The announcement today by Mitt Romney that his Vice-Presidential running mate will be Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin has made headlines, and has certainly stirred up both positive and negative partisan comments, but I find it fundamentally trivial. The recent attack ads by the Obama campaign against Mr. Romney and vice versa are equally trivial, because neither campaign has even begun to address the real issue at stake in this election: the future of America.
Mark Steyn puts his finger on it.
... another four years of the present statist ascendancy will seal America’s fate. As noted here previously, the International Monetary Fund predicts that China will become the world’s dominant economic power by 2016. So the guy elected in November will be the first president since Grover Cleveland to know what it feels like to be the global also-ran. Even this, however, understates the size of catastrophe the United States faces. There are no precedents in history for a great power spending itself to death on the scale America is doing. Obama has added $5 trillion to the national debt, and has nothing to show for it. Do you know how difficult that is to do? Personal debt per citizen is currently about 50 grand, but at least you got a La-Z-Boy recliner and a gas-fired barbecue out of it. Obama has spent America’s future, and left no more trace than if he and his high-school “choom gang” had wheeled a barrow of 5 trillion in large notes behind the gym and used them for rolling paper. Right now, combined total debt in the United States is just shy of $700,000 per family. Add in the so-called “unfunded liabilities” that a normal American business would have to include in its SEC filings but that U.S.-government accounting conveniently absolves itself from, and you’re talking about a debt burden per family of about a million bucks. In other words, look around you: the paved roads, the landscaped shopping mall, the Starbucks and the juice bar and the mountain-bike store . . . There’s nothing holding the joint up.
. . .
Half the country is entirely unaware of the existential threat Obama-sized government represents, and Mitt seems in no hurry to alert them to what’s at stake, save for occasional warnings that if we’re not careful America will end up like Europe. We should be so lucky. The more likely scenario is something closer to the more corrupt and decrepit fiefdoms of Latin America. Look at the underlying assumptions of the Mitt-gives-you-cancer ad — that in America a businessman is somehow responsible not only for his employee’s health, but that of the employee’s family members years after said employee has left said employ. No Euro-socialist would even understand the basis of the attack: In its assumptions about the ever more tortuous and farther flung burdens the state can place upon private business, it is quintessentially American.
This election represents the last exit ramp before the death spiral. (Yes, yes, I know: too long for a campaign button.) Obama has spent the last four years making things worse. More debt, more dependency, more delusion. For Act Two, he’s now touting the auto bailout as a model for . . . everything! “I want to do the same thing with manufacturing jobs, not just in the auto industry, but in every industry.” In the last three years, he has “created” 2.6 million new jobs — a number that does not even keep up with the number of (legal) immigrants who arrive each month. Obama does not “create” jobs, he creates disabled people: In the same period as 2.6 million Americans signed on with new employers, 3.1 million signed on at the Social Security Disability Office. Obama is the first president in history to create more disabled people than workers. He is the biggest creator of disabled people on the planet.
There's more at the link.
I'm not opposed to President Obama because he's a Democrat; I'm opposed to him because he's both utterly incompetent (from a sound management point of view) and frighteningly competent (from a socialist/Marxist point of view). He's also corrupt, dishonest and a statist from head to toe. I'm not opposed to Mitt Romney because he's a Republican; I'm opposed to him because he's as much of a statist as President Obama, albeit from a somewhat different perspective, and panders to the political elite rather than addressing the real needs of the country. I firmly believe that either candidate may (and probably will) lead this country to complete and utter ruin; the only difference is that President Obama can (and probably will) do it within his second term, whilst Mitt Romney may take a few years longer than that, probably leaving the 'end game' to his successor(s). As such, I suppose Mr. Romney represents the lesser of two evils . . . but it's unutterably depressing to have to vote for anyone on the basis of "having the least negatives" rather than "having the most positives".
As for their Vice-Presidential picks, I think Joe Biden (if he remains President Obama's running-mate, which isn't certain) is a bad joke. Paul Ryan appears to have been growing more (and better) informed about US economic realities, but even so, he voted for TARP and other 'big government' initiatives. I've heard that he's changed his views, but I have no evidence to confirm that. I'd like to see him repudiate the views that led him to do so. If he still holds those views, I have little hope that his budget proposals (a good beginning though they are) will be further developed, and/or followed by action in a Romney administration.
As Peggy Noonan pointed out yesterday:
What Americans are worried about, take as a warning sign, and are heavily invested in is California—that mythic place where Sutter struck gold, where the movies were invented, where the geniuses of the Internet age planted their flag, built their campuses, changed our world.
We care about California. We read every day of the bankruptcies, the reduced city services, the businesses fleeing. California is going down. How amazing is it that this is happening in the middle of a presidential campaign and our candidates aren't even talking about it?
Mitt Romney should speak about the states that work and the states that don't, why they work and why they don't, and how we have to take the ways that work and apply them nationally.
Barack Obama can't talk about these things. You can't question the blue-state model when your whole campaign promises more blue-state thinking.
. . .
Both campaigns are afraid of being serious, of really grappling with the things Americans rightly fear. But there's no safety in not being serious. It only leaves voters wondering if you're even capable of seriousness. Letting them wonder that is a mistake.
There's more at the link.
Back in February I pointed out that the US presidential elections are essentially irrelevant.
It no longer matters what either President Obama, or his Republican wannabe challengers, offer as policies for this country. All those policies depend on a functioning economy to underpin them . . . and our economy is teetering on the verge of ceasing to function. We're venturing into uncharted territory, dealing with numbers the like of which the world has never seen. Nobody knows for sure just how bad things might get, because no-one's ever had to deal with these levels of debt before . . . but we can be absolutely sure of one thing. This economic collapse will happen. It's as certain as the sunrise, because not one of the likely Presidential candidates in 2012 is facing this reality, and/or offering any workable solutions for it.
. . .
The only way to stop these consequences is to cut back US government spending, right now, to a level commensurate with its income. However, that isn't going to happen: because the electorate, deprived of its entitlement programs, would immediately vote out of office any and all Congressional representatives, Senators and the President who passed such legislation. Therefore, we're going to go on inching towards the edge of the economic cliff until we completely lose our footing and fall over it.
All the Presidential campaigning that will plague us over the next year is completely and utterly irrelevant if it doesn't take this economic reality into account . . . but it won't. It can't, because none of the likely candidates, from either party, dares to face up to economic reality. They know they would never be elected if they did. As far as the Presidential election is concerned, we are truly screwed.
Our only recourse is to seek out, nominate and elect Congressional representatives and Senators who understand economic reality, and who will have the courage to work towards policies that acknowledge and address that reality. I don't care what party they're from. If they're honest people, who will do what's right, I'll support them. They'll have to understand that if they do the right thing, they'll see the electorate turn against them: but they have to have the moral courage to do it anyway.
That's our task in the coming year. It may not be enough to get us out of this mess . . . but it's the only hope we have.
Again, more at the link.
I've seen nothing thus far to make me change my outlook . . . more's the pity.