Romney’s Hope: The Ryan Pick

Like most of us, I move between several different worlds. At work, we don’t talk politics because it violates the rules of acquisition. On line, I read about politics all the time with an assortment of moderate to radical progressives. Among my extended stepfamilies and theatre friends are a great many socially progressive LGBT folk. My wife’s family is blue collar — some progressive union folk, some in the religious right. My parents and siblings are mostly in the thrall of the Tea Party. So I hear a wide variety of opinions about the same events.

At dagblog, all the bright fellows immediately decried Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan for his vice presidential running mate as a very weak choice. Articleman had a long list:

The Many, Many Ways Mitt Romney Blew the Race Today

… I am very pleased to report to you, dear readers, the many, many ways Mitt Romney blew the race for the White House today.

First, Ryan is an illogical pick based on geography, as Romney is unlikely to gain Wisconsin by picking him. …
Second, and more importantly, Ryan blows Florida for Romney, which is a death blow to his campaign. …
Third, Romney lost a chance to play against type and redefine himself. …
Fourth, Romney gave Obama the center. …
Fifth, Romney listened to the idiot bloggers. …
Sixth, Romney may have given the House back to Obama. …
Seventh, Romney made the choice from weakness, reinforcing a narrative of his inevitable loss. …
Eighth, Romney gave away what the primaries were about — his supposed electability. …
Ninth, the House of Representatives is about as popular as diphtheria, and the Tea Congress in particular has a voting record that is largely toxic with the independent voter in a national election. …

Oxy Mora saw the pick as an admission of weakness:

Paul Ryan and the age of selfishness

Why Paul Ryan was picked seems pretty clear to me. Romney was losing and he was being hammered by the right wing of his own party, without which support he couldn’t even win the Republican base, let alone the middle of the electorate. Romney’s Freudian slip that Ryan “is the next President of the United States” helps confirm, to my mind, that as a party, and given that Romney was losing, the future of the party itself was a major ingredient in the pressure Romney was receiving and his final V.P decision.

Flavius saw it as a game changer — for the Democrats:

Goodbye Paul Ryan

Now I think we’ve got a shot. Mitt didn’t pick a Rubio who could have guaranteed Florida, Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada. Or a Haley or that woman from New Hampshire who could have given him 5 additional points among woman.

He’s picked the equivalent of the Grinch Who Stole Christmas.

After a few days reading negative post after negative post about Ryan, I attended a family wedding. On facebook and in person, my Tea Party siblings were ecstatic at Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan. They didn’t really want Mormon Romney any more than they wanted Mavericky McCain, but were prepared to hold their noses and vote for him. Now the women are almost as excited about Paul Ryan as the men were about Sarah Palin. Palin was a disastrous choice, of course, but is Ryan?

Andrew Sullivan was also less-than-thrilled with the Ryan choice, but while he’s on vacation, Dish staffers have cited some countervailing pieces. Ross Douthat was not a fan of the pick, but writes that there may be advantages:

Why Paul Ryan?

1) Ryan is a formidable political talent. Three years ago, the congressman was well-known only to his conservative admirers, and his plans for reforming entitlements were so radioactive that only Democrats wanted to talk about them. Today, the Ryan budget is the congressional G.O.P.’s governing agenda, and Ryan himself is a darling of the Beltway media. …

2) Ryan will help Romney govern. If the Republican ticket triumphs in November, having Ryan on-side will help Romney, a non-Washingtonian, navigate the complexities of Capitol Hill. But here it’s important to keep in mind that Ryan is an ideologue and a Beltway wheeler-dealer, …

3) Ryan fits the demographic profile Romney was looking for. This is an election that will be won or lost for Republicans among swing voters, many of them Catholic, in the Midwest and Old Northwest. Ryan is a Catholic politician from Wisconsin, a state that the Romney campaign has some hope of tipping into its column in November, and there’s at least some polling evidence that a Romney-Ryan ticket would overperform in the Badger State. …

Jon Chait thinks Ryan will be formidable:

It’s Paul Ryan’s Party: With Romney VP Pick, Movement Conservatives Openly Control GOP at Last

Romney has made the risky but defensible calculation that, if he is to concur with most of his party’s ideological baggage, he might as well bring aboard its best salesman. And Ryan is that. During his rise to power he has displayed an awesome political talent. He is ambitious but constantly described by others as foreswearing ambition. He comes from a wealthy background but has defined himself as “blue collar,” because he comes from a place that is predominantly blue collar. He spent the entire Bush administration either supporting the administration’s deficit-increasing policies, or proposing alternative policies that would have created much higher deficits than even Bush could stomach, but came away from it with a reputation as the ultimate champion of fiscal responsibility.

Bob Cesca, whom I found a year ago through Chez Pazienza, is the first one I’ve read who thinks Ryan was a very smart choice. I wonder if Pazienza agrees? Cesca is an admitted Obamabot, so he may be trying to warn against complacency, but he makes the good point that Ryan has always been successful in Washington:

Paul Ryan Was the Smart Choice

If Sarah Palin represents the most irresponsible decision John McCain and the Republican Party had ever made, the selection of Paul Ryan seems like a no-brainer smart choice for Mitt Romney.

The press is deferential to Ryan because he comports himself as a very serious budget wonk … he’s another “central casting” Republican presidential stereotype who will ultimately run circles around Romney on the campaign trail unlike, say, Chris Christie who probably wouldn’t have survived the rigors of a national campaign; and he hails from a swing state.

Credit where credit is due, Romney could’ve picked a fire-eater like Santorum, Gingrich or Christie and he went with someone who is absolutely the opposite of Sarah Palin. Paul Ryan is wrong on everything, but he’s not a moron.

Ryan will scare middle class independents who can see what his plan to dismantle Medicare and Social Security entails for them down the road, but except for foreign policy experience, he brings a lot of political proficiency to the Romney campaign, and takes the pressure off Romney to satisfy the base. Does he win the election for Romney? No, but only a nose-diving economy was going to win the election for Romney anyway. And that could still happen.


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3 responses to “Romney’s Hope: The Ryan Pick”

  1. trkingmomoe says :

    Good diary. Had I known you were going to give a recap of dag posts, I would not of spent the time reading it with a magnifying glass on my android. Mike doesn’t have the software that works well with my android.

    Since I live in South Florida, I can tell you that Rubio would not increase support for Romney. The Cuban Spanish language paper in Ebore City has kept Rubio tied to state GOP corruption in their reporting. I know this because I live in a poor neighborhood with Latino immigrants that read it. Only a few little old ladies that watch Fox who gets excited over how cute he is, would vote because of him.

    It was really the only good choice he had with the shape the GOP is in. Will OFA make good use of Ryan’s idiology? “You betcha!”

    Great post.


    • Donal says :

      Most pundits are still predicting that Ryan will drag Romney down. Having a fundraiser hosted by a crack dealer doesn’t help.


  2. Donal says :

    Apparently Chez does disagree with Cesca:

    “Here’s the thing: No matter what you hear from the GOP pep squad, make no mistake — Ryan can only hurt Mitt Romney. He can’t and won’t help him in November. ”


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