Strange things are done in the summer sun
by the “Pols” who grub for (more) gold,
but the strangest of all I ever did see
was that one hot day in August,
when they cremated Mitt Romney.
Apologies to Robert Service. Corny, yes, I know. And of course Romney was only metaphorically cremated. But the Tea Party base of the Republican Party, by apparently forcing Romney to choose Ryan, has virtually guaranteed he will lose the election in November. Romney could not have picked a more provocative, or, I think, a more useless choice. It is a remarkable choice, almost belligerent, sort of “Take that, Democrat dogs!”
It’s like throwing down a gauntlet, or waving a red flag in front of a bull as far as Democrats are concerned. They will eagerly tear Ryan apart and feed him in small pieces to the electorate at large. I cannot see how Ryan changes much of anything for Romney other than reinforcing the support of the Republican base that would have had to vote for Romney in any case.
So why has this happened? I confess I cannot fathom the Republican mind. Indeed, I sometimes believe they do not have minds but, like all “lesser” creatures, operate only on instinct. They seem to have only two instincts, lower taxes, less government. But I digress. One guess is simply that Romney has proven to be such a disaster as a candidate, but as it is too late now to replace him, the Party has done the next best thing, namely, chosen a Vice-Presidential candidate that will so upstage him as to become the ipso facto Presidential candidate, much like the Bush/Cheney situation. It could be, of course, that Romney picked him to shore up his credibility with the base that obviously doesn’t entirely trust him. If this is so, I think it was a mistake, because by shoring up the base he will probably lose some others, especially independents. It might also be seen more as a desperation move to change the subject from Romney’s taxes, a matter that will continue to haunt him probably forever unless he does actually reveal them.
I cannot see how Ryan adds anything much to the ticket. By being against Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, he can’t expect to attract many elderly votes, Blacks and Latinos are not going to change their minds for Ryan, nor will Jews, Muslims, and especially not younger people. Ryan is also part of the “war on women” so can’t change much of anything there. And, of course, by wanting to lower taxes on the obscenely wealthy while raising them on the middle and working classes, he changes nothing from the Romney position. He is also no more informed on foreign policy than is Romney, a serious shortcoming. All in all, I think it was a truly strange choice. Ryan will have to try to sell his famous Ryan budget, already about as popular as death adders, to an already pretty much opinionated electorate. To say this will be a “hard sell” is, I think, putting it mildly. It is true that Ryan is young and enthusiastic, and will no doubt bring more excitement to an extremely lackluster and bumbling campaign, but his ideas are diametrically opposed to what most voters believe in: Social Security, Medicare, fairness, and etc. Ryan may turn out to be another Palin only without the appalling ignorance and fishmonger voice.
At least they will have shifted the focus from Romney’s taxes, a problem that probably will never be solved, but in the process they will have also shifted the focus from Romney himself. All eyes will now be on Ryan and the Ryan budget that Romney so cavalierly endorsed repeatedly. Up until now Ryan has been successful in the world of think tanks and theory, it will be interesting to see how he fares in the political world. They are touting him as the brilliant, young, intellectual leader of the Republican Party, but we know what the voting public does to intellectuals in America, think Adlai Stevenson, Newt Gingrich and Eugene McCarthy, for example. An electorate that seems to favor Truman, Nixon, Reagan, and George W. Bush isn’t much interested in intellectuals, they favor someone they could have a beer with. Intellectuals are known to be “pointy-headed.”
Democracy means that anyone can grow up to be president, and anyone who doesn't grow up can be vice president.