What is Romney saying to women, students, seniors, people of color?
Let’s get right to the point. The truth is this nation is quickly becoming more diverse. The last census report showed that whether some like it or not, we have to embrace a multicultural reality that is settling in sooner than we would have thought.
That this nation is anchored on the sacred idea that “we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal” underscores how government has always been important in the lives of its people.
Whether it was in establishing the Civil Rights Act, which allowed for women to gain considerable access in the marketplace today, or the Voting Rights Act, which sought to remove deliberate impediments for communities that have historically not been part of the section of the Declaration of Independence that guarantees “the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” government has always been a tenet in the life of this democratic experience called the United States of America.
So much for the right-wing double-talk of getting government out of our lives.
As such, in the current political atmosphere, women, students, seniors, the poor and the middle class are looking for a leader in the Republican Party who would appeal to them, acknowledge their essence, rather than reaching out to the demands of right wing ideologues who are unwilling to acknowledge the hurricane-like arrival of diversity and all its ramifications.
Romney, abandoning the deep historical legacy of his father, George Romney, former Michigan governor who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Detroit during the freedom rallies, decided to select the extreme right wing Republican leader of Congress to be his running mate, Congressman Paul Ryan.
The policies of Ryan do not even equate with those of former president George W. Bush whose ideas are moderate when compared to Ryan’s.
Romney had an opportunity to break away from the broken Congress which Ryan has been a key part of and to put forth a credible vice presidential candidate, one in whom independents as well as Democrats could find common ground with.
He missed an opportunity as an outsider to present a change ticket.
Instead, he chose a man who in many ways has been an obstructionist in Congress, an individual who is favored by the extreme right yet his popularity doesn’t appeal to the rest of the nation. A small segment in the Republican Party should not be the reflection of so many moderates in the party who now may be looking elsewhere.
The Ryan selectiion doesn’t do anything for Romney in the key swing states, including Florida where $96 billion is spent annually in Medicaid for seniors, because Ryan wants to convert this program into a voucher system.
This pick is bold and one that is viewed as brilliant in the eyes of the ultraconservative movement, but it is not a wise choice.
Do you have to go this far to win an election?
I’m forced to ask, what does the national Republican Party stand for in 2012?
That Romney would pick someone who, like him, has no national security or foreign policy experience for a party that has always touted national security as their mantra is mindboggling.
The biggest irony is that both men used a battleship as the backdrop of their ticket announcement on Saturday when neither has served in the military.
What message is Mitt Romney sending to women by selecting a vice presidential candidate who is opposed to a woman’s right to choose even in cases of rape and incest?
What message is the Republican Party sending to students across this country with a choice like Ryan who has proposed to cut back student aid and voted against the College Student Act Relief?
What message is the Republican Party sending to our seniors who have to decide between paying their rent and paying their prescription bills with a choice like Ryan who has proposed converting Medicare into a voucher program and privatize Social Security?
Even his fellow conservative and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich called Ryan’s proposal on Medicare and Social Security “right wing social engineering.”
What message is the Republican Party sending to the middle class and the poor in this nation at a time when their fate lies in this election, with a choice like Ryan who proposed a tax overhaul in 2010 that would make a millionaire like Romney pay less than 1 percent of taxes as opposed to the current 13 percent he’s paid?
I could not believe Romney would choose a candidate who gives him no geographical advantage or demographic advantage. He chose a candidate with no crossover appeal. The only advantage this choice gives him is a White male, just like Romney, who will rally ultra conservatives.
And it looks really bad in an era of multicultural and gender consciousness for two White males to run on a presidential ticket in 2012.
Romney has not shaken up the race with the Ryan selection. What he’s done is further defined the race against President Barack Obama.
In choosing Ryan, Romney is making the same mistake that Sen. John McCain made in 2008 by selecting former Alaska governor Sarah Palin who became the subject of the race instead of the head of the ticket, McCain.
Now, the election is quickly becoming more about Paul Ryan’s extreme right wing budget proposal and views instead of Mitt Romney’s vision for America.
And just like Sarah Palin defined McCain’s campaign in 2008 to the detriment of the veteran senator, Paul Ryan is already defining Romney’s campaign.
Because right wing Republicans have always been suspect of Romney’s true conservative credentials, one is forced to ask, was the Ryan candidacy forced upon him as was believed to be the case with McCain and Palin?
Bankole Thompson is editor of the Michigan Chronicle and author of a six-part book series on the Obama presidency. His book “Obama and Black Loyalty,” published in 2010, follows his recent book, “Obama and Christian Loyalty” with a foreward by Bob Weiner, former White House spokesman. A recognized authority on the Obama presidency who has had sit-down interviews with Obama, Thompson is a political news analyst at WDET-101.9FM (NPR affiliate) and a member of the weekly “Obama Watch” Sunday evening roundtable on WLIB-1190AM New York and simulcast in New Jersey and Connecticut.