(TriceEdneyWire.com) – U. S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who has received consistent Fs on the NAACP Civil Rights report card, is now the Republican Mitt Romney’s pick for vice president.
Voting in agreement with NAACP civil rights issues only 10 percent of the time according to the Report Card for the first year of the 112th Congress, Ryan opposed NAACP-supported issues, including funding support for the Special Supplemental Assistance Program for Women, Infants and Children; continued funding to settle the “Pigford II” racial discrimination lawsuit between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Black Farmers; and support for the Election Assistance Commission.
According to the Report Card, released in April, every Republican in Congress got an F, failing on what the NAACP calls “bread and butter issues” for African-Americans.
Billing themselves as “America’s Comeback Team”, Romney and Ryan first appeared together on Saturday, Aug. 11 in a Norfolk, Va. shipyard.
“His leadership begins with character and values. Paul is a man of tremendous character,” Romney told the cheering audience in front of the USS Wisconsin. “In a city that’s far too often characterized by pettiness and personal attacks, Paul Ryan is a shining exception. He doesn’t demonize his opponents. He understands that honorable people can have honest differences. He appeals to the better angels of our nature.”
Ryan, a seven-term congressman, is known as “an intellectual leader” in the Republican Party, largely due to his fiscal conservatism as chairman of the House Budget Committee and as a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees tax policy, Social Security, health care and trade laws.
In his initial speeches over the weekend, he mostly promoted Romney as “a leader with the skills, the background and the character that our country needs at this crucial time in its history” and criticized President Obama.
“Following four years of failed leadership, the hopes of our country, which have inspired the world, are growing dim. They need someone to revive them. Governor Romney is the man for this moment.”
Preparing to fire back, President Obama, Saturday, quieted a Chicago crowd that booed his first mention of Ryan as Romney’s vice presidential candidate. Obama congratulated Ryan and described him as “a decent man” and “a family man” who will serve as an “articulate spokesman for Governor Romney’s vision.”
But, Obama – who, as a U. S. senator, made straight As on the NAACP Report Card – contrasted his record, explaining to the audience, “It’s a vision that I fundamentally disagree with. My opponent and Congressman Ryan and their allies in Congress, they all believe that if we just get rid of more regulations on big corporations and we give more tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans, it will lead to jobs and prosperity for everybody else. That’s what they’re proposing. That’s where they’ll take us if they win.”
Obama continued, “The centerpiece of Governor Romney’s entire economic plan is a new $5 trillion tax cut, a lot of it going to the wealthiest Americans. This is on top of the Bush tax cuts. Last week we found out that to pay for this $5 trillion tax cut, not only would we see them gut education investments; gut investments in science and research, gut investments in things like rebuilding our roads and our bridges, but it turns out that Governor Romney’s tax plan would also raise taxes on middle-class families by an average of $2,000 each.”
The introduction of Ryan is widely viewed as the firing shot for the last 80 days before the Nov. 6 election in which voters will choose between the Romney-Ryan or the Obama-Biden ticket. Though many African-Americans are disgruntled due to high unemployment rates, President Obama has offset much dissatisfaction with the success of his Affordable Health Care Act, which Romney still vows to repeal despite the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of it.
The historicity of his first Black presidency will likely also play a role in the Black vote. This is coupled with the fact that activists are aggressively arguing that despite economic woes that remain, the conservative fiscal policies of a Romney-Ryan administration would make life worse for African-Americans.
Obama is running slightly ahead of Romney in most polls. But, Democrats are pulling out all stops, including the announcement that former President Bill Clinton, still extremely popular among Blacks, will introduce President Obama at the Democratic National Convention.
Meanwhile, as Ryan’s introduction has apparently revved up the Romney campaign and his conservative Republican base, President Obama is strategically hammering his successes in contrast with Romney’s views:
“And when we saved the auto industry, Mr. Romney said, let’s ‘let Detroit go bankrupt.’ I said let’s bet on American workers. And now the American auto industry has come roaring back. And I believe that manufacturing can come roaring back here in America if we make good choices,” the President said in a private campaign event in Chicago on Sunday, Aug. 12.
Obama continued, “Mr. Romney says, ‘my top priority – the first thing I’ll do is kill Obamacare.’ Well, let me say this. We’ve got 6.5 million young people already who have got health insurance on their parent’s plan because of Obamacare. Seniors are paying lower prescription drug costs now because of Obamacare. Children with preexisting conditions can’t be refused insurance because of Obamacare. And soon, all adults will be able to get health insurance even if they’ve got a preexisting condition, because of Obamacare. We’ve got preventive care for everybody. Insurances can’t drop you. And women are having more control over their health care choices. That was the right thing to do. We’re not going backwards. We’re going forward.”
Hazel Trice Edney is the owner of the TriceEdneyWire.com