MItt Romney’s choice of Congressman Paul Ryan confirms Romney has abandoned any attempt to moderate his views or to close the gender gap. Ryan's budget proposals, his antipathy towards Medicaid, his opposition to choice are just a few examples of how women will be affected if his policies are implemented. Romney has now acknowledged he will not win by seeking common ground with undecided, independent or women voters, but is only going to win if he can get the extreme regressive wing of his party to turn out in large enough numbers to support his candidacy.
Conversely, President Obama's re-election will hinge on his base turning out and voting. It is a base disillusioned by Obama for a variety of reasons, but with the Ryan choice, Romney now is committed not only to killing affordable health care, but to ending Social Security and Medicare as entitlements, cutting taxes for the 1%, increasing military spending and either expanding the deficit or raising taxes on the middle class and working poor. Obama's base of African Americans, Hispanics, women, young people and independents would take the brunt of the Romney/Ryan evisceration of the social safety net, roll-back of environmental regulations and murder of the Dodd/Frank Financial Services Reform Act resulting in Wall Street returning to business as usual. (How is that for a nightmare scenario?) If they cannot see their own enlightened self-interest being served by a re-elected President Obama, then they will get a radical agenda and no seat at the table.
Over 40% of Americans say they don't know much about Ryan. Let's start with his Catholicism. Ryan is a regressive Catholic. He is more committed to his idol, Ayn Rand, than he is to his Christianity. He has morphed Jesus into someone who would cut programs for the poor, support survival of the fittest and encourage free market rapaciousness all in the name of God. He claims the Church supports his budget proposals to balance the budget on the backs of women, children and the poor. If not for the resurrection, Jesus would be spinning in His grave at Ryan's calumny. (When you inspire seven nuns to create a bus tour to refute your interpretation of scripture, you are definitely out of the mainstream.)
Ryan wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act which would expand health coverage to over 17 million women. If the ACA is repealed, health insurance companies could continue to charge women higher premiums than men, refuse to cover maternity care and deny women contraceptive access. As a Catholic, Ryan supports allowing Catholic businesses to deny contraception access as a part of their health care options.
Ryan's wants to increase military spending and cut taxes for the top 1%. To offset revenue losses, he would cut funds for non-defense discretionary programs such as childcare, Head Start, Pell Grants (for college-age students from middle class families), housing and energy assistance programs. He would cut non-defense discretionary programs, which support millions of women and children, by $1.2 trillion while increasing military spending by over $200 billion over 10 years.
Ryan's budget would cut Food Stamps by 17% over ten years affectively eliminating 8 million people, mostly women and children, and he would cut Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. Women represent 66% of SSI beneficiaries and 86% of TANF clients. He voted to end federal funding for Planned Parenthood and would outlaw all abortions with no exceptions for rape, incest or the life of the mother. He is in favor of a personhood amendment to the Constitution giving full civil rights to a fertilized egg and ending a number of forms of contraception.
Neither Romney nor Ryan denies any of these assertions. What is most interesting is Ryan justifies his draconian budget as the only way to address the looming budget deficit. The only problem is his budget proposal, if adopted, would actually add to the deficit over the next 10 years, not balance it. He cuts taxes for the rich, increases military spending and takes a meat-ax to almost all other programs and the end result is a higher deficit?
Nothing about either Romney or Ryan's resumes are indicative of a concern about jobs or expanding the economic pie to a larger percentage of Americans. There is plenty of evidence they are willing to protect the 1% at the expense of women and children. Choosing Ryan shows Romney is not interested in expanding his appeal to independents and undecided voters. He has doubled down on winning by energizing the Tea Party/extreme regressive wing of his party to get them to turn out in November.
The question is will Obama's base now respond in kind...get energized...turn out and vote in numbers similar to 2008? If they do, Obama wins. If they don't, Ryan and Palin and Grover Norquist and Wall Street win.
In the next 100 days, every time you hear Romney/Ryan talk about jobs and the economy, understand it is all fluff and cover for a social agenda Romney has capitulated to in order to get elected. It is now a clear stark choice. Which ever side can turn out its base will win.