Romney, Ryan and 
Republicans in Tampa

The presidential election campaign moves into high gear this week when the Republican national convention gets under way in Tampa, Fla., Monday.

Perhaps you think the campaign has already been in overdrive, what with the barrage of election ads Coloradans have been treated to the past couple months because we are residents of a key swing state. Well, consider this:

Until he has formally received the GOP nomination, Mitt Romney has been restricted in spending much of his $186 million campaign war chest. The nomination vote is to occur Monday, and after that the floodgates will open.

But neither this week’s Republican convention nor the Democratic one to be held the following week in Charlotte, N.C., offer any real drama. As long-time Daily Sentinel political reporter Mary Louise Giblin Henderson notes on the facing page, it’s not like the old days, when there were heated floor fights and back-room negotiations over nominations both for president and vice president.

Now, anticipation is limited to how well candidates Romney and Paul Ryan will perform on the big national stage, and whether Ron Paul supporters or Hurricane Isaac will cause the greatest disruption at the convention.

Pundits, of course, will be listenting intently for any sort of gaffe by candidates or political operatives they can use to enliven their news reports.

Delegates to the convention should have little trouble getting some news coverage of their own. According to the Republican National Convention website, there are 2,286 official delegates and roughly 15,000 credentialed media members — a ratio of almost seven to one.

National political conventions may not be what they once were. But they present a huge opportunity for the key contestants in our quadrennial national election to tell us why we should vote for them — using something other than 30-second sound bites.

So, most of us will watch and listen, deciding or confirming our previous decisions, knowing a deluge of new advertisements is coming soon.


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The Daily Sentinel deserves kudos for publishing conservative columnist David Brooks’ disclosures – “Ryan’s biggest mistake was failing to back Simpson-Bowles” on Sunday, particularly given its related editorial – “Stumbling toward the fiscal cliff” – last week.

Brooks’ explanation of Paul Ryan’s “mistake” is particularly revealing because of what it assiduously evades – Republicans’ ongoing ideologically-driven obstructionism.

Thus, first, President Obama “established a debt commission” (co-chaired by Republican Simpson and Democrat Bowles) after six Republican sponsors in the Senate voted against their own bill (already passed by the House) – because Obama embraced their good idea!

Second, while “the Simpson-Bowles plan would have simplified the tax code and lowered rates”, it also raised revenues by “closing loopholes”.  Brooks obfuscated by omission the fact that anti-tax extremist Grover Norquist decried this proposal as “tax increases” and demanded that all signatories of his oxymoronic “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” (including “Representatives” Scott Tipton and Ryan) reject it.

Third, Ryan voted “no” based on partisan political calculus – not “intellectually coherent reasons”, but incorent ideological ones—claiming as his excuse the commission’s failure to address “the unsustainable growth of Medicare” (which his “budget” would eventually convert from a defined benefit to an undefined contribution plus “voucher” program).

But, contrary to Brooks’ assertion, while the Simpson-Bowles commission declined to “restructure Medicare” as Romney-Ryan would, neither did it “sidestep health care issues generally”.  Rather, it accepted CBO projections that “Obamacare” reduces future deficits (and thus the accumulating debt) and prolongs the actuarial sustainability of Medicare.

Moreover, that plan retained “Obamacare’s” $716 billion in Medicare cost reductions (i.e., “cost savings”, not “benefit cuts”), recommended consideration of a “public option”, and urged increasing the Independent Payment Advisory Board’s authority (which Ryan mischaracterizes as a “rationing board of faceless bureaucrats” – i.e., “Death Panel” – in his stump speech).

So much for intellectual honesty – much less “coherency”.

              Bill Hugenberg
              543 Rim Drive
              Grand Junction, CO 81507

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