Thursday, August 30, 2012

Eddie Haskell for Veep

The Republican Party has gone to great lengths to inspire a longing for “the good ol’ days” with their rhetoric about small towns and their imagery filled with 1950s nostalgia, a time of perfection (unless you were a minority or paying the top individual rate of 90%).  Now they have completed the dreamscape for Americans.  The GOP has nominated Eddie Haskell for the Vice Presidency of the United States.

Paul Ryan’s hair style may inspire more comparisons to Eddie Munster, but his antics are all Eddie Haskell.  For the uninformed, Eddie Haskell was Wally Cleaver’s weasel of a best friend on the iconic Leave It To Beaver show.  Eddie was a polite and obedient young man when speaking to an audience, particularly Mr. and Mrs. Cleaver.  There was a dark side to Eddie, however.  Eddie could be relied upon to connive and instigate schemes with his friends — schemes for which his ‘friends’ would be in the position to shoulder the blame.  Parents loved Eddie, but his friends knew his real motives, and so did we if we watched and listened.

Substitute Father Episode (1961):

Wally Cleaver:  [at the bottom of the staircase, calling out to his mother upstairs] Hey, Mom!
June Cleaver: Yes, Wally.

Wally Cleaver: Could Eddie spend the night here?

June Cleaver: Not while your father's away.

Eddie Haskell: [dejected] Boy.  Everybody around here is wise to me.  I might just have to move to a new town and start all over.

After the Wizard of Wisconsin’s rousing speech last night, I can only hope that some people will start to get “wise to him”.  I cannot argue that it was not a political tour de force, or that Biden shouldn’t be worried.  The guy is a gifted politician.  Once you peel back Eddie’s please and thank you’s, however, we find a bit more truth, and the truth (not a Romney-Ryan administration) will set us free.  Cleaver family, pay attention:

“Seven hundred and sixteen billion dollars, funneled out of Medicare by President Obama. An obligation we have to our parents and grandparents is being sacrificed, all to pay for a new entitlement we didn’t even ask for. The greatest threat to Medicare is Obamacare, and we’re going to stop it.”

Ryan neglected to mention his solution on Medicare – privatize the program with vouchers that would not, by design, keep up with health care inflation, effectively ending the guarantee of Medicare.  The guarantee would remain in place…if you could afford it, old man.  Haskell forgot to add that his budget numbers for Medicare include the same $716 billion cut, but the money doesn’t go to insure more folks.  It goes for tax cuts for the wealthy and deficit reduction.  Obama’s program cuts payments to doctors and hospitals, and the industry was at the table when those plans were written.  Ryan cuts benefits by making the program unaffordable for people.

As for Obama being the threat to Medicare, it was only a year ago that the Ryan Plan proposed the end of traditional Medicare for beneficiaries after the year 2022.  He was pressured to add a public option back into his plans.  Who is the threat, Eddie? 
“They’ve run out of ideas.  Their moment came and went. Fear and division are all they’ve got left.”

This is from the campaign that continues to run a series of welfare ads against Obama that even their own campaign staff and surrogates admit is untrue.

“A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that GM plant. Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said: “I believe that if our government is there to support you … this plant will be here for another hundred years.”  That’s what he said in 2008.  Well, as it turned out, that plant didn’t last another year.  It is locked up and empty to this day.”

Paul Ryan is a lawyer, and this line of attack has a whiff of truth.  The plant is in fact closed.  Obama is in fact President.  Ryan doesn’t say that the plant closed during the Obama regime, he merely implies it (it closed during Bush’s reign).  Not a lie, but pretty crafty, and worthy of the new Eddie Haskell.

“It began with a housing crisis they alone didn’t cause; it ends with a housing crisis they didn’t correct.”

Haskell’s running mate originally responded to the housing crisis with, “Don’t try to stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom.”  Then, his ‘leadership skills’ must have kicked in, and his position became “The idea that somehow this is going to cure itself by itself is probably not real. There’s going to have to be a much more concerted effort to work with the lending institutions and help them take action, which is in their best interest and the best interest of the homeowners.”  So now Romney favors government intervention.  Apparently, so does Haskell.  Don’t tell the Cleavers!

“It began with a perfect Triple-A credit rating for the United States; it ends with a downgraded America.”

Standard & Poors downgraded the country’s sovereign debt rating in 2011 because congressional Republicans, of which Ryan is a key leader, threatened not to increase the country’s borrowing authority — risking a default on the debt — unless Democrats agreed to slash trillions of dollars from domestic social programs and investments and igore any attempts to raise taxes on the wealthy.  Ryan even suggested that the country’s creditors would forgive default for “a day or two or three or four” as long as Democrats ultimately agreed to GOP demands.

“He created a bipartisan debt commission. They came back with an urgent report.  He thanked them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing.” 

Ryan sat on that commission. He voted against it. Following his lead, so did the panel’s other House Republicans.  There was no Google search back in the original Eddie Haskell’s day, but now we can quick see how disingenuous this charge against Obama really is with a few mouse clicks.

“They have no answer to this simple reality: We need to stop spending money we don’t have.”

Dick Cheney said “Deficits don’t matter.”  Ryan voted for a prescription drug benefit without a mechanism to pay for it; 2 wars without the means to pay for them; TARP without a means to pay for it; the Bush tax cuts that continue to drag on the economy.  His credibility has to be questioned here. 

“College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life.”

Good zinger, worthy of Sarah Palin’s address in 2008.  Why didn’t Ryan suggest that these kids do what Mitt Romney suggested, borrow money from their parents to start a business?  That worked for Mitt, so it should work for them, too.

“And the greatest of all responsibilities, is that of the strong to protect the weak.”

In order to better protect the weak, two-thirds of the spending cuts in Ryan’s budget impact low income earners.  His plan counts on the captains of industry voluntarily helping the poor, or hoping all of the poor become rich, healthy and white as soon as possible.  Otherwise, his theory must be that what won’t kill the poor will make them stronger.

“And I’m going to level with you…”

Doesn’t really matter what comes after that sentence beginning, does it? (and that’s bipartisan, by the way)

Ward Cleaver once remarked that "[Eddie] is so polite, it's almost un-American".   That might be a bit extreme for Paul Ryan, but the nominee’s politeness should make you suspicious about his real motives.

Good luck tonight, Mitt.  Eddie Haskell has raised the likability bar, so you’ve got quite a jump to make.

As Steve Benen reported, “CNN's Wolf Blitzer said he counted "seven or eight" claims that "fact checkers will have some opportunities to dispute," but concluded the lies didn't matter because it was "a powerful speech" that gave Republicans what they "were hoping for." 

Guess they were hoping to be fooled by Eddie Haskell.

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