Memo to Joe Biden and All Concerned Americans About Debate With Radical Zealot Paul Ryan
Beware: Paul Ryan will appear affable. He’s less polished and aggressive than Romney, even soft-spoken. And he acts as if he’s saying reasonable things.If conservative plans for the economy, education, foreign policy, the environment, climate change ( or lack there of) are so wonderful how come conservatives cloak those radical anti-American plans in clouds of double-talk and code words. They're afraid that Americans will see the truth about how radical and utterly devoid of American values those plans are and not vote for them. Romney and Ryan are stealth candidates, trying to portray their deeply anti-progress positions as moderate. Biden and America should not let these wackos get away with such atrocious dishonesty and treacherous agenda.
But under the surface he’s a rightwing zealot. And nothing he says or believes is reasonable – neither logical nor reflecting the values of the great majority of Americans.
Your job is to smoke Ryan out, exposing his fanaticism. The best way to do this is to force him to take responsibility for the regressive budget he created as chairman of the House Budget Committee.
Ryan won’t be able to pull a Romney — pretending he’s a moderate — because the Ryan budget is out there, with specific numbers.
It’s an astounding document that Romney fully supports. And it fills in the details Romney has left out of his proposals. Mitt Romney is a robot who will say and do whatever he’s programmed to do. Ryan is the robot’s brain. The robot has no heart. It’s your job to enable America to see this.
I suggest you hold up a copy of the Ryan budget in front of the cameras. You might even read selected passages.
Emphasize these points: Ryan’s budget turns Medicare into vouchers. It includes the same $716 billion of savings Romney last week accused the President of cutting out of Medicare – but instead of getting it from providers he gets it from the elderly.
It turns Medicaid over to cash-starved states, with even less federal contribution. This will hurt the poor as well as middle-class elderly in nursing homes.
Over 60 percent of its savings come out of programs for lower-income Americans – like Pell grants and food stamps.
Yet it gives huge tax cuts to the top 1 percent – some $4.7 trillion over the next decade. (This is the same top 1 percent, you might add, who have reaped 93 percent of the gains from the recovery, whose stock portfolios have regained everything they lost and more, and who are now taking home a larger share of total income than at any time in the last eighty years and paying the lowest taxes than at any time since before World War II.)
As a result it doesn’t reduce the federal debt at all. In fact, it worsens it.
On top of all this, Ryan is on record – as is Romney – for wanting to repeal both ObamaCare (taking coverage away from 30 million Americans) and the Dodd-Frank law (thereby giving cover to Wall Street).
Your challenge will be get this across firmly and clearly, with an appropriate degree of indignation – on a medium that rewards style over substance, glibness over detail, and optimistic happy talk over grim reality.
My suggestion: Be cheerfully aggressive. Take Ryan on directly and sharply but do so with a smile. Force him to take responsibility for the regressiveness of his budget and the radicalism of his ideology.
Prepare your closing carefully (unlike the President seemed to have done last week), and tell America the unvarnished truth: Romney and Ryan plan to do a reverse Robin Hood at a time in our nation’s history when the rich have never had it so good while the rest haven’t been as economically insecure since the Great Depression.
Their agenda is all the more remarkable in that we have a growing budget deficit to deal with, along soaring healthcare costs and aging boomers without enough to retire on because their net worth went down the drain with their homes.
The fundamental question is whether we’re still all in it together – whether as American citizens we continue to have obligations to one another to assure equal opportunity and help for those who need it – or we’re on our own, without a common bond or a common good. Romney and Ryan represent the latter view, a view utterly at odds with what we have accomplished as a nation.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License
Robert Reich, one of the nation’s leading experts on work and the economy, is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley.
Coal Miner’s Donor - A Mitt Romney benefactor and his surprisingly generous employees.
IT IS BOTH a pundit’s truism and a mathematical reality that Mitt Romney’s path to the White House runs through Ohio. And that path, in turn, runs through a firm called Murray Energy.
Over the years, CEO Robert Murray has brought in GOP pols from as far away as Alaska, California, and Massachusetts for fund-raisers. In 2010, the year John Boehner became House speaker, the firm’s 3,000 employees and their families were his second-biggest source of funds. (AT&T was in first place, but it has nearly 200,000 employees.) This year, Murray is one of the most important GOP players in one of the most important battleground states in the country. In May, he hosted a $1.7 million fund-raiser for Romney. Employees have given the nominee more than $120,000. In August, Romney used Murray’s Century Mine in the town of Beallsville for a speech attacking Barack Obama as anti-coal. This fall, scenes from that event—several dozen coal-smudged Murray miners standing behind the candidate in a tableau framed by a giant American flag and a COAL COUNTRY STANDS WITH MITT placard—have shown up in a Romney ad.
The ads aired even after Ohio papers reported what I was told by several miners at the event, a bit of news that an internal memo confirms: The crowd was not there of its own accord. Murray had suspended Century’s operations and made clear to workers that they were expected to attend, without pay. “I tell ya, you’ve got a great boss,” Romney said in acknowledging Robert Murray from the stage. “He runs a great operation here.”
The accounts of two sources who have worked in managerial positions at the firm, and a review of letters and memos to Murray employees, suggest that coercion may also explain Murray staffers’ financial support for Romney. Murray, it turns out, has for years pressured salaried employees to give to the Murray Energy political action committee (PAC) and to Republican candidates chosen by the company. Internal documents show that company officials track who is and is not giving. The sources say that those who do not give are at risk of being demoted or missing out on bonuses, claims Murray denies.
Republicans claim that anyone who belongs to a union is a thug. Unions have a lot of catching up to do to be as big a thugs as businesses run like Antebellum plantations such as Murray Energy.