Ryan getting ready to hold us up.
Mark Twain said that, while “history doesn’t repeat itself, it does rhyme.” The arrogance of politicians is the unalterable belief that the outcome will be different for them.
Four years ago, Senator John McCain, a ‘Nam hero because he was held prisoner at the “Hanoi Hilton” after crashing his plane was imprisoned again but this time, in 2008, it was by the far right wing of his own party.
The party muzzled John’s celebrated rogue manner, especially his inconvenient campaign finance reforms, and forced him to choose a not-ready-for-prime-time running mate from Alaska, Governor Sarah Palin, who didn’t know what she didn’t know, not even the constitutional provision that defined her job as VP. Palin couldn’t name any publication she read to keep informed, and her myopic view of foreign affairs, she bragged, was the sight line from her back porch through the Aleutians to the Russian shore. Palin prompted an incurable national epidemic of confidence jitters at the slimmest possibility that she might ever have to succeed the senior McCain as President.
This year we have former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney promising us 12 million jobs that will appear, as if by magic, if we allow him to implement his “secret plan,” can you smell the snake oil, once he’s elected, oh yeah. You can hear the barker at the carney, “step right up and give up your tax money to save the wealthiest from paying taxes, and your rich friends will deign to rain down upon you whatever excess monies they don’t need, even go so far as to hire you middle class folk – although you may have to move offshore to Bangalore to work.” The words of a seeming angel cast a veil over the face of the devil.
Mitt announced his running mate, his doppelganger some say, another nationally unproven tyro from the far right, Congressman Paul Ryan, an Ayn Rand cultist devotee (who rankles at Rand’s atheism but loves her take-no-prisoner Darwinian capitalism). Paul has passed only two bills of his own in Congress in thirteen years, but he’s been busy as a beaver more recently proposing a budget bill the bane of seniors nationwide who fear the loss of Medicare and Medicaid benefits. This was hardly the book move for a presidential candidate, going around scaring the bejesus out of all those retirees in the nation and in Florida – a critical battleground state for the White House. Mitt’s campaign drifted into a current running against him, so he had to “do something.” McCain thought the same thing in 2008.
I truly believe Romney recognized he’d lost the nomination as he wanted it, on his own terms, when he made the (Freudian) slip, announcing Ryan as the “next President of the United States.”
If Romney has a recognizable philosophy, it may not be what he needs to get the nomination.
Romney is a lot like Senator Bob Dole who broke the indoor speed record for crossing the political spectrum, with a Guinness world record of inconsistent policy statements, just like Mitt, from the more neutral shades to far right red to land the nomination. President Bill Clinton then pinned Dole down in the far right corner never letting the Dole of the rightward countenance to move toward the middle where the nation’s votes live in a general election. It was a rout for Clinton that November.
Now, I’m not saying that what Romney has done, in his R1-R2 strategy, will lead to a free fall failure as it did for Dole – I am prepared, however, to watch the bleeding begin.