Monday, August 13, 2012

Can Romney afford to let Ryan be Ryan?

One of the things both Democrats and Republicans like about Paul Ryan as the Republican VP nominee is that - unlike Romney - he has taken firm clear stands. The most dramatic of these is the budget he put together that basically eliminates most federal domestic spending and turns Medicare into a voucher system - all while giving HUGE tax breaks to the wealthy. And while that budget is anathema to any Democrat, at least he put together specifics...something Romney has been unwilling to do.

The question we should ask ourselves is whether Romney has avoided offering specifics because he can't provide them or because he knows that specifics hurt his candidacy.

That's not a hard question to answer. Voters - even a lot of Republicans - much prefer President Obama's balanced approach to spending and taxes.

And so, as the Romney/Ryan ticket rolls out - the question of the hour will be whether or not they can afford to let Ryan be Ryan or whether he'll have to join Romney in being obtuse about specifics.

So far we've already seen Romney - in his usual squishy fashion - go back and forth and then back again on his position about Ryan's budget. It will be interesting to watch how Ryan himself handles this.

And we also know they're scared of what Ryan's plan for Medicare would do to their campaign. That's why they've avoided it all so far in favor of blatantly false and confusing attacks on the savings ObamaCare found in Medicare.

But they've got a fine line to walk on this. One of the reasons the wingnuts are so excited about the Ryan pick is that he's clearly seen as "one of them." If they back-pedal too hard, they run the risk of losing all the energy Ryan brought to the ticket from the extremists.

This is really the same old story Republicans have been struggling with for the last few years. A minority of extremists have taken over control of the party. And now they're faced with having to try to win a national election where their ideas are deeply unpopular. Their original plan was to simply try to point to President Obama as the scary Kenyan soshulist. That one didn't work out for them - the Obama campaign was successful in making this a choice election instead of simply a referendum. Now Romney has made his choice - he's going with the extremists. The question is whether he'll be able to let Ryan be Ryan.


  1. Ultimately, I think he has to let Ryan be Ryan. He picked him because--I repeat myself interminably--he is still fighting to hold on to the base when he should be fighting for the middle. If he were to have a chance, he'd have to be taking votes away from Obama now. He's not.

    1. he is still fighting to hold on to the base when he should be fighting for the middle.


      Its the same reason why McCain chose Palin.

      When you're still fighting to win over your base with a VP pick, you know its too late.

    2. This means we have much more work to do than just win the Presidency. We don't take our eye off that ball, but the local efforts to retain the Senate and take the House intensify. It is a hard task but we could be looking at a wonderful second Obama term.