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There's been a lot of liberal high-fiving over Mitt R-Money's selection of Paul Rayn, excuse me, Ryan, as his running mate.  While the selection of Ryan is not a hail-Mary pass, it is the political equivalent of going for it on fourth-and-5 at midfield.  We're up in the fourth quarter and the clock is ticking, and the opposing quarterback isn't seeing anything but linebackers in his visor.   Romney had no choice but to shake up the race.

That said, it would be unwise to under-estimate Ryan.  This isn't concern-trolling--if the Democrats play this right, it would take a miracle for the Romneyan ticket to win (assuming they aren't allowed to cheat).  But the game is not over yet, and it would be dangerous to pretend it is.

  • The Village loves Ryan.  They don't love Romney.  (And they were terrified of Palin, until they figured out she was an empty blouse).  They never much loved Mitt to begin with--he's an outsider, a tee-totaler, and a guy who is about as charming as an alligator.  And Romney's poor press relations have further undermined his relationship with the DC press corps, who trust him not a wit (outside the smaller corps of GOP beltway partisans).  But Ryan is wonky, a DC insider, and charming with the cocktail circuit.  He's the sort of politician that Very Serious People gravitate to, because they think he's Very Serious as well.
  • He's reasonably intelligent--far more so than McCain's VP pick--and grooms well.  He can't be expected to regularly commit unforced errors like Romney (or Palin) did with regularity.  And he seems so inoffensive.  Part of the reason Palin was such a disaster is that she caused visceral reactions in just about everybody, with 2/3 of the country hating her guts.  Ryan isn't the sort of person that Middle America will take one look at and conclude is a complete and utter nut.  They will have to listen to him carefully to figure that out, and many in the electorate cast votes based on initial impressions, not on detailed and considered analysis of the candidates.
  • Ryan is good at playing Fake Libertarian--de-emphasizing his reactionary positions on social issues and foreign policy, and getting people to focus on his equally reactionary views on economics--views which may have more credibility among the younger generation, many of whom are convinced that government has failed, but aren't willing to dig deeper and ask why.

To deal with Ryan, some useful steps may be:

  • Ignore the Village.  Far too many Democrats in DC listen to the local press corps, rather than voters at home.  Obama has (finally) figured this out, and has been ignoring the "advice" offered by the Thomas Friedmans and David Brooks of the world.  Much of the Village is convinced that Ryan and his ilk are right, and will eagerly amplify that message, just as they though it was unbecoming of Obama to go after Romney's taxes and business record.  Ignore them.
  • Continue to hammer on the Ryan budget.  The public hates it, and they should.  The more they know about it, the more they hate it.  Focus on what it is--a scheme to transfer wealth from the poor and middle class to the 1%, and one which will do diddly-squat about the deficit.  This message is winning.  Keep making it.
  • Continue to point out the inexperience of the ticket on issues such as foreign policy.  With a gaffe-tastic and clueless top of the ticket, emphasize Romneyan's lack of credentials in this key area.  The past practice for governors running for the White House is to select senior senators, diplomats, or former cabinet secretaries to be a running mate (people like Dick Cheney, Al Gore, Lloyd Bentsen, George H. W. Bush, or Walter Mondale); not House members with domestic policy focus.
  • Make him own his stances on social issues and foreign policy.  Flush him out on issues like Iran, Russia, China, as well as on things like gay marriage and women's rights.  Make it clear that he is noLibertarian.

In other words, it's time to stop the ball at the line of scrimmage, and take over on downs.  If we do that, we should win.  If the other side converts the first down... there's a lot of football left to play then.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Nice points. I think the O campaign is (12+ / 0-)

    doing the opposite of dismissing anything.  

    From Neocon to sane- thanks to Obama- and Kos.

    by satrap on Sat Aug 11, 2012 at 04:34:25 PM PDT

  •  trust me (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CorinaR, wilderness voice
    (And they were terrified of Palin, until they figured out she was an empty blouse).  
    That blouse was not empty. The hairdo however...
  •  How many of these nervous nellie diaries (4+ / 0-)

    will we have to endure?

