The battle lines are now clearly drawn for the US 2012 presidential election campaign. It is clear that a game of hardball is going to be played out with both, the Republican and Democratic sides holding diametrically opposing views. The announcement by Republican candidate Mitt Romney, of his running mate, makes it clear that he intends to go all out after President Barack Obama’s team and its policies. The announcement of Paul Ryan as the vice-presidential candidate puts the most hard line side of the Republican Party on centre stage. Ryan, who has headed the Senate budget committee, is a strong opponent of the Medicare and Medicaid programmes, reforms which formed a central part of Obama’s domestic policies in the last electoral battle. Ryan has made it clear that he opposes the changes and wishes to see less government spending on providing medical aid to those who do not have insurance. This would, of course, leave some of the poorest Americans out in the cold. Obama has already described the strategies Ryan advocates as “social Darwinism” leaving only the toughest and most able to survive. This, of course, in the present context means the rich or the relatively rich.
The picture then is now spread out before us. As was largely the case in 2008, domestic policies and the question of the state’s role in caring for those most in need will form a central point of the 2012 campaign as well. While the healthcare issue had always seemed likely to form a part of the campaign, with Ryan’s nomination, it now stands at the foreground of the contest.
By making the long-awaited announcement regarding his running mate, Romney has signalled that he has no intention of holding back. Obama will be equally determined to defend the changes he has introduced, which according to him, were aimed at assisting those Americans who have no voice. He will now need to see if these persons, and others who share his views, can lend him the same kind of support they offered four years ago and keep a Democrat in the White House for another term.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 13th, 2012.