Their names have not been on the ballot since 1944 and 1964. FDR died in 1945 and LBJ in 1973 but the ghosts of democrat presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Lyndon Baines Johnson are impacting the 2012 presidential election campaign with such magnitude that they both might as well be on the ballot themselves. The great entitlement legacies of these two mid- 20th century presidents, i.e., FDR’s Social Security and LBJ’s Medicare are now center stage after Mitt Romney named Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan to be his running mate. Both programs having been left virtually unchanged since their inception decades ago, and are now at the root of a fiscal crisis so catastrophic that our economic solvency and super-power status as a nation are genuinely threatened.
But all I hear on the news these days is anger directed at Paul Ryan by voters screaming, “Don’t take away our Medicare” or rally signs reading, “Ryan means Social Security cuts” and talking heads saying, “Ryan is going to fundamentally change Medicare as we know it.”
Where is Romney in all this? Within a few days after announcing the Ryan VP choice, he has become the ever- shrinking front-runner eclipsed by a running mate who is accused by Team Obama and their cohorts in the mainstream media of trying to undermine the entitlement programs left by FDR and LBJ. The race has now become “All Ryan all the time” and Romney’s candidacy has been reduced to nothing more than “Paul Ryan’s plan.”
Simply because Paul Ryan’s budget plan is complicated and will be totally exploited by the Obama campaign, masters of playing on the fears of average Americans — I fear that Romney’s bold choice of selecting Ryan is going to hurt the Romney-Ryan ticket especially with voters who feel the most vulnerable and threatened by any program changes.
This is not good news for Romney, Ryan or their election prospects. It is very difficult to change or even talk about changing entitlement programs that have come to represent the very fabric of America’s social safety net. Facts are not important in any of these arguments. The Obama talking points are all laced with pure emotion because the facts and the numbers of Ryan’s plan are too complicated to explain in a 30 second sound-bite. This only works to Obama’s advantage. Team Obama is chomping at the bit of Ann Romney’s dressage horse to make their case that Paul Ryan’s budget is radical, dangerous, and hurts all of us but especially those who need it most.
These arguments are tailor made for 30 seconds or less. FDR and LBJ will be on the ballot this November, right along side Obama-Biden and Romney- Ryan and that is bad news for all Republicans down the ballot. No matter how devastating the FDR and LBJ programs are to our present and future economy, a majority of Americans will not listen because there is a maxim that overshadows the coming economic tsunami.
Once government gives benefits, government can not take them away.