With national electoral maps showing almost no path to victory for the GOP in November, it wasn't surprising this weekend to see Mitt Rmoney shift into Hail Mary mode by naming Paul Ryan as his running mate. It's reminiscent of John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin, a desperate move, fraught with risk, especially in swing states like Florida and North Carolina. But it's worse than you think for Rmoney ... and Pat McCrory too.
Most analyses of Mitt Romney's capitulation to the Tea Party suggest it was a move designed to energize his languishing base. And among the 10% of Americans who consider themselves extremely conservative, it is clearly having that effect. For the neo-nationalist Tea Party, nothing matters more than cutting taxes, not even sacred contracts between a government and its people. Ryan is delivering just what Rmoney wanted: blood lust among the rabid right.
But among the other 90% of Americans, ranging from conservative to moderate to extremely liberal, the consequences of Ryanizing the GOP are already taking a toll ... that can be summed up in one word: Medicare.
As anyone who has studied Ryan's fiscal strategy knows, his budget balancing model depends on eliminating Medicare as we know it. Killing it to save it, so to speak. And while that may sound like Obama campaign happy talk, it's actually a devastating problem for the entire GOP in 2012.
People who understand Medicare, understand that the program is essentially health insurance that has been paid for by beneficiaries over the course of their working lives. Like Social Security, Medicare is an earned benefit, not an entitlement. Paul Ryan wants to unilaterally renegotiate that benefit for American retirees so that Mitt Rmoney millionaires can pay less in taxes.
With more than 1.5 million retirees already living in North Carolina, and another 2 million baby boomers on the cusp of retirement, a candidate proposing to cut the heart out of Medicare has nowhere to go but down. All of which creates another big problem for Pat McCrory.
Mr. McCrory has already endorsed Mitt Romney, and for good reason. The two men have a lot in common. They're both rich, they're both secretive, and they both have a deep disdain for the lives of the regular people they seek to govern. Indeed, McCrory and McRmoney will campaign together on a shared vision for the future. That shared vision includes a sharp slap in the face to every adult under the age of 55. That shared vision says it's more important for America to give bigger tax breaks to millionaires than to honor its legal commitments to average citizens.