Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage from

Paul Ryan's dangerous vision

By Donna Brazile, CNN Contributor
updated 12:16 PM EDT, Sun August 12, 2012
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, left, jokes with Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan Saturday, August 11, after announcing him as his running mate at a campaign event on the USS Wisconsin in Norfolk, Virginia. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, left, jokes with Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan Saturday, August 11, after announcing him as his running mate at a campaign event on the USS Wisconsin in Norfolk, Virginia.
HIDE CAPTION
Romney and Ryan set as Republican ticket
Romney and Ryan set as Republican ticket
Romney and Ryan set as Republican ticket
Romney and Ryan set as Republican ticket
Romney and Ryan set as Republican ticket
Romney and Ryan set as Republican ticket
Romney and Ryan set as Republican ticket
Romney and Ryan set as Republican ticket
Romney and Ryan set as Republican ticket
Romney and Ryan set as Republican ticket
Romney and Ryan set as Republican ticket
Romney and Ryan set as Republican ticket
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Donna Brazile: Romney's pick of Ryan running mate an embrace of Ryan's radical budget plan
  • She says it's bad news for middle class; plan would hurt seniors, poor, help rich on taxes
  • She says even Catholics object to cuts; ticket's lack of national security experience dangerous
  • Brazile: Romney has shown his vision continues reckless, failed economic theories of the past

Editor's note: Donna Brazile, a CNN contributor and a Democratic strategist, is vice chairwoman for voter registration and participation at the Democratic National Committee. She is a nationally syndicated columnist, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and author of "Cooking with Grease." She was manager for the Gore-Lieberman presidential campaign in 2000.

(CNN) -- The most important decision Mitt Romney has made in his campaign so far, the selection of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan for his running mate, tells us two things -- and neither bears good news for the middle class.

First, Romney has fully and unequivocally embraced the extreme Ryan budget plan. Earlier this year, he called it "marvelous" -- now he's made it his own. The Romney-Ryan plan would throw seniors under the bus and undermine their health security by ending Medicare as we know it. It would increase health care costs for seniors, including those on fixed income, by thousands of dollars a year.

The extreme plan proposed by this year's Republican ticket would bring huge tax breaks to millionaires, paid for by tax hikes on the middle class, and massive cuts to investments that strengthen the middle class -- priorities like education, health care, energy and scientific and medical research. Whether you are a college student trying to pay for school, a veteran worried about your health benefits, or a senior worried about retirement security, the Romney-Ryan plan is bad news. It would have devastating real-world effects on people young and old across the country.

By the numbers: Paul Ryan

Donna Brazile
Donna Brazile

Romney and Ryan have put ideology ahead of what's right. They refuse to increase taxes on the wealthiest Americans under any circumstance -- not another dime, ever. Unlike the Bowles-Simpson deficit reduction plan or the president's balanced plan to reduce the deficit that include asking everyone to pay their fair share, the Romney-Ryan budget would reduce the deficit on the backs of seniors and the middle class.

Even the U.S. Conference of Bishops admonished the Romney-Ryan plan. So did a group of nuns who recently traveled by bus across the country with the message that our budget is not just our country's fiscal map, it is our moral one. They rightly pointed out that, as it says in Corinthians, "If one part suffers, every part suffers with it, if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it."

Ryan: Obama will go negative to win
Where can Ryan help Romney?
Romney introduces Paul Ryan as VP choice
Rep. Paul Ryan up close

On the political front, Ryan's selection is yet another sign that Romney is running to the far right and is the most extreme conservative candidate we have had in generations. The embrace of an ideologue like Paul Ryan may appeal to the Republican Party's Tea Party base, but it will completely alienate independent voters, especially in battleground states.

Opinion: Paul Ryan and Gen X GOP

Seniors in Ohio and Florida have every reason to worry what a Romney-Ryan administration would do to them when Medicare is handed over to private insurance companies and Social Security is subject to the whims of Wall Street. Voters should also consider that, even as our nation faces threats of terrorism and remains at war, for the first time in modern presidential history the Republican ticket lacks any national security credentials. It's no coincidence, then, that its views on national security are dangerous and ill-considered.

Any voter wondering about our leaders' values should consider what they do in the room when the tough decisions are on the table. While President Obama was in the Oval Office, making the toughest calls any president has had to make -- how to save the economy from depression, rescue the American auto industry, bring affordable health care to millions of Americans or take out Osama bin Laden -- Paul Ryan was in a different room.

How Romney campaign kept Ryan tap under wraps

He was sitting side-by-side with fellow House Republican ideologues John Boehner and Eric Cantor as they risked the full faith and credit of the United States, regardless of what it would mean for the middle class, jobs and women's rights.

If there ever was a question about what this election is about, today's announcement answers it. Throughout this campaign, Mitt Romney has lacked a clear vision. Now he's embraced a radical ideologue with a dangerous one. This election is absolutely a choice between two visions for our country's future. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have solidified their roles as rubber stamps for the reckless and failed economic theories of the past.

Watch CNN tonight at 7 and 10 ET for an in-depth look at Paul Ryan and the next steps for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign.

Follow @CNNOpinion on Twitter

Join us at Facebook/CNNOpinion

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Donna Brazile.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan
updated 1:19 PM EDT, Tue August 14, 2012
Paul Ryan joked at the start of a foreign policy speech last year that "it's nice to actually finally get out of my fiscal cocoon and talk about these issues."
updated 9:23 AM EDT, Tue August 14, 2012
For both presidential campaigns, Republican Mitt Romney's choice of Wisconsin congressman and conservative star Paul Ryan as his running mate was like Christmas come early.
updated 10:42 PM EDT, Sun August 12, 2012
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney announced Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his running mate on Saturday.
updated 11:58 AM EDT, Sat August 11, 2012
Mitt Romney took a step many political experts did not think he would -- choosing a controversial and bold running mate and making one of the most important announcements of his campaign at a time many did not expect.
updated 11:45 AM EDT, Tue August 14, 2012
U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin is considered a rising GOP star and the Republican Party's leader on fiscal and budgetary issues.
updated 3:59 PM EDT, Tue August 14, 2012
Romney's choice of Ryan is considered by political observers to be a bold, risky move that could potentially change the dynamic of the Oval Office race. By the numbers, here's a look at Paul Ryan.
updated 11:04 AM EDT, Sat August 11, 2012
Follow Paul Ryan's progress in this interactive timeline from the very beginning to being selected as Romney's VP pick.
Beth Myers has long been Mitt Romney's most trusted political adviser, so it's no surprise that he tasked her with the job of helping him find the right running mate.
As Mitt Romney unveils Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his running mate, questions over the House Budget Committee chairman's budget plan will likely become a hot button debate topic this fall.
updated 10:41 PM EDT, Mon August 13, 2012
Photos of Mitt Romney and his VP pick, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT