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Romney picks Ryan


So now the election is going to be about which legacy party is going to cut Social Security and Medicare less. Oh joy.

UPDATE AIf I have the sequence right...

1. (July 20) Obama campaign "gives guidance" they're going to assault Romney for his support of the Ryan plan. ("Guidance" is serious in DC.)

2. But the assault on Ryan never happens, contradicting the "guidance." Instead, we get the income taxes and yadda yadda yadda.

3. (July 25) Unsourced Politico story says "operatives and key players" believe the fight over automatic cuts is going to blow up (that is, not in January, and not in the lame duck, but in the election).

4. (July 32) Bill Keller jumps on board.

5. (August 8) Obama signs law (passed by Senate July 26) giving him 30 days to report from him on how automatic budget cuts will be made in the absence of a budget deal

6. (August 9) Obama (for the umpteenth time) signals willingness to cut (the "do not get enough credit" quote).

7. (August 11) Trial balloon for Bowles at Treasury: Agenda, grand bargain.

8. August 11: Romney announces Ryan as VP.

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To me, there are two "bloopers" here: #1 and #8. #1: The Obama campaign gives guidance they're going to go after Romney on Ryan, and then they don't. They're not shy, so why the change in timing? #8: The announcement is on a Saturday morning. During the Olympics. With the convention still weeks away (as FDL points out). What's in it for Romney with the timing?

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From the Barcalounger:

My $0.02 (and prediction is hard, especially about the future): All this looks to me like what we would expect to see: Both campaigns are having their chains yanked by their 1% owners (and the same owners own both parties).

For reasons I don't understand, it looks to me 1% have moved up the timing and decided not to let the legacy parties finesse the election and make the cuts in the lame duck or in January. Rather, the 1% has decided to make securing a mandate for gutting the last of the New Deal what this election is about. (The maneuvers listed above look like getting the ducks lined up, especially Keller and Bowles). Because if you nominate Ryan, you nominate the Ryan Budget, and gutting the New Deal is what the Ryan budget is designed to do.

The choice on offer will be which legacy party will, or will be perceived to, gut the New Deal less. And the 1% have also decided that Obama's likely to do the job better (else why humiliate Romney with the Ryan timing?) Note here the key role played by career "progressives" running interference for Obama with the "lesser evil" argument. The report on budget cuts will display Obama's approach, contrasted to Ryan's. I'm sure the words "fiscal cliff" will be heard at lot.

UPDATE David Swanson writes:

Of course not. What would move both of these reprehensible candidates away from deeper cuts to decent programs, and toward deeper cuts in the war machine, the fossil fuel funding, the bankster bailouts, and the “Bush” tax cuts is an independent movement that makes its minimum demand an absolute bar on any cuts to Social Security or Medicare whatsoever.

If you don’t soon see progressive groups advancing that demand, expect bad times ahead, regardless of who wins the world’s worst reality drama.

Like that would ever happen!

Well, I just got some spam from “Bold Progressives” (who actually did heckle Schneiderman at Netroots Nation, so that’s a start). Here it is:

This is a major unforced error by Mitt Romney.

It gives President Obama and Democrats a chance to draw a clear contrast in 2012 by promising not to cut one penny from Medicare or Social Security benefits. We can help them draw that contrast starting now.

If Romney loses big in November, today’s news will have been the game changer. (Especially in states like Florida, where senior citizens know the importance of Medicare.)

Chip in $3 to help us run online ads defining Paul Ryan for voters in states like Florida. Click here.

So the words are “promising not to cut one penny” (which we readers know doesn’t apply to Obama, or the Ds, at all). The money is in aid of the Obama campaign.

So, at least from this one datapoint, “expect bad times ahead.”

