All aboard the campaign train. Nothing will stop this RR. Get it? RR for railroad; it also stands for Romney/Ryan; it is also Ronald Reagan’s initials. This is the stuff campaigns are made of; blatantly jingoistic and not profoundly thoughtful. Everyone wants to know who the VP nomination will be so they can start churning out the buttons, bumper stickers and slogans—oh, the slogans.
But Romney did not pick a running mate. He set a priority. He framed the debate. He did not base his pick on genitalia, skin pigmentation or country of origin. This somehow passes for deep thought among the OCD world of politicos. No, Romney did not choose a running mate, he chose a Vice President. He chose one who understands the priorities of the country. He chose one who understands where America got off track and he chose one who has a plan to get us back on track. He chose someone, not for the campaign, but for the administration. Some will call the pick “workman like.” It is not the pejorative it sounds like. It simply means the pick was thoughtful and competent. It seems to me these are rare qualities in DC these days and urgently needed.
One would hope that this would make the campaign all about the economy, but it will not. Apparently this would not work for Obama. After a brief smear campaign accusing Ryan of abusing penguins and kidnapping the Lindbergh baby, the Obama team will focus on Social Security and Medicare. You will see Granny thrown off the cliff so many times you will swear she is an Acapulcoan cliff diver. There will be a campaign of fear unlike any we have seen before and it will be aimed directly at seniors.
We have seen that Romney has a bit of the street fighter in him and he will need these skills against this foe. But Romney also needs to remain above this fray. He will need surrogates who know how to take a blow and how to give one. Christie is an obvious choice. Another person who learned the hard way and learned well is Sarah Palin. But there is one person you are familiar with that you may easily overlook – it’s you.
Obama will wage a campaign of fear. He will tell your parents that they will be thrown off of Social Security and that they will lose their Medicare benefits as if Washington had a reputation for quick action. Remind your parents that Washington never moves that quickly. Improvements to the system will be phased in and will not change the way your parents experience these programs. In truth, the changes will ensure the future of younger citizens and relieve the government of a crushing debt obligation. Today’s retiree will be unaffected.
For those of us who are already retired, our children and grandchildren will be told that we are old and not thinking clearly, or maybe habituated to voting for the wrong side. It will be implied that if the government does not take care of us, our children will have to. Talk about a fear campaign! The sight of us moving in with all our liniments and quirks may be enough to drive our kids to the dark side. We must be able to calmly explain that Social Security and Medicare were poorly designed and not only going bankrupt themselves, they are taking the country with them. Let your children know that you have provided for your retirement and that you will not be moving in; unless they vote for Obama. When the carrot doesn’t work, use the stick. The changes will be phased in gradually and the future for your children will be brighter when they reach their “golden years.”
We might do well to compare the hyperbole we are about to hear to the exaggerated claims we heard in 1996 when we finally got some meaningful reforms in our welfare system. We were told countless people would starve. We were told that large numbers of families would be living on the streets and that America would resemble another failed third world country. The actual result was that over half the people on welfare at the time got meaningful work, some for the first time. America became more productive and we ushered in another decade of prosperity. The only downside I saw was that it saved Clinton’s Presidency and assured his legacy. Never mind that he vetoed the proposal twice. It was not until the Republicans achieved a veto-proof majority that he signed the legislation. To this day he brags about this major accomplishment. But to quote President Obama, “You didn’t build that yourself.”
In choosing Paul Ryan for the VP slot, Mitt Romney gave the nod to Tea Partiers and conservative Republicans we have been looking for. America will get the leadership she deserves. She always does; that is what a democratic process is all about. It is our job, yours and mine, to be sure she deserves more. Hopefully, you now have enough ammo. Keep reading the Sentinel and Tea Party 911 to keep resupplied. Get out there and save the nation! It’s up to you and me.