Saturday, August 11, 2012

Breaking News: Mitt Picks Ryan (August 11, 2012)

Mitt Romney selected Representative Paul Ryan of Minnesota as his running mate this morning, eschewing the safer "P" picks (Portman and Pawlenty) and going with a true, risky impact pick.  Ryan, famous for his Budget proposal that has solid Republican backing, is Tea Party red meat.  Clearly Romney is calculating that he can win a "base versus base" election and is using the Ryan pick to regenerate his flagging campaign with an appeal to the right.  The question is, will this fire up the left as well?  And it is pretty clear that independents, who already are beginning to sway to Obama, will not be swooning over Ryan any time soon.  So the famously analytical Romney clearly did his homework and came up with some daring calculus.

Ryan will help Romney drive the deficit argument, or, on a higher plane, define most starkly the so-called alternative vision for America.  He's young, smart, vital, intense but also quite appealing on a personal level.  He has a good back story, a reputation for integrity, and is an attractive politician.  He may even bring Wisconsin into play.

Apart from semi-abandoning independents, the big gamble, in my view, is among seniors.  Romney currently leads Obama by 10 points (51-41, according to Gallup) among the 65+ group.  Ryan wants to replace Medicare as we know it with a "voucher" program that would subsidize current Medicare payments.  This would likely cost more money to seniors if health care costs rise faster than voucher allocations (that, in fact, is why it costs so much is passing on those costs to seniors).  While this would not affect today's seniors (if enacted, it would apply only to those under 55), any whiff of Medicare cuts of any kind is anathema to that demographic (and probably the 50-64 one as well), and therefore Romney risks mightily his strong support among them.  And count on the Obama team to paint the Ryan budget in the worst possible light on this one.

Ryna will hurt Romney with his support of Obama's auto industry bailout plan and he has been a harsh critic of RomneyCare as practiced in Massachusetts, and these views will trigger some uncomfortable debate moments for him and Romney.

But the bottom line:  with this pick, our divided country will be provided with the clearest possible choice in November.  This is not a play to the middle, it's a doubling down on the right.

A friend, a Democrat, sent me this assessment this morning, worth passing on:

Actually think it's a good pick. At least we will be talking about some of the right issues. Hopefully the Dems will not continue to run away from having a plan re: entitlement reform. But most of all, it's a great alliterative choice, which is usually worth at least 2 points.



  1. It is a good pick for Romney.
    And for right wing social engineers everywhere.

    1. Newt Gingrich couldn't have said it better himself! (As Steve well knows, Newt attacked the Ryan budget plan when it came out for being "social engineering." He was forced to back down on this criticism by the enraged right at the time.)

  2. Hey boys & girls,
    I submit the following for your re-consideration

    - He's a young gun, a man with a plan to turn around a bad situation
    - He's data obsessed, into politics
    - Grew up close to his family & stayed there
    - Able to explain complex ideas in simple plain language
    - An "upbeat budget cutter"
    - Willing to modify his position and keep coming back
    - Smiles while saying the most difficult truths....

    I mean - who does he remind you of? Before I actually went there, I thought Briarcliff Manor was in Wisconsin .....

    My references? These two well known right-wing publications -


    1. Wait, we're going to massively curtail goverment spending, implement severe austerity measures, cut taxes for the wealthiest while raising them for the middle class and working poor; all of this while the economy is still fragile and slowly recovering from the fiscal disaster caused by 8 years of George W. Bush and his Republican policies? Brilliant! (Sounds like Herbert Hooverism is alive and well on the right-wing ideological spectrum)


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