Mitt Romney has abandoned any pretense to being a moderate candidate, and has wedded himself to political conservatives when he accepted Paul Ryan as his running mate. Ryan, a voice of economic extremism, is a leading proponent of the type of economic policies that were practiced by the Republicans during their recent 8 years of power under George Bush, Jr., and which drove the country to economic ruin. Now, Romney has committed himself to repeating the mistakes of Bush’s administration. Why would anyone believe that the type of thinking that caused the economic problem can somehow solve that problem?
Ryan, like everyone in the country, wants to lower the national debt. His methods of doing so, however, and that include the erosion of Medicare, are unpopular even with many Republicans. His is a radical vision (New York Times: “the most extreme budget plan passed by a House of Congress in modern times.”) that would set back progress for women (ending most forms of birth control as well as equal pay provisions), students (cutting Pell grants), the middle class (increasing taxes on the middle class to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy) and the elderly (eliminating the current form of Medicare).
Mitt Romney has a political vision that is less conservative that many of his party. To gain their support, he should have reached out to those conservative elements in his party and convinced them of the rightness of his vision. This is called leadership – an important trait in a President. Romney’s retreat from his principles and his consent to accept a conservative running mate in order to patch up weaknesses in his own candidacy, merely serves to highlight the weaknesses in his own candidacy. This defect in his leadership shows that he is beholden to mysterious power brokers who reside in the shadows and who control him. Like George Bush, Jr., who was manipulated by similar power brokers, Romney has abandoned his own leadership and has succumbed to these same puppet masters. He does not deserve our vote.
A case in point: the more liberal John McCain did the same thing when he ran for President 4 years ago and when he accepted Sarah Palin as his running mate. He said at the time that she was not his preference, but he agreed to accept her, after a half-hour interview. His method of selecting someone who is a heartbeat away from the Presidency showed a lack of political courage, a lack of leadership and poor judgment. This was underscored when her interviews revealed her to be undeserving of this high office. This single gaffe may have cost McCain the election last time. Romney has now repeated this mistake.
Consider also: in 1988, the liberal Michael Dukakis of Massachusetts selected the conservative Lloyd Bentsen of Texas as his running mate in order to create geographical and political balance. This team lost the election. Four years later, the Democrats presented 2 candidates who were essentially identical: both Bill Clinton and Albert Gore were young liberals from Southern States, and they served for 8 years. If President Clinton would have been unable to complete his term, he would have been followed by someone who would continue his approach to government, and there would be continuity. How can a moderate Republican vote for Romney, if they know that he might be replaced by someone of a radically different political philosophy? Should a Conservative vote for the Romney/Ryan ticket in the cynical hope that Romney might not be able to complete his term as President? This is not the basis for a proper ticket.
To narrow the gap, Romney is now repudiating some previous positions in order to satisfy his conservative base. As an example, he supported government-sponsored health care when he was Governor of Massachusetts, but now attacks Obama’s health care program, primarily because it is government-sponsored. This flip-flop and the selection of Ryan, are evidence that Romney wants very much to be President, and that his principles are expendable. This is not the type of leadership that the country needs, or deserves.
Greedy opportunism is what caused the economic crisis. Greedy political opportunism will not provide the leadership required to help the country go forward.