NY Dems should be celebrating Ryan pick

In choosing Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate, Mitt Romney has made an awful mistake. The selection of Ryan is good for the Democrats and terrible for the Republicans. His choice of Ryan has made it even worse for the minority Republicans in New York.

To understand what he did and why he did it you have to understand the realities of elections. Since about half the eligible people don’t bother to vote in presidential elections, the name of the game is to get your voters to turn out. In selecting Ryan, he was offering a huge incentive for conservative Republicans to get out and vote. He was lighting a fire under their behinds. That’s the way elections are won or lost.

The Romney problem is that there are more Democrats and independents in the United States than there are conservative Republicans. Romney’s vice presidential choice will light an even bigger fire under the keisters of the Democrats and independents who do not want to lose Social Security or the highly popular Medicare program. As Casey said, “You can look it up.” Ryan is death on both of these programs.

While there may be a lot of people who don’t like what the Republicans are calling “ObamaCare,” just ask any senior or anyone who can’t wait to get to Medicare what they think of the medical program that provides for people over sixty-five or ask seniors (or their appreciative children) what they think of Social Security.

I remember my late mother’s appreciation for her Social Security check. My mom had worked all her life putting money into Social Security. The thought of losing Social Security or of the Republicans trying to “modify” Roosevelt’s signature program by handing it over to Wall Street would have brought this liberal lady out into the streets. By threatening Social Security and Medicare, Romney has given the Democrats the gift of life. No matter what he says to save the day, the words and actions of Ryan will prove to be fatal to Romney. In fact, in choosing Ryan, Romney has committed political suicide.

Finally, there is Medicaid, a program designed primarily to help the poor and elderly who have no other place to turn. When those often non-voting poor realize that their health care is being threatened by the draconian Ryan, they will have a good reason to vote. As we saw not that long ago in Florida, just a few votes can swing an election.

In New York, the Democrats should be celebrating. The New York state Senate is up for grabs and if indeed this election draws the poor and usually non-voting, they will inevitably vote Democratic right down the ticket. Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo has given Dean Skelos and the Republican Senate majority every break. He didn’t veto their self-serving gerrymander bill as he promised he would. I am old enough to remember the Democratic landslide in Goldwater-Johnson when all kinds of Republicans got thrown out in New York.

To turn this election to their favor, the Democrats will plaster the air waves with Ryan’s picture and a serious voice-over will declare what he wants to do with two of the most popular social programs in American history. You’ll see crying babies and seniors threatened with eviction. When I explained how this was going to work to some elderly friends, one of them said, “You don’t have to worry, it will only be younger people who will lose these benefits.” In response I said, “These younger folks have been putting money into these programs for years. They are looking forward to Social Security and Medicare. They are going to be very angry when and if all of this comes down.”

Poor Mitt Romney — he may be good at making a lot of money but that doesn’t make him smart. He’s just committed political hari-kari. In New York, he’s probably the best thing the usually hapless Democrats have going for them.

Originally published in the Legislative Gazette, 8/14/12

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