Letter From The Editor

Romney's selection of Paul Ryan will not help him in the swing states.

| August 16, 2012
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Like most armchair pundits, I've been thinking about Mitt Romney's selection of Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate. It appears to do one thing well: mollify the GOP's conservative base. But I don't think it moves many votes from President Obama to Romney.

Position-wise, Ryan is as conservative as they come. He wants to change Medicare to a voucher-based program; he favors defunding NPR and Planned Parenthood; he opposes all abortion and favors a "personhood" amendment defining life as beginning at conception; he would privatize Social Security; and his "Ryan budget" would eliminate taxes on capital gains, giving the wealthiest Americans a huge tax break. Indeed, as The Washington Post has pointed out, Ryan's tax plan would have reduced Romney's tax rate to less than 1 percent, based on his released 2010 tax forms.

No wonder Mitt likes this guy. But I don't think "Reduce the 1 percent's taxes to 1 percent!" will play very well as a campaign slogan.

Romney has said that he thinks it should be a requirement that any presidential candidate be in the business world for at least three years, to better understand the "real world." By that measure, Ryan falls very short. Aside from his stint at McDonald's in high school, Ryan has spent his entire adult life on a government payroll, first as a political aide, then as a congressman.

If you look at the recent national polling, Obama is consistently ahead of Romney in the popular vote by five to seven points. Ryan may change that math somewhat by increasing the GOP margin in the red states. That won't help. Every Electoral College polling map I can find shows Obama with a more than 60-vote lead. To win, Romney will have to recapture the pivotal swing states that Obama won in 2008: Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Florida. He trails in all of them, some by wide margins. I don't think Ryan helps him in those states, and, by most reports, the news of Ryan's selection is not playing well with the huge senior vote in Florida.

Election Day is less than three months away. The conventions are a couple weeks out, followed by the debates, a zillion dollars worth of political ads, and untold twists and turns. History tells us that the vice presidential candidates are a sideshow, a diversion, capable of hurting the main candidate if they commit a gaffe, but not much else. I suspect it will be the same this time around. Game on.

Bruce VanWyngarden
brucev@memphisflyer.com

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Comments (37)

Showing 1-25 of 37

Ryan is not conservative, you just want us to think he is.

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Posted by MickeyWhite on 08/16/2012 at 6:38 AM

Mitt Romney is the Hollow Man. He's never met an issue he cannot get on all sides of. No one really knows what, if anything, he stands for. All everyone does know is, he has earned lots and lots of money by maximizing profit margins for corporations & that he considers those corporations to be people. They also know he intends to do anything possible to avoid paying a penny of tax on any of that money, including moving it out of the country. Paul Ryan is an Empty Suit. He is desperately trying to convince the country that he is America's Accountant, yet, his number crunching ability is hideous. He poses himself off as a "deficit hawk", yet his budget projections do not call for lowering the deficit for almost thirty years. These men are two peas in a pod. Both are frauds, and the only hope they have of winning is that they can disenfranchise enough Democratic voters in PA, Ohio, and Florida so that election results are questionable, thus, leaving it up to the Supreme Court to pick the President again.

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Posted by cd on 08/16/2012 at 11:05 AM

He's pro-business and anti-civil rights. How much more conservative does one need to be? Source: http://www.ontheissues.org/House/Paul_Ryan…

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Posted by Jim BoogerNose on 08/16/2012 at 6:14 PM

If you took time to read Ryan's Medicare Plan. You would see that no one is affected above the age of 55. For those that are younger than 55 will have a choice. To keep the Government Plan or opt out for the voucher. I would like to add. I don't think I can take four more years of Biden.

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Posted by Rdoug52 on 08/16/2012 at 8:10 PM

Personally,I would like the voucher to be offered to me.I am 59. I do not need an insurance policy that covers birth control,abortions,HIV treatments,Mental health and STD's. If I don't spend all the voucher I get to put what's left over in my pocket tax free. Let the Insurance compete for my business. See the rates drop.

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Posted by Rdoug52 on 08/16/2012 at 8:17 PM

Bruce, that is an excellant opinion. All true. The selection of Ryan and his medicare solution will result in a net loss of votes to Romney. So I am glad he chose him.

Doug, just wait till someone close to you develops an uninsurable condition.

Mickey, that is just a stupid comment.

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Posted by TruthBeTold on 08/16/2012 at 8:46 PM

How conservative is voting to Increase the Debt? How conservative is voting for TARP? How conservative is voting to continue funding for the military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. How conservative is voting to extending several key PATRIOT Act provisions?
How conservative is expanding the Medicare program in 2003?

