Home 2012 races Republicans Panic Over Ryan Pick; Kaine Campaign Pounces, Ties Ryan to Allen

Republicans Panic Over Ryan Pick; Kaine Campaign Pounces, Ties Ryan to Allen


Clearly, “schadenfreude” (German for “pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others”) isn’t the most admirable emotion out there. Yet that’s what many Democrats, myself included, are feeling at stories like this one in Politico, about “GOP pros” basically freaking out over Willard Romney’s selection of Paul “Ayn Rand” Ryan to be his running mate.

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.


They’re worried about inviting Medicare – usually death for Republicans – into the campaign. They’re worried it sidetracks the jobs issue. They’re worried he’ll expose the fact that Romney doesn’t have a budget plan. Most of all, they’re worried that Romney was on track to lose anyway – and now that feels all but certain.

Hey, works for me! 🙂

And speaking of Medicare, I just got off a conference call with Kaine campaign manager Mike Henry, and senior strategist Mo Elleithee, in which they delightedly pounced on the Ryan Plan to Voucherize (aka Destroy) Medicare, and even more delightedly tied George Allen and Paul Ryan as closely together as possible. Expect a lot more of this in coming weeks, and not just in Virginia either, but all across the country.

Also on the Kaine conference call, Mo Elleithee could barely contain his glee at the Ryan selection, crowing about how “very happy” this made him, as Ryan’s similarities to George Allen on a wide range of issues “are just so clear.” Elleithee even went so far to ask for the mailing address of whoever was responsible for picking Ryan, as he wants to send a “thank-you card” to whoever those people are. Is there some trash talk in this? Sure, it’s got an element of that. Except for one thing: it’s not just Mo, and it’s not just other Democratic strategists across the country. In addition, as the Politico article confirms, it’s reflected in the panic exhibited by “GOP pros.”

Let’s just hope all these “pros” are right, that Romney made a huge blunder in his pick of right-wing extremist and Ayn Rand acolyte Paul Ryan. Personally, my main misgiving is that I do see a synergy between Romney and Ryan, one that makes Willard a less-bad candidate (I was going to say “better,” but that would presuppose that he was in any way passable, let alone good, previously). Other than that, though, I see no particular reason to disagree with all the political “pros” out there. Do you? If so, why?

  • Say What

    I wouldn’t project GLEE!!  After all Scott Walker won the recall effort.

    Over in the polling area I selected “He’s great, exactly what this country needs! – 2 votes (11.11%)”.

    Why? Well I think the whole Young Guns / Tea Party crowd really needs to be the referendum that the country votes on. The economy sucks, yes indeed. But is it because of the President’s efforts … or because of Republican Obstructionism lead by the Paul Ryans of the repug party?

    It is the later of course. It is due to the conservative echo chamber that’s been created and advanced by Roger Ailes & Fox News, etc. Rachel Maddow pointed out how we have a bifurcated media, last night. There’s the conservative bubble … and than everyone else.

    I want to thank team Romney for making this election about all the stonewalling bullshite that’s been going on for the last 3.5 years (6 years if you take in Jim Webb’s battle with obstructionism) …. and they did so by selecting Paul Ryan. In the end a good selection for the country to vote on.

  • aznew

    in cahoots with Obama to demonize Ryan (when, of course, all the media is doing is reporting the facts about Ryan’s extreme plan)…


  • It’s truly astounding how you can present Team Romney – and many Republicans, as far as I can tell – with independent facts and independent analysis completely debunking the crap they’re spewing out, yet instead of saying “whoops, I’m so sorry I screwed up,” they double down and spew it out even more! If that’s not pathological lying, I don’t know what is.


    Richmond, VA – During a conference call this morning, Kaine for Virginia senior advisor Mo Elleithee and campaign manager Mike Henry delivered an update on the state of the Virginia Senate race, highlighting Tim Kaine’s significant grassroots support and the numerous positions shared by new vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan and George Allen.

    “I’m excited to announce we recently crossed the 30,000 donor threshold which is really an unprecedented number for a Democratic campaign in Virginia,” said Henry. “We’ve done this in a variety of ways, but I think the biggest thing is it shows there’s a lot of excitement for our race. People are responding to what Tim has to say and people are really engaged in our race.”

    To date, Kaine for Virginia has purchased, not just reserved, more than $3.5 million in prime television advertising time for the fall.

