's the illusion of choice that opponents of universal health care clamor for. After all, they don't want government "dictating" their health care - that's for the health insurance companies to do.
The vouchers feature a fixed amount indexed to the projected net federal spending per capita for the average 65-year-old in the old Medicare, specified to be somewhere around $8,000 for 2022. If your private health insurance plan is more than that amount, then you'll just have to supplement it with your own money.
- Age eligibility for Medicare increases by two months per year starting in 2022, until it reaches 67 in 2033. God help you if you can't afford or qualify for insurance until then, because the Ryan Plan also shitcans the Affordable Care Act.
- Medicaid goes from a state/federal funded program to a block grant program, where the federal government simply hands over a set amount (which will be much less than the current federal government funding) and lets the states do as they wish regarding their Medicaid programs. States like Alabama are guaranteed to be parsimonious with this eligibility, which means millions of low-income people will be without some form of insurance coverage.
- Federal discretionary spending takes a dive to 6 percent of the nation's GDP by 2021 and 3.75 percent by 2050, or less than one-third of today's current spending. Meanwhile, Ryan and Romney are pushing for increases in defense spending. There's plenty wrong with that picture.
- The Alternative Minimum Tax and taxation on foreign profits goes away and the corporate tax rate drops from 35 percent to 25 percent. Meanwhile, the tax burden on the poor is set to increase.
Personally, I don't understand why Republicans are falling over themselves over Paul Ryan. If anything, the GOP should be running away from him as fast as they can. The Ryan Plan is the GOP's very own Fukushima Daiichi in the making and all it needs is a tsunami to make Romney/Ryan radioactive to voters. It's only a matter of time before the GOP's thrown into panic mode when the sheer toxicity of the dynamic duo reaches campaign-threatening levels.
I'm sure it's easy for President Obama to dismiss these clowns, but even clowns like Ryan and Romney display cunning every once in a while.