I thought that the Ryan pick was a curious one for Romney, but I didn’t anticipate this much apprehension in the GOP ranks.

From Politico:

Away from the cameras, and with all the usual assurances that people aren’t being quoted by name, there is an unmistakable consensus among Republican operatives in Washington: Romney has taken a risk with Ryan that has only a modest chance of going right — and a huge chance of going horribly wrong.

In more than three dozen interviews with Republican strategists and campaign operatives — old hands and rising next-generation conservatives alike — the most common reactions to Ryan ranged from gnawing apprehension to hair-on-fire anger that Romney has practically ceded the election. […]

And the more pessimistic strategists don’t even feign good cheer: They think the Ryan pick is a disaster for the GOP. Many of these people don’t care that much about Romney — they always felt he faced an improbable path to victory — but are worried that Ryan’s vocal views about overhauling Medicare will be a millstone for other GOP candidates in critical House and Senate races.

I spoke with a Republican colleague at work today and he thinks the Ryan pick is smart because it makes the election focused on the economy. While I agree with that sentiment and now understand a little bit more why Romney would hazard this pick, my counterpoint was that it shines a light on the GOP’s priorities against the Dems. If Romney/Ryan would just give up this foolish philosophical “trickle down” argument…independents might flock to them. Well, maybe not flock, but they’d at least be much more open to considering them. The Medicare issue is tricky, especially when they want to increase the defense budget during a time when even Republican appointees suggested massive cuts. And Ryan’s record is clearly partisan. He was all for big spending on Medicare when Bush was in office, but when Obama is in office…all of a sudden he wants to tighten the belt?

But Romney/Ryan won’t do it. They’re too beholden to the special interests. And that will make them feel phony to the indies. At least that’s my guess.

What’s yours?

Home Politics GOP Insiders Worried About Ryan Pick


  1. You remember the movie “The Gang Who Couldn’t Shoot Straight”?
    Romney is “The Candidate Who Shoots Himself In The Foot, Repeatedly”.
    As one inside stated “He’s practically ceded the election”.
    As well as lost the house for the GOP with this move.
    Methinks Mondale will have a better also ran record in the history books when all is said and done.

  2. I think it’s a ballsy choice, one that mitigates his reputation of being a milquetoast. He could have gone safe, and he didn’t.

    So yeah, sure, it’s a risk in some sense. But you can also say that it’s risky to be too safe. It sure puts a frame of fiscal responsibility around the election, at least in the eyes of the public.

    Also notice that Ryan’s being received enthusiastically by a base that has known misgivings about Romney. So it boosts base turnout, probably substantially. If independents split, that means that base turnout will decide. And democratic enthusiasm is way down. The only enthusiasm they have is AGAINST the GOP, and negative enthusiasm does not turn out voters as well as positive enthusiasm.

    The impact of Ryan on independent views remains to be seen. Like I’ve said before, it depends on how far the set of fiscal hawks extends past the bounds of the Tea Party. If many independents without enthusiasm for the tea party are fiscal hawks who like Ryan’s message, then it’s a good choice. If instead independents recoil in compassionate horror at the prospect of the government spending within its means, then it’ll be a bad choice.

    I think the take on Ryan at Reason.com is a good one, that people should take it easy about Ryan’s hawkish bonafides. If you look at his votes instead of his big plans, he doesn’t look like the same fiscal hero.


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