|Ryan v Biden (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images; Lynne Sladky/AP)|
After Mitt Romney'sutterly brazen Etch-A-Sketch debate performance last week, after which fact checkers labeled most of his claims about his plans as misleading or blatantly false, Biden has his work cut out. He must remind the American public what Romney and Ryan actually stand for.
In this task he already has the ardent support of the nation’s women and seniors. Let’s start with Medicare.
We already know that Ryan says his budget will change Medicare only for people under 55. But studies have shown it also has implications for seniors currently enrolled in traditional Medicare. Specifically, their payments for prescriptions and preventative care would likely rise.
During the debate, President Obama allowed Romney to repeat the falsehood that Obamacare cuts Medicare by $716 billion. Again and again he allowed him to.
So Romney stuck to it and debate moderator Jim Lehrer never troubled to counter him. I doubtBiden will make the same mistake.
The fact is that the $716 billion cut to Medicare that Obama made will reduce payments to hospitals and other health care providers. If Romney and Ryan are able to repeal the law, as they have pledged to do, that would drive up costs for many seniors. So it’s an easy lie to counter, and you can be sure that Biden will.
I don't doubt that most seniors have already got the message about what a Romney/Ryan administration would look like because Ryan was booed all the way through his speech to the AARP.
At this stage there isn't anyone who seriously believes that Romney andRyan would be the better safeguards of senior health, since Romney has already made it quite clear what he thinks of the 47 percent of "dependents" and “victims,” those parasites who befoul our nation.
Where most of us see hard working seniors, veterans and workers struggling in the service economy, Romneysees spongers living high off the welfare hog courtesy of his (we're supposed to believe) high taxes. Romney and Ryan want to show these high living grifters the door, so don't be surprised when that list includes your grandparents.
For women the choice is clear-cut too. Ryan thinks it's appropriate to give your 10-year-old daughter a high powered rifle and have her shoot startled wildlife many times her own size. I'm fairly confident this isn't a widespread and welcome parental activity across the U.S.
But more to the point, Ryan opposes the right to an abortion even in cases of rape and incest, and he worked alongside Tod "Legitimate Rape" Aiken to draft legislation to that effect. The New York Times has called the 2012 RomneyRyan platform "more aggressive in its opposition to women's reproductive rights and to gay rights than any in memory."
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In response Ryansays Romney is on the top of the ticket, and Romney supports rape and incest exceptions, but surely he should have the courage of his own convictions to defend his position rather than defer to his running mate?
It will be interesting to hear both Biden and Ryan talk about their faith, since that has become a qualification for running these days it seems. There's no question that a strong and uncompromising religious objection to abortion resonates with many Christians.
But isn’t it also Christian to be concerned about what happens to the sick and the poor? Isn’t it Christian to embrace them and protect their futures rather than dismiss them as lazy parasites and toss them on the scrap heap of capitalism as Romney and Ryan have assured us they would?
“My job is not to be concerned about those people. The 47 percent who see themselves as dependents,” Romney said.
So are we a Christian nation only until the bill arrives? What kind of Christianity is that exactly?
I think that Ryan will probably alternate between arcane policy lectures and shameless appeals to the plain folks, which always makes him sound as though he lives his life inside the Beltway looking out, and it often bogs him down.
Biden, on the other hand, is a skilled debater with charisma to match. He’s also capable of coning phrases like this: “Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive; any questions?”
For that reason alone I think we should all tune in.