Saturday, August 18, 2012

It's About Time

Last week, when Gov. Romney named Rep. Paul Ryan as his VP pick, the left predictably went nuts.  They immediately pulled out all the stops in an attempt to define Mr. Ryan as "radical" and an "extremist" who wanted to cut benefits to the sick and the old, while "giving tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires". 

Even President Obama piled on, after once saying that Mr. Ryan's proposals for taxes, budgets and restructuring Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security--while not something he would agree with--were serious suggestions worthy of debate.  Now, apparently, not so much.

With the choice of Ryan as his potential VP,  Mr. Romney has signaled just how serious he believes the upcoming election to be.  Some say he made a mistake in choosing someone who could outshine the top of the ticket.  True leaders, however, always surround themselves with the best personnel they can find.  As with the late Ronald Reagan, they don't care who gets the credit as long as the job gets done.

While I don't agree with every position and vote by Mr. Ryan--or Gov. Romney--I have to say that I think the agitators on the left are missing something.  Namely, that the choice of Ryan as a VP candidate could potentially bode well for them.  I happen to think that Gov. Romney did all of us--Republican/Conservative, Democrat/Liberal/Progressive, & Independent--a great favor.

The addition of Paul Ryan to the electoral equation almost immediately began to shift the debate away from the more ridiculous back and forth mud slinging between the parties to more substantive discussions about the fiscal mess we're in and specific plans to get us back on track as a nation. 

What are we going to do about the looming insolvency of our social safety nets?  Social Security will be insolvent by 2035 (or sooner), Medicare is projected by the administration's own actuaries to go bankrupt in 12 years.  These are structural issues that need to be addressed with specifics, not vague assurances that somehow it'll get handled.  Sometime.  By some estimates,  spending on social programs combined with the interest payments on the growing federal debt will total nearly 90% of current federal spending by 2040!  That won't leave a whole lot for the day to day operation of the country (roads, bridges, defense, education, etc.).

With  Obama/Biden v Romney/Ryan,  America finally has a clear choice between two distinctly different visions for the future of America.  We haven't seen such a clear contrast since Reagan v Carter in 1980.

Whichever side of the ideological fence you happen to be on, this is very good news.  With such clear differences between the two campaigns as to the best ways to address our current problems and move forward into a more prosperous future there should be absolutely no room for ambiguity.  It's not a choice between "A" and "A light".

The candidates have done the easy part.  It's up to the voting public to do the heavy lifting.  We've got about 10 weeks until election day.  The rhetoric will become even more heated, the charges and counter-charges even more outrageous.  Hyperbole won't be the least of it.  It's up to all of us to do our jobs and do our due diligence when deciding who to vote for. 

Don't simply take any politician's word at face value.  Fact check.  Follow up. 

Listen to--and remember--what they say.  Watch what they do.  We all know they can talk the talk, how good are they at "walking the walk"?  Are they giving a consistent message?  Or do they subtly change their positions depending on the audience and the situation?

Pay attention.  There will be a test in November.  We had the mid-terms in 2010, the final exam is upon us.

If this is too much to ask, if it's too much trouble to do a little research on the candidate's positions to compare the claims/charges with the realities, if you are going to base your vote on 30-second sound bites, if you are going to vote against either candidate as opposed to voting for one of them, please, PLEASE do the rest of us and the country a favor.........

Stay home.

If you're not willing to do the minimum necessary to become an informed part of the electorate, you're not competent to hold an opinion.  America's future is too important to be put into the hands of the uninformed, the lazy, and the willfully ignorant.

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