Americans don’t really like what they see in Rep. Paul Ryan as the new GOP vice-presidential candidate, and that gives President Obama and other Democrats an important chance to define the Minnesota Republican in the eyes of voters.
A new Gallup poll finds just 39 percent who think Ryan is an “excellent” or “pretty good” vice presidential choice. In the USA Today story about the poll, even a Romney pollster admits Ryan is not well-known among Americans.
That lack of identity provides Democrats a perfect opportunity to paint a negative picture of Ryan, the powerful chairman of the House Budget Committee best-known for a deeply conservative federal budget proposal which would essentially privatize Medicare.
That’s just what Democrats and their allies are doing.
“Congressman Ryan laid the groundwork in Congress for Mitt Romney’s budget-busting scheme that gives an additional $250,000 tax cut for millionaires while punishing middle-class families with tax hikes of up to $2,000 a year. This tried and failed trickle-down economics scheme is familiar and troubling: cuts to education and other job creating initiatives, ending Medicare as we know it and saddling our seniors with the bill all to pay for more tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires,” says Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, the chairwoman of the Democratic Party. “And I can say with no doubt, middle class families and seniors in my home state of Florida want no part of a Romney-Ryan economic scheme that puts millionaires ahead of Medicare and throws the middle class under the bus to give more tax breaks to the wealthy.
“The American middle-class and our seniors cannot afford to go back to the failed policies of the past, and it is unconscionable to ask them to foot the bill for the Romney-Ryan scheme. A Romney-Ryan ticket is sure to take us back and repeat the same catastrophic mistakes that got us into the mess we found ourselves in in the first place.”
The Democrats’ allies in organized labor are saying the same thing.
“The Ryan budget has been described as ‘reverse Robin Hood on steroids.’ It will increase poverty and inequality more than any other budget in modern times — and possibly in the history of this great country,” says Jim Hoffa, president of the Teamsters union. “Romney said the Ryan budget is “an excellent piece of work” and “very much needed.” He is wrong. The Romney-Ryan vision is the last thing America needs.”