by Rich Abete
Every four years, the political analysts and pundits predictably proclaim, “This election is the most important election in a generation,” or some such hyperbole. While I’m not certain if that statement is generally true this time around, the damage that a Republican administration could plausibly inflict upon this nation (and especially its women) if President Obama loses this election is breathtaking. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan must be stopped.
On the domestic front, we need look no further than the last two Republican House Budgets that came directly from Mr. Ryan, as he is the House Budget Committee Chair and the author. Based upon the analysis of Robert Reich, in my previous post,Is the GOP Morally Bankrupt?, I noted, “Mr. Ryan’s budget, which would be the law of the land if the GOP controlled the Senate and the White House, is a surprisingly diaphanous attempt at upward wealth redistribution and class warfare. It should be required reading for any civic-minded American and be treated as a cautionary tale when pulling the lever in November.” Mr. Romney has endorsed the Ryan Budget on several occasions, which, according to Mr. Reich, dramatically cuts programs and eliminates tax credits and deductions essential to the poor, seniors, the working poor and middle income families in favor of a tax cut for the wealthy and corporations. In addition, Mr. Romney promises to reduce the deficit. So, essentially, a Romney/Ryan Administration would implement an austerity program similar to the recently catastrophic European example; but here’s the cherry on top: instead of reducing the deficit with the savings from draconian spending cuts to vital programs and the elimination of tax credits and deductions upon which the middle class depends, they would kick much of the proceeds upward to the wealthy where it may just sit in off-shore accounts accruing interest (if they follow the example of their hapless reverse-Robin Hood leader) vs. being pumped into the economy. To be fair, many wealthy folks would actually welcome a more progressive and equitable tax regime in this country.
When it comes to our personal freedom as individuals, women should be particularly alarmed at the prospect of a Romney/Ryan administration. Neither man generally supports issues that are important to women, including issues of equality and the personal right to make choices regarding her own reproductive health. Mr. Romney is opposed to making contraception accessible by requiring health insurance to cover all or part of the cost of various forms of birth control. Incidentally, birth control reduces the number of unwanted pregnancies and therefore the number of abortions (DUH!). Some forms of contraception even reduce the transmission of disease… How ‘bout that!? During Tuesday night’s debate, Mr. Romney said he would leave it up to the discretion of the employer to determine whether or not contraception would be covered via that employer’s insurance plan. It’s interesting how the folks on the Right are always warning that one day, liberals will devise panels of bureaucrats to “ration your health care, but they apparently have no qualms in allowing employers to do that very thing, even with something as personal as family planning. On the issue of abortion, Mr. Romney magnanimously makes an exception for the victims of rape or incest, or when the mother’s life may be compromised by giving birth. While Mr. Ryan is now bound to the positions of his counterpart and boss, his previous record on women’s rights is abysmal. Most recently, he co-sponsored legislation with the now infamous misogynist, congressional Republican and senatorial candidate Todd Akin, that would re-define rape more narrowly, making it harder to convict rapists in certain circumstances. Of course, one of the more troubling features of a potential Romney/Ryan Administration would be their inevitable ability to place one, and perhaps two, right-wing extremists (a.k.a., mainstream Republicans) on the Supreme Court in place of retiring liberals. If they are elected, the delicate balance on the already right-leaning court would change emphatically, both in character and the manner in which they hand down decisions. The votes would surely be there to overturn it, so there is no reason to believe that Roe wouldn’t be fair game. To believe otherwise would be naïve.
Regarding foreign policy, Mr. Romney has shown himself to be uniquely inept. From his statement that getting bin Laden was not a priority or “worth moving heaven and Earth for,” to jumping the gun on the Libyan consulate attack by immediately holding a press conference to score some cheap political points by criticizing the Administration when he had yet to obtain the facts, or when he criticized the Brits on their organizational acumen during the Olympics (while he was in Britain!) which by most accounts was a wild success, he has shown a singularly acute ability to say or do the wrong thing at the wrong time. This assertion was proven spot-on in Monday night’s Presidential debate when Mr. Romney was fact-checked in real time by the moderator regarding his statement that the President did not characterize the attacks on the Libyan consulate as terrorism until two weeks after they had taken place. But even more problematic is his incessant drum beating and bluster regarding Iran. His myopic overtures seem more than a little dangerous, and could ultimately lead to yet another ill-advised ground war in the Middle East if he is our next Commander-in-Chief.
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan must be stopped. Get out and vote in November!