You Media guys gotta play like he is conservative so you will seem like you have news to print.

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Posted by MickeyWhite on 08/17/2012 at 11:17 AM

The success or failure of the Ryan choice will depend on how good a job the Democrats do in lieing about the Ryan budget. Doug is right - nothing in the Ryan budget has any effect on any current senior. I am also 59, and social security and medicare will be there for me. Without the changes Ryan proposes, they will not be there for my children.

As far as converting Medicare into a voucher system - isn't that what Obama did for the poor? It's OK for Obama to create a voucher system for the poor, but it's not OK for Ryan to propose a voucher system for seniors? Vouchers for the poor is "helping them buy insurance" but vouchers for seniors is "killing seniors"?

I also wish that my contributions to social security were a private account. I will have to live well into my 90's to break even on social security.

cd said: "He poses himself off as a "deficit hawk", yet his budget projections do not call for lowering the deficit for almost thirty years."

Not quite accurate. The Ryan budget does not start paying off the DEBT for thirty years. The odd thing about that is that no other proposal floated in the last four years by anyone else starts paying off the debt EVER.

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Posted by HellenicLad on 08/17/2012 at 11:22 AM

Who cares; it's not like our vote will matter anyway. The electoral college guarantees it won't. But hey, don't let me stop you from arguing about something that you have no control over.

The only elections that matter are on the local level.

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Posted by still living in Berclair on 08/17/2012 at 12:46 PM

The success or failure of the Ryan choice will depend on how good a job the Democrats do in lieing about the Ryan budget. Doug is right - nothing in the Ryan budget has any effect on any current senior. I am also 59, and social security and medicare will be there for me. Without the changes Ryan proposes, they will not be there for my children.

As far as converting Medicare into a voucher system - isn't that what Obama did for the poor? It's OK for Obama to create a voucher system for the poor, but it's not OK for Ryan to propose a voucher system for seniors? Vouchers for the poor is "helping them buy insurance" but vouchers for seniors is "killing seniors"?

I also wish that my contributions to social security were a private account. I will have to live well into my 90's to break even on social security.

cd said: "He poses himself off as a "deficit hawk", yet his budget projections do not call for lowering the deficit for almost thirty years."

Not quite accurate. The Ryan budget does not start paying off the DEBT for thirty years. The odd thing about that is that no other proposal floated in the last four years by anyone else starts paying off the debt EVER.

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Posted by HellenicLad on 08/17/2012 at 12:47 PM

OK, let's talk about the Democrats' budget for a while.

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Posted by GWCarver on 08/17/2012 at 1:54 PM

Ryan voted for TARP, Medicare Part D and the auto bailouts. and yesterday he criticized Obama for not saving an auto plant that closed under Bush (http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/08/…)

so not only is he a fake libertarian (see also his to objections to medical marijuana and gay marriage) he also may be stupid.

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Posted by wvfii on 08/17/2012 at 3:29 PM

I wish So-So security would have been privatised a long time ago. That way the gov.could not spend it and hope I die before I reach the age of 62. At least my family could get something for the 40 tears I paid into this soon to be bankrupt system. I have had many friends die and lose all what they paid in. the family goes in debt to bury them.

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Posted by Rdoug52 on 08/18/2012 at 3:04 AM

My last comment was deleted by this liberal progressive blog. I said nothing wrong or hateful. Just the facts as I have seen them in my life.

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Posted by Rdoug52 on 08/18/2012 at 3:16 AM

Never has the contrast between dems and conservatives been so critical in my life. Repubs and dems are one in the same. I was worried about romney he seemed like a rino. Paul Ryan has at least tried to tackle the problems coming to our country like a sunomi that will wash us away, He will tackle what has been ignored for so long. The can that gets kicked down the road is gone now. Time to deal with problems. We need leadership. I wish ryan was the Pres. and I an sure he will be one day, But Romney has shown by picking this intellectual shows me he is making this an economic debate, Not a public popularity contest. I can't wait for Biden to debate Ryan, Ryan has the facts. Biden has the talking points he was fed. This will be a slaughter. As long as the libs ask the crucial questions. Idon;t think they will. But Ryan is sharp and will be ready, This will be fun.

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Posted by Rdoug52 on 08/18/2012 at 3:36 AM

Do liberals realize how energised the right is? Can they not see the vast majoriy of voters are so sick of obama policies. Will they be shocked when the landslide of 2012 happens? I think only the ones that never read anything will be shocked. The ones that have no idea what obama;s policies are. My God. Look at how the old time media is coverning this. They always got there boys elected in the past. Now one reads or watches their crap anynore, They should obma stickers on their foreheads. We the people do not trust the propoganda coming from the old media. Hurry up Nov.