No votes yet


Submitted by lambert on

If the Greens take down the Ds, is that the best outcome? (And how does the Libertarian Party, on the ballot IIRC in all 50 states, and with higher numbers, play in?)

tarheel-leftist85's picture
Submitted by tarheel-leftist85 on

Good cop v. bad cop. Isn't the good cop the one that usually gets the confession? Despite the polling/horse race kabuki, Romney is an obvious loser. The people that are trying to convince rank-and-file Rs that Mittens has a chance are the one's who sold the electoral invincibility of McCain and Rudy circa 2005. Now they're reduced to picking a "competitive" nominee. Still, the horse race, like the good cop/bad cop dynamic, provides an illusion of choice which acts - for the bankster/rentier class - as the path of least public resistance to an austerity regime. Ohbummer still has to be guaranteed a second term because:

(1) the remaining Democrats that would prefer to see no cuts to Social Security (or expansion), aren't likely to suspect Obie/Dems (especially with super-duper good cop Dems like Liz Warren who'll likely be charged with running interference or having a Kucinich eleventh-hour conversion) of pulling the trigger on SS/Medicare, even if they were part of the unterbussen* in 2008;

(2) Obie's youth** fanbase, the "rebellious" offspring of Reagan fans, are just as right-wing as their parents on economics but prefer different cultural markers. For example, it's ok for the president to drone people here/abroad, just as long as they don't have a fake TX accent! Still, some of them, especially the more involved in the horse race and in the campaign world, have adopted populist rhetoric as of late.*** Still, from where i sit - in probably the most lavished upon media market - every time i have the misfortune of being around a teebee, the Ohbummer campaign is pushing the cultural markers (Mittens will take us backwards to the 1950s! We need to go FORWARD(TM)!) more than the populism.

* Too many of 2008's unterbussen keep coming back for more. Like the battered wife as the drunkard's enabler. And isn't that the essence of the "lesser-evil" narrative? "Nowhere to go."
** This isn't an attempt at generational warfare, but the younger Obie supporters, at least from my college years, were fine with SS/Medicare privatization. And by adopting the right cultural markers, they can take these positions and still have "moderate"/"liberal"/"progressive" cred. Their new-found populism rings hollow...
*** Suddenly, it matters that "everyone" has "health care" - and "we got something done" - when it conveniently involves market capture, upward pressure on prices, downward pressure on prices, self-licking ice cream cones of public-private bureaucracy, and a block/rent between people and actual health care. It'll be interesting to see these Obie fans gloating over SS privatization the way they did with the BHIP bailout. And they will.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

in a close election voter suppression could be the decisive factor. I really dont see the DoJ taking action, even though it is clearly warranted.

letsgetitdone's picture
Submitted by letsgetitdone on

What wrong with Obama's survival instincts. If I were President and they tried that crap; everyone involved would be looking at the inside of a cell right now! Seriously, at the first sign of Voter Suppression, the FBI should have been all over it throwing their weight around! Once the news spread that VS wouldn't be tolerated in the first State that tried it; all the others would have backed off!

letsgetitdone's picture
Submitted by letsgetitdone on

gives us a greater opportunity to seek explicit from office holders that will not cut entitlements under any circumstances. They may go back on such commitments; but that marks them for the next election, so breaking an explicit promise is more risky. Don't let a candidate get away with vague statements of support for SS and Medicare. Candidates who give those are telling you they WILL sell out when the President asks them to.

letsgetitdone's picture
Submitted by letsgetitdone on

Occupy them good!

letsgetitdone's picture
Submitted by letsgetitdone on

children or grandchildren? Why wouldn't we want them to have Medicare? Or better, Medicare for All? Free College? All the good things?

Card-carrying_Buddhist's picture
Submitted by Card-carrying_B... on

to be ageist?

Submitted by lambert on

Strategic hate management is always a good thing, in this instance, for Boomers.

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Also, thanks so much for the bulbs. I am trying to get around to planting them, although I'm sure they'll be fine; IIRC I planted the last batch at dusk when snow was predicted, and they've come through fine!

