My grandfather was a true blue FDR Democrat as were many of his generation, including I might add Ronald Reagan. My grandfather "came of age" during the depression raising a family and like nearly everyone of that generation he struggled just to get by. To that generation of Americans and to some degree their children the whole "social contract" philosophy of governance if not sacristan was at least ingrained.
This predisposition towards government's "social contract" with citizens was reinforced by LBJ's Great Society of the mid sixties so it is not surprising that the idea of any changes to programs like Social Security or Medicare would be anathema to people of that generation.
Democratic politicians doing what Democratic politicians have done for a generation, demagogue any proposals to reform or touch these programs with the assurance that in doing so they will turn elderly voters against any politician who might dare touch the "social contract".
This is why the Democrats and the Obama campaign are all but salivating over Mitt Romney selecting Paul Ryan as his VP nominee. Regardless of the absolute and undeniable need to reform these programs to insure their very existence, they feel that they can turn elderly voters against the Republican ticket especially in key states like Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania all of which have large elderly populations and are critical swing states. Ryan being the primary architect to entitlement reform, the Democrats feel that this is a perfect opportunity to pull out the old tried and true demagoguery stick and beat the Republicans into submission and defeat.
There is just one problem with this strategy, it not only won't work, it will be counter productive, rather than scaring seniors it more likely motivate them in the opposite direction. The fact is the Democrats along with most of the pundit class on both sides is fighting the last war and generals who fight the last war generally loose the one that they are now in.
You see my grandfather died over twenty years ago. The older generation that this trick of "scaring granny" worked effectively on is being replaced by a newer generation of seniors that have neither the life experience or the political views of my grandfather's so called "greatest generation".
This is not all that difficult to see it actually is quite obvious. The fact that talking heads and politician's seem to ignore this obvious change only goes to show how out of touch they truly are with what is going on in the nation they claim to observe and govern.
A simple study of voting patterns would show this to anyone who cared to look, The political make up of older Americans has been trending more and more Conservative and Republican for the last thirty plus years but has begun to accelerate more in the last decade as the "younger elderly" begin to replace the "older elderly" so to speak. In 2000 Gore received 50% of the over 65 vote while Bush got 49% about what you would expect based on both the closeness of the election and the previous Democratic domination with older voters. By 2004, another very close election, but the tide had really begun to turn when it came to older voters, and Bush beat Kerry among the over 65 vote 52% to 47%.
To show how the political leaning of seniors has changed, in 1988 when George H W Bush beat Dukakis by seven points in a near landslide he only carried the over 65 vote. by 1%. The full switch over from Democratic domination of the older vote came in 2008. Whereas George H W Bush could only get 1% of the over 65 vote while winning the election by 7% in 1988, just 20 years later McCain beat Obama by 8% (53-45) among the over 65 voter while loosing the election to Obama by 8%.
Obviously the political leanings of older voters have shifted to the right. After all isn't that what the media and the progressives have been saying for the past three years, the Tea Party is nothing but old white folks? Well it isn't but they do have a very large role in the movement.
At the beginning of the month Fred Newport the editor and chief of Gallup Polling, in discussing the presidential race made the following observation, (emphasis mine)
Obama’s core support comes from nonwhites, young people, those with postgraduate educations, those with very low incomes, those who are not religious, those who are not married, and women. Romney’s core support comes essentially in the obverse groups -- in particular, whites, older Americans, the very religious, and those who are married.
Polling for years has shown that older Americans are trending more to the right than the general population. Obama's lowest approval ratings are always among the elderly. Just one example, without getting into the specifics of the poll itself, is the most recent IBD/TIPP poll which shows Obama up by 7 (46-39) over Romney nationally, but among those over 65 Romney leads 49-40, and all polling has reflected this for some time.
Virtually every poll you see that shows the breakdown by age shows Romney not only ahead with older voters, he generally is far ahead. This isn't just some national trend it is true in the battleground states as well. In a recent Survey USA poll of Florida shows Obama leading (48-43) but loosing to Romney by 10% among those over 65 (53-43)
So not only is Obama least popular among the elderly, Romney's greatest support is among the elderly both in individual states and nationally. Not only that but last month Rasmussen Report showed that Paul Ryan's favorably among over 65 voters was 52/29, that is 52 favorable.
The reason for this is obvious, like my grandfather who "came of age during the FDR years, the current crop of seniors "came of age" during the Reagan Revolution, and they have not forgotten what they learned. Consider this, anyone today between the age of 60 and 80 in 1980 was between the ages of 28 and 48, the prime of their lives. Increasingly today;s seniors were the ones who benefited most and saw first hand what supply side economics can do for an economy and their Reagan generation 401K's. Today's seniors not only remember the Reagan Revolution they were the ones who voted it into affect, they were the Reagan Revolution.
So Obama and the Democrats now think that these same people who lived and experienced what they (Progressives) are now trying to destroy are going to suddenly to be demagogued into voting for them? I don't think so. The Ryan pick intensifies today's seniors support for Romney not diminishes it, Ryan is a Reagan Republican where Romney was always suspect.
Even right leaning pundits seem to be blind to the fact that the the elderly voters in America are actually the least likely to be swayed by the attacks about to be unleashed, once again, against common sense. As I said the Democrats and much of the media is living in a political world that has past them by, they are trying in affect to scare dead grandmas. Unfortunately for them today's grandma's carry signs and vote overwhelmingly Republican.