Now that we have seen Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan make their first official campaign appearances, it’s time to evaluate the message they are trying to send to potential voters.
The selection of Ryan itself has been covered ad nauseam across the internet as has the career of the Wisconsin congressman. It’s quite clear that with the Republican Party coalescing (as tepidly as possible, but still coalescing nonetheless) around the former CEO of Bain Capital as well as the fervent fandom that surrounded the pick of the poster boy for the anti-welfare zealots, what the message for 2012 will be.
Greed Is Good. Trickle-Down Economics. War on Poor.
Now, we may not hear any of those phrases by the Romney-Ryan campaign but as always, actions speak louder than words or in Ryan’s case, proposed actions speak louder than sound bites.
We must clear up some common misconceptions before going forward however. The Path to Prosperity does not affect current seniors; so we probably shouldn’t assume that Florida is being conceded to the Obama-Biden ticket. The people who would be most affected with the “voucher Medicare system” are more far-reaching. The proposed voucher system in the Ryan plan would simply affect anyone under the age of 55 who would receive Social Security benefits. So if you are 54? Tough luck, because….of capitalism?
As Paul Ryan hurriedly tries to define himself before the Obama re-election team does; he is trying to explain how his budget is a good thing and is getting help from Mitt Romney. In case you missed it, the Romney team released a mostly false ad accusing President Obama of eliminating work requirements for welfare benefits. This was an obvious prelude to the Ryan selection and now that we have the benefit of hindsight; it’s quite clear what message the Republican Party is pushing as we near the homestretch before the election.
But why is the Romney-Ryan campaign focusing on welfare as opposed to job creation or national security or any of the other issues facing this nation? It’s really easy, it’s appealing to the fears of not racism, sexism or ageism but agony.
Yes, agony. People are scared right now, and they think that they are working too hard for too little play. Instead of advocating for higher wages or better work conditions, however, the Romney campaign is painting President Obama as someone who is giving people “free rides” so to speak. So if you are a hard-working, everyday person the fact that people are “welfare queens” would be an insult to you…even though, the myth of the welfare queen is one drenched in racist overtures and falsehoods. Yet we still hear it pushed by not just the far-right anymore, but the mainstream right.
Now all this is doing is throwing red meat to a pack of lions, the conservative movement has always been of the belief that government is bad and the individual is nothing but good. How many times have you heard someone like Paul Ryan lament “government overreach” and the infringement of people’s rights?
But what has the Obama administration really done to infiltrate your lives? They haven’t raised the minimum wage, they haven’t raised taxes on the rich (as of this writing) nor have they forced “We, The People” into military conscription or anything similar to that. Heck, the only government interference that the Obama team has signed into law is the Affordable Care Act which still has largely not been enacted as of yet.
The fears remain though that President Obama is one that will punish hard workers because of what, exactly? One minute he’s a socialist that wants to rob the rich blind to give to the poor, and the next he’s a middle class destroyer who takes money from the everyday man to give to the poor. Make up your mind, please.
Yet the people that are going to likely fight for Paul Ryan in 2012 (and probably in 2016) are the ones who might be affected most by his proposed budget. The Path To
Austerity Prosperity would yes, cut taxes on the rich, but also cut important social benefits like student loans for example. Why?
Well the theory is if the rich are richer, they’ll be more likely to hire people? But hey, Mitt Romney is a rich guy to and that didn’t stop him from admitting that he loved to fire people, right?
But yes, Greed is Good and Paul Ryan is playing the role of Gordon Gekko. Do not let his folksy Midwestern small-talk and Mad Men era good looks fool you; he is a mad man. The source of his anger, however, is channeled into fear-mongering the middle class into believing that President Obama will steal “Joe 6 Pack”‘s weekly paycheck to funnel the “welfare queens”.
As much as I hate using the word “referendum” when discussing elections, but it is a fact in this regard. The Romney campaign is hedging its best for electoral success on a mission to turn the middle class on the poorest people in the country. Is it a clever ruse to protect his wealth or is it a thesis that will otherwise prove to be correct?