I think actually I will improve a flower bed by removing what is there and planting these, but is there any kind of companion plant that goes well with iris when it no longer blooms? So I don't have two weeks of glory and then nothing?

cellocat's picture
Submitted by cellocat on

in our iris patch. They're pretty. Flowers, fruit, and year-round attractive ground cover.

Submitted by lambert on

To the runners interfere with the bulbs? Although I think there's a kind of strawberry without them.

Submitted by Hugh on

The propaganda was hot and heavy today. Romney's selection of Ryan was hailed as a "game changer" on the network news. Ryan was described as a policy wonk. That's Washington speak for not just having ideas that are wrong but catastrophically so. And all Ryan's ideas about money, finance, and the economy are wrong. None of this is surprising if you look at Ryan as simply another elite servant of kleptocracy. It always comes down to the looting, and we are guaranteed looting, especially of Social Security and Medicare, whichever party wins in November.

As for Obama, he means to cut Social Security and Medicare. As I wrote over at Naked Capitalism yesterday, Obama does not give up on his corporatist, neoliberal, pro-kleptocratic agenda. He can be delayed but then he just reloads and comes back again. He has had these programs in his sights from the beginning: a conference only a month into his Presidency on cutting Social Security, the hiatus during the Obamacare debate (where he did win cuts to Medicare and Medicaid), then a return with the Bowles-Simpson Catfood Commission, then after that the Grand Bargain negotiations. And he has already signaled again his intention to go after Social Security, and likely Medicare as well, after the election if he can.

If the healthcare debate and the whole public option fiasco taught us anything, it is that Obama can't be pressured by progressives or the Democratic base, and that Democrats in Congress will sell us out. Nancy Pelosi is already on board with the whold Bowles-Simpson project of gutting Social Security. So where is there in Congress the votes to stand in Obama's way? The House progressives? Don't make me laugh. Look how they folded up like a cheap suit on healthcare.

I keep saying this but we live in a kleptocracy. Just because Romney or Ryan or Obama or really all the officeholders from either party act like they are part of the normal world doesn't mean they are. 40,000 to 50,000 Americans die each year just from lack of access to healthcare. Millions have lost their homes, tens of millions are unemployed or underemployed. Hundreds of millions have lost wealth to the looting of the 1%. These are not nice people. Hardened criminals have nothing on them. That is what we always need to keep in mind. A petition to Al Capone would do more good than one sent to these guys. They are criminals. They can't be reformed. They can't be pressured. They can't be negotiated with.

So Social Security will be on the chopping block. Our elites will moan about deficits. They will talk about making tough choices, about being responsible. They will call their cuts necessary. They will call them something else. Or they will split current and future recipients by applying cuts only to future recipients. The only thing that will save us from the cuts is if there is infighting between Democrats and Republicans. But I put no faith in that. It is, as lambert says, only about who will cut the social programs less, or to be more precise who says they will cut them less. Remember with the healthcare debate. We had a full year of kabuki and partisan fights but when all was said and done, Obama got almost exactly the bill he wanted from the start.

Ryan is a distraction of a distraction (Romney) of a distraction (the election) of a distraction (the two parties). The real action is and remains the looting of the country and our failure to do anything about it.

Submitted by lambert on

Yes, the bullshit really is this layered:

Ryan is a distraction of a distraction (Romney) of a distraction (the election) of a distraction (the two parties). The real action is and remains the looting of the country and our failure to do anything about it.

Using this notation:

(Ryan (Romney (the election (the legacy parties (looting)))).

But maybe more like this:

(Ryan (Romney (the election (the legacy parties ( the press (looting))))).

And of course another path to the same root:

(Obama (the election (the legacy parties ( the press (looting)))).

The nice thing about using a tree structure representation is that the "Obama vs. Romney" context becomes as uninteresting in the representation as it is in reality.

Submitted by lambert on

I've got the wrong formulation. I wrote:

The choice on offer will be which legacy party will, or will be perceived to, gut the New Deal less.

I should have written:

The choice on offer will be which legacy party will, or will be perceived to, gut the New Deal sooner rather than later.