    “Our strong fundraising advantage has become even more meaningful when you look at the outside money being spent on the race,” said Henry. “There’s more and more money in the system against us but we’ve really been able to hold our own. To date, the outside spending against is us over $8.2 million. We’re at a 6:1 disadvantage in this race when it comes to spending from outside groups and the lion’s share of that money, as you all know, is being spent on negative and misleading attacks.”

    Despite a massive influx of money from outside groups like Karl Rove’s Crossroads organization, Americans for Prosperity, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, all public polling shows the race remains a dead head.

    “We’re keeping even because of the reputation of Tim Kaine, the record he has, the great work that we’re doing communicating through earned media, and also the excitement that’s out there with grassroots donors and grassroots supporters, as well. I’m really excited about the position we’re in as we move into the traditional Labor Day kick-off of the campaign,” said Henry.

    Senior advisor Mo Elleithee also discussed the striking similarities between the policies of Paul Ryan and George Allen.

    “I’ve been doing Virginia politics for a long time and it’s not often that you see an election where there is such a clear contrast between the two candidates,” said Elleithee. “The contrast between these two candidates has become even more pronounced and more amplified since the addition of Paul Ryan to the national ticket. You would be hard pressed to find many Republican Senate candidates around the country who are just so strikingly similar to Paul Ryan and whose views and record are so strikingly similar to Paul Ryan.”

    Elleithee focused on three main areas where Ryan and Allen agree and where their positions put them well out of the Virginia mainstream.

    On Medicare and Social Security

    “First, on the future of Medicare and Social Security. There’s nothing he’s better known for than his efforts to dismantle Medicare, end the Medicare program as we know it, and privatize Social Security,” said Elleithee. “Well George Allen has been right there with him. The last time he was in the Senate George Allen voted alongside Paul Ryan in voting for President Bush’s plan to partially privatize Social Security. On the campaign trail he has repeatedly praised the Ryan plan to privatize Medicare and shift costs to seniors. While he has spent a lot of time trying to avoid talking about both of these issues, the selection of Paul Ryan is going to make it very difficult for him to continue to avoid talking about either Social Security or Medicare.”

    On fiscal responsibility

    “The second issue is a basic fiscal approach. Paul Ryan and George Allen have nearly identical records when it comes to fiscal issues,” said Elleithee. “They were elected to Congress about two years apart and during the time they were both in Washington they presided over our nation’s spiral from record surpluses to massive deficits. They both supported two wars without paying for them, tax cuts that ballooned the deficit without paying for them, domestic spending that helped add more than $3 trillion to the national debt because they didn’t pay for it. And when you look at what both Paul Ryan and George Allen are advocating moving forward, they are saying that the right approach is to continue to extend the Bush tax cuts for all Americans including the top earners, and to deal with the deficit by advocating a ‘cuts only’ approach. That is not a fiscally responsible approach. It is not a balanced approach. And it is not an approach that Virginians support.”

    On women’s health care

    “Despite the fact that our nation faces really significant economic and fiscal challenges, Paul Ryan and George Allen have put federal personhood legislation towards the top of their priorities for federal legislation,” said Elleithee. “Paul Ryan in 2009, as we were teetering on the brink of economic collapse, co-sponsored personhood legislation that could outlaw abortion and ban some forms of birth control. George Allen has said in this campaign that he will press for national personhood policy if voters send him back to Washington. That is not where most Virginians are.”

    Finally, Elleithee emphasized Tim Kaine’s history of bringing people together to find common ground, strengthen the economy, and protect the rights of women to make their own health care decisions.

    “Tim Kaine does not believe that these are the types of issues we ought to be focusing on in Congress, said Elleithee. “We need to actually find ways to unite people in order to get our economic and fiscal house back on the road to recovery, as opposed to fighting these ideological battles that divide us. And these aren’t just ideological issues. These are economic issues, as well. When you go after women’s health care issues you are fundamentally threatening the economic security of a family. Those are contrasts that we are looking forward to continuing to make during this campaign.”

  • pol
  • Quizzical

    I think Romney could have chosen a better running mate — e.g., Pawlenty, or Huntsman.  I was listening to a Ryan speech on CSPAN radio yesterday, and he seems to be only an average speaker, considering that he is a career politician.  He will probably soon wish that he had been working on his public speaking rather than P90X.  Ryan has a reputation as being a substantive guy, but he also brings a lot of baggage.