There’s a sinking sensation we’ve all felt — that moment when something that seemed simple becomes difficult; when confidence turns to uncertainty, then uncertainty turns to panic.
For Democratic operatives, demonizing Paul Ryan was supposed to be easy. Just throw around phrases like “Draconian cuts” and “budget slashing,” then cut an ad with him pushing an elderly woman off a cliff. (Yes, they did.)
But a funny thing happened on the way to this week’s convention. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan appeared together on stage after stage, speaking with substance and seriousness about spending, taxes, Medicare, and America’s fiscal mess — and they’re still standing. As of Wednesday, both Gallup and Rasmussen, the two major national tracking polls, showed the Republicans ahead by 2 points. Recent polls in the blue states of Wisconsin and Michigan put the Republicans within striking distance as well. That kind of stubbornness has begun to drive the left crazy.
At first, overconfidence flowed from what liberals perceived as a “target-rich environment.” Over the years, Paul Ryan has had the audacity to write real legislation to restore long-term stability to Social Security, balance the budget, and reform Medicare. You may not agree with him on every point, but let’s face it: These are issues where most politicians simply pay lip service — or duck altogether.
Democrats’ first line of attack was to scare retirees by claiming that Romney-Ryan would “end Medicare as we know it,” “cut benefits,” or even — gasp! — “voucherize” the system. This despite the fact the Romney would maintain the current Medicare system as an option for all future retirees.
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