It would seem our nation would have learned its lesson and not want to revisit the days of the Savings and Loan scandal, Enron, WorldCom, Tyco, the Wall Street debacle, W’s tax cut for the wealthy and the mortgage crisis, and two wars engaged without any intention to pay for them. Yet, somehow the Republican Party is apparently banking on voters’ short memories because their 2012 presidential ticket is selling the American public the same ‘trickle down’ nonsense that got us into the current economic debacle. With a dose of white male resentment, the newfound GOP slate of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan should be labeled the ‘Let them eat cake’ ticket because both men share a disdain for working people and have a vision of America in which those of us without wealth must simply wait for the scraps of the prosperous.
Mitt Romney finally declared who he is with the selection of the House budget committee chairman Paul Ryan as his running mate. For months the Republican standard bearer had straddled the line between being a Massachusetts moderate and a Rush Limbaugh conservative depending upon the day of the week. Now, by selecting Ryan, the architect of as draconian a budget as we have viewed in recent memory, Mitt Romney has effectively chosen sides. The America that team Romney envisions is the same gluttonous, self-serving, and compassionless country that emerged during the heydays of the Reagan administration when “greed was good” and carried through to the George W. Bush presidency when corporations were making up the rules as they set out to be profitable by any means necessary. Under Reagan, Republicans promoted “trickle down” while under W most of us got trickled on.
In many ways Mitt Romney may have given the President a gift in the selection of Paul Ryan as the Republican vice presidential candidate. Now there can be no waffling or chameleon like policy positions by the former governor. He has effectively drawn a line in the sand and it will be up to the President’s team to expose Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan for who they are and draw clear distinctions between Mr. Obama’s vision for America and the nightmare the nation would endure under Team Romney.
For African-American voters the Republican Party has once again sent us a powerful message in the selection and composition of their presidential ticket. For decades now we have been hearing chatter about the GOP’s supposed outreach to the Black community and listened warily when President George W, Bush suggested the party practice a “compassionate conservatism.” With few African-American Republicans in state legislatures, Congress and in party leadership, the GOP has little to offer by way of policy remedies that are relevant to our community and potentially effective. Paul Ryan’s declaration that in America “we promise equal opportunity, not equal outcomes” during his introductory speech as the Republican vice presidential candidate sounds trite and ignorant against decades of discriminatory behavior and attacks by conservatives on policies aimed at providing equal opportunity.
It is not that we don’t expect policy differences or a vigorous debate on issues. What is troubling is that our nation is at a stand-still on the issue of equity and the Republican Party is offering candidates that have no sense of historical wrongs, present day difficulties and biases, and how both retard future opportunities for millions of African-Americans, immigrants, women and the working poor. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are living in a bubble that is protected by shady supporters and suspect wealth. Contrary to Mr. Romney’s inference of being a self-made man, he is a man made of wealth that was horded on the backs of workers and shady business dealings. Neither Romney nor his running mate have a clue about the challenges facing most Americans, and their supporters’ attacks on President Obama’s citizenship and his education he was blessed to receive, expose the pettiness, tawdriness and hateful character of the right-wing of the Republican Party.
While Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan gorge themselves on a steady diet of human misery, we approach the November election with a clear view of the Republican ticket’s policy priorities in the Ryan budget. If these two have their way, the wealthy will be protected, the rich will be in position to be wealthy, college students from middle and working class families will be burdened with lifetime debt, working Americans will come up short on the job line (as more get shipped overseas) and forgo any middle class aspirations, and senior citizens will, well, they will become a cost of doing business.