left, and PAUL RYAN
....the GOP president/vice president ticket
Who should be
Republicans or Demos?
By CHUCK McFADDEN
My old friend was
on the phone, chuckling. Ill bet you Democrats
are just wetting your pants with glee over Ryans selection/,
We are slavering with anticipation, I replied.
Romney has just lost Florida. Twenty-nine electoral
votes, right out the window.
My friend, a conservative Republican, didnt argue the point
too much. He did declare that once the nation realized that Rep.
Paul Ryan had about the only plan on the table to head off looming
fiscal disaster because of ever-growing entitlement programs,
the Republicans would win the presidency.
That is presuming that the electorate will study Ryans
proposals for Medicare vouchers and privatizing Social Security,
decide that even though they are painful, Ryan-style cuts must
Wont happen. Most voters dont study anything. All
Obama and Biden have to do at this point is run around the country
telling audiences that Romney/Ryan will end Medicare
as we know it. Which has the added advantage of being
Oldsters, who vote in great numbers, will be terrified. Twenty-two
per cent of voters in Florida are age 65 or older. Never mind
that the Ryan changes wouldnt affect those currently enrolled.
Hes going to take Medicare awa/y! over
and over again will do the trick.
Mitt Romney and Ryan will be forced to explain. Anytime you have
to explain, you lose.
Pundits are predicting that policy wonk Ryan on the Republican
ticket will solidify the contest into dueling concepts of what
kind of government we want -- limited and frugal, or larger and
Well, the race may be sharper, but it wont be all that
much different. It will simply shift the subject of attacks and
counterattacks those poor devils in swing states will have to
endure if they dare to turn on their television sets between
now and November.
Playbook, the morning emailed newsletter from
the political website/publication POLITICO had an interesting
bit on the Ryan selection:
EMAIL DU JOUR, from a Dem. operative: "Here's my prediction.
of reaction will be exactly the one with Palin."
Press: Wow, interesting!
Press: He's so dynamic - what a boost of energy!
Republicans: What a great speech. The base loves him.
Democrats: Uh oh!
Republicans: The big mo has shifted our way!
Press: He's breathing new life, etc.
Democrats: But wait, there's more!
Republicans: Uh oh!
Ryans selection did bring one immediate benefit to the
Republicans. Deep-pocket donors, thrilled over it, started pouring
even more money into Republican coffers. At last, someone with
clear stated ideas about what needs to be done, and how to do
It has also shifted media attention away from the Romney income
tax issue. Romneys refusal to release any more of his income
tax returns will, um, return, however. Its too handy a
Democratic cudgel to be neglected for long. On the other hand,
it may draw attention away from the economy, the best thing Romney/Ryan
have going for them.
There has also been some speculation-- istfully among the Dems--that
the choice of Ryan may benefit them on down-ballot races, maybe
even increase their chances of recapturing the House and hanging
onto the Senate. That depends on whether Democratic candidates
can somehow inject antipathy toward Ryan and fear of Medicare
change into their races. Marginal at best.
So as Medicare takes center stage, the campaign may well boil
down to competing priorities--do something to avoid going over
a fiscal cliff (Republican) or keep Medicare as it is, serving
seniors (Democrat). The question becomes which prospect will
frighten voters more?
For now, Democrats are rejoicing. Ryan has offered them lots
of targets. And in todays down-and-dirty campaigns, thats
a campaign managers dream.
©2012 by Charles M.
McFadden. The McFadden caricature is ©2001 by Jim Hummel.
This column first posted Aug. 20, 2012.