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Posted by Rdoug52 on 08/18/2012 at 3:49 AM

Dude, you and CHG must be drinking the same Kool Aid, or it could be that drunk 3 a.m. postings just come across as asinine.

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Posted by mad_merc on 08/18/2012 at 5:46 AM

I remember when I had MY first beer. A special time...

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Posted by Phlo on 08/18/2012 at 6:19 AM

"Do liberals realize how energised the right is?"

do you realize that for every nitwit who's come completely unmoored from reality, there are three moderate, even conservative-leaning, folks who are sick to the back teeth of hearing how Obama's a "socialist"?

(even though the policies he's pushed were drafted by right wing think tanks in the 80s, backed by the GOP in the 90s and 2000s, passed by a Republican governor in Massachusetts, and upheld as Constitutional by one of the most conservative Chief Justices in history)

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Posted by wvfii on 08/18/2012 at 10:01 AM

CD: To paraphrase Charlie Pierce, Mitt Romney can bestride every issue because he is a giant when he is standing atop his piles of money.

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Posted by autoegocrat on 08/18/2012 at 11:01 AM

"...He wants to change Medicare to a voucher-based program; he favors defunding NPR and Planned Parenthood; he opposes all abortion and favors a "personhood" amendment defining life as beginning at conception; he would privatize Social Security; and his "Ryan budget" would eliminate taxes on capital gains, giving the wealthiest Americans a huge tax break...."

First of all, Medicare is not a Constitutional function of the Federal Government. It is a Tenth Amendment issue, as it is not listed as a particular under General Welfare. The Commerce Clause also only deals with the Feds role to keep trade free from tolls and keep travel 'normal' and viable between states. NPR and Planned Parenthood are not roles of the Federal Government either. A zygote is formed at conception which contains all the DNA of a human being with potential. Social Security is another area not allowed to the Federal Government by the Constitution. Did Bruce learn the Constitution from Obama's ilk? Privatized Social Security would result in far more increase in freedom of investment opportunities, higher percentage of growth, i.e. mutual funds, land, stocks, etc. The ones that squander their future investments should suffer the consequences; the government does not own people; or shouldn't be slave-holders and thieves of monies. Bruce must be related to FDR somewhere down the line? Heavily burdended taxation on business owners would destroy the opportunities of purchases of new technology, equipment, and labor; thus increasing the unemployment rate and the progress of society in general.

Ignorance a la' mode

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Posted by CHG on 08/21/2012 at 5:10 AM

Well that took longer than I expected. Tell us some more on how making a woman carry an unwanted pregnancy all while denying basic access to healthcare is in any way moral?

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Posted by mad_merc on 08/21/2012 at 7:40 AM
Posted by CHG on 08/21/2012 at 8:36 AM

mad_merc,

"...
Well that took longer than I expected. Tell us some more on how making a woman carry an unwanted pregnancy all while denying basic access to healthcare is in any way moral?..."

First of all; what is your standard for what makes any actions moral? If you presuppose there is no absolute and personal Deity, then you have no objective moral standards; hence...end of topic.

There are many charities and churches that aid women financially even in Memphis, TN, i.e. Church Health Center, many Catholic and Episcopal downtown Churches. Families have often helped as they are able, etc.

Who denies her basic healthcare? Job-based health plans and new individual plans are no longer allowed to deny or exclude coverage to your baby (or any child under age 19) based on health conditions, including babies born with health problems. New health plans must now cover certain preventive services without cost sharing. Starting in 2014, essential health benefits such as pregnancy and newborn care, along with vision and dental care for children, will be covered in all new individual, small business and Exchange plans. Starting in 2014, job-based health plans and new individual plans won’t be allowed to deny or exclude anyone or charge more for a pre-existing condition, including pregnancy or a disability. In 2014, if your income is less than the equivalent of about $88,000 for a family of four today and your job doesn’t offer affordable coverage, you may get tax credits to help pay for insurance.

Here are some more sources fo inexpensive health care for women that are pregnant: the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Medicaid options for pregnant women. Find a community health center in your community if you need free or low-cost care.

A woman can get help using insurance in your state through the Consumer Assistance Program.

So you prefer murder of the human-with-potential (zygote) vs the inconveniences? After the delivery, thousands upon thousands are waiting for adoptions.

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Posted by CHG on 08/21/2012 at 8:46 AM

Which is the true source of your fear, CHG? That if it were proven that God were a myth, all morality would break down? Or that it wouldn't?

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Posted by Jeff on 08/21/2012 at 9:13 AM
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