    Yeah, I'm so sure that Ryan's ideas about making college inaccessible and starving kids will resonate with "the younger generation" in a big way. Whatever. I have found that, other than the Lib fringe, if they believe government has "failed," they blame it on the players, not on government and are more likely to blame it on people like ... Paul Ryan!

    It is exceeding unwise to overestimate Paul Ryan as I have seen dozens of people here do today.

    Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07. http://www.ewaynepowell.com/

    by anastasia p on Sat Aug 11, 2012 at 05:00:50 PM PDT

    •  If we out his positions sufficiently, no worries. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wilderness voice, auapplemac, BachFan

      It's the generic I-don't-trust-the-government demographic--the nitwits who have interest in Ron Paul or Gary Johnson--that I worry about.

      It needs to be made abundantly clear that Paul Ryan is NOT either of these.

      To continue the football analogy, I'm not calling for a prevent defense here... just to keep eyes on the ball and to make the tackle.

  •  Ryan is NOT on the top of the ticket. (0+ / 0-)

    It'd be the first time in the history of the Republic if a VP pick managed to do anything positive beyond win his/her home state. You're fears are misguided. Ryan can't save Romney.

    The potential downsides to Ryan, however, are much easier to become a briar patch. The VP pick is a candidate's first real public decision that affects the country. McSame looked like a fool when he picked Palin, and voters' views of his "reasonableness" and "experience" turned into "recklessness."

    The worst thing for Willard is that he's just bought Ryan's economic plan hook, line, and sinker----this for a guy who up until now has absolutely avoided any detailed version of an economic plan of his own. It won't matter how polished Ryan is with his economic turd. He and Willard will be on the defensive the entire campaign until November, which ain't gonna win them anything but derision with independents.

    Willard is a gaffe-a-thon, and anything that Ryan does that isn't as bad won't help them, it will make Mitt look even more inept and second fiddle. That's not a winning strategy.  

  •  As I've Commented Elsewhere, a Guest of Mike (7+ / 0-)

    Papantonio subbing for Ed Schultz this week reported that Dems tried focus testing the Ryan budget but had trouble getting people to accept that it was real.

    The conservatives are running an anti-Obama campaign while Mitt won't produce either his resume or his plans, while people can't believe some of what the Republicans will do when in office.

    So it's not the slam-dunk it'd be in a country with a working press.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Aug 11, 2012 at 05:10:40 PM PDT

  •  Your concern is noted. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    davidkc

    Thanks for playing.  Please choose from our fine selection of parting gifts as you leave the studio.

    The test of whether we're willing to stand up to the thugs that wrote voter suppression laws is this: Are you willing to hold hands with someone that needs hand holding in order to qualify to vote?

    by Richard Cranium on Sat Aug 11, 2012 at 05:16:06 PM PDT

  •  where is there ANY evidence that the Obama camp (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Richard Cranium, zoebear

    is going to take Ryan lightly or give him a pass?

    For fk's sake, people. I'm sure they'll appreciate your obvious recommendations. Hell, they probably haven't even thought of any of this shit yet. They've only wanted to run against Ryan and his budget since forever. Make Ryan own his positions? There's a novel idea. Hope Axelrod and Plouffe read this diary.

    •  I ain't worried about the Obama campaign (5+ / 0-)

      Obama is the shrewdest politician I have personally witnessed, other than (possibly) Bill Clinton, and he could teach Bill a thing or two.  His campaign staff, despite a few errors in the first two years of his administration, is top-notch.

      I'm worried about a few players in the base, who seem convinced the Romney tortoise has been left in the dust, and maybe it's time for a nap.

      Romneyan needs to be smashed to bits and ground to dust.  That job will not be complete until November 7.

      Enjoy the fact that we're winning, but no acting like we've won.

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