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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

campaign 3: Truth to POWER

The Ryan choice indicated a level of seriousness on the part of the Republicans and I wondered whether it would last.  The first day of their convention indicates that it will.

We have serious fiscal problems.  We have a bigger government than we have been paying for.

There are basically two obvious solutions both of which carry pain:  Pay more taxes to provide for the government benefits (SS and Medicare mainly) or reduce the benefits provided by the government.
(Of course a reasonable person can imagine many combination of parts of each, but we are looking for the essence of the disagreement from which sides are the two parties coming.)

My understanding is that:
The Rs would like to solve the problem by reducing the size of the government which means cutting the benefits.

The Ds would like to solve the problem by maintaining the benefits which which means increasing taxes and therefore the size of the government.

Until recently neither side has been willing to speak that truth to POWER.  In this case the POWER is the great middle class which loves those benefits and hates those taxes. The states have similar problems and in that venue (NJ, Wisconsin, Ohio) the Rs have recently been telling the people what the situation is and offering their solution and with it the pain.  It has been working.
When, on the national scene, Paul Ryan touched the third rail of medicare and proposed revising it = reducing benefits.  When told that it would ruin him, Ryan said, "There are some things that are more important than winning elections."

It appears that Romney is not going to play it safe.  He is going to tell the truth to POWER.

I was at a party about a year ago and told a solid Obama supporter that I wished that Obama would advocate serious taxes (not for immediate implementation) to pay for the social programs that we all three support.  He thought that was ludicris and laughed heartily.

I do not think that the democrats are up to telling their truth to POWER.


  1. Only problem with this is consistency. Romney/Ryan may now say that they want to cut the size of government, but both have voted to expand it greatly in the past (Romney with Romneycare in MA; Ryan with two wars, the first bailout, and the Dept. of Homeland Security). They can speak truth to power, but only after they acknowledge their own hubris concerning their backing of past government expansion.

    1. I thought Romney began his time in MA with a debt and ended with a surplus.

      The point here is that he made a clear statement. There will be plenty of time for specifics later.

      I disagree with the hoop that you would have him jump through. The only prerequisite to speaking truth to power is courage.

  2. Michael makes a very valid point about Romney and Ryan not having admitted complicity in getting us (US) where we are. And as sad as the absence of a “mea culpa” may be, truth to power is still a departure from politics as normal and I would suggest a positive departure.

  3. One could argue that just because someone is saying something that is true doesn't mean they are being honest. I would like to see some real specifics about what Romney will do to address these serious problems about which he and his party has spoken so much and with such great fervor this week. One can rail against the evils of deficit spending and get standing ovation after standing ovation. Everybody, including the Democrats have agreed that the deficit spending cannot continue indefinitely. But no one has shared their specifics along with the arithmetic. I would vote for the guy that would stand up in front of America and say "this is where we are and this is where we want to be, and here are the specific things (specific specifics please) that we should do to get there (and show your work)". Even Ryan's budget is a little short on specifics when it comes to the really hard stuff. So far it seems to me that the Republicans are saying "trust us, we know what we're doing."

    Chris Christy looks like he would be a real go getter and would probably beat the first guy who disagreed with him with a baseball bat just to show how serious he is. I'm sure he wouldn't but I kind of get that vibe.