Politico calls 78 year old Betty Ryan Douglas "the newest face of the Medicare wars." And she represents a clear and present danger to the Democrats and the Obama campaign.
Mrs. Douglas appeared with her son yesterday at The Villages retirement community as a living symbol that a Romney-Ryan administration would not take seniors' Medicare away from them, as the Democrats have been charging.
The congressman pointed to his mother as an example of how the debate over Medicare is both political and personal in a state with the highest percentage of elderly voters in the country. To voters here today, Betty was a "Medicare senior in Florida," one of the nation's many "snowbirds" that flees colder climes during the winter months for the warmth of places like Florida.
"Medicare was there for our family, for my grandma, when we needed it then, and Medicare is there for my mom while she needs that now, and we need to keep that guaranteed," the 42-year-old House Budget Committee chairman said, describing the experience of being one of the primary caregivers for his grandmother, who suffered from advanced Alzheimer's.
As the vice presidential nominee debuted in Florida, Ryan and his mom - who wore a yellow jacket and white pants - were greeted by several thousand enthusiastic retirees, some who were camped out here for hours to see the mother-son team. Law enforcement officials estimated 3,000 people crowded into the town square, and more spilled onto streets lined with golf carts, the transportation method of choice for most of the community's residents.
Obviously, she must be stopped. She is blunting the Democrat's attacks on the GOP ticket and must be dealt with. Professor Jacobson speculates on how the attacks will take shape:
They'll claim she's being used as a prop. Then they'll try to dig up whatever dirt they can - it won't be anything of substance, but it will be spread quickly. Then they'll hack her e-mail. A friendly government employee will take a peek at tax and other files.
Or maybe they'll go after her because she's a successful businesswoman:
Before the crowd of seniors, Ryan also used his mother's life story to launch a counter-punch on Obama's "you didn't build that" line, prompting the most enthusiastic response from the audience here.
"When my dad died, my mom went back to school, she went back to college, got a new skill or a new trade and she started a small business...We were taking care of my grandma at the time. She was going to school, and then she started this small business," Ryan said. "And mom? Mom? I am proud of you for going out and getting another degree. I am proud of you for the small business that you created and mom, you did build that. That is what America is all about. I am so proud of her for that. I am so proud of her for doing that right in the middle of her life."
Yes, Betty Ryan Douglas is a threat. And it won't be long before the left will try to whittle her down to size.