It's like they want to lose:
Through the halls of Congress and well beyond, a whisper campaign is bursting into the open: Rather than burden him with the usual constraints on a ticket’s No. 2 not to upstage or get ahead of the presidential nominee, let Ryan be Ryan and take a detailed, policy-heavy fight to President Obama and the Democrats.
Yeah. That's the problem. If only Paul Ryan could be let off the leash to talk about his policy ideas some more. Because those ideas are really
resonating with voters. You know, the ones who don't boo the hell out of him, as they did when he addressed seniors last week. But whatever—it's not like that's a voting bloc the Romney/Ryan campaign needs, right?
Conservatives are convinced, though, that doubling down on the most unpopular policies of the Romney/Ryan ticket is the way to go:
“If someone says you’re going to change Medicare as we know it, you say, ‘You’re damned right.’ Paul Ryan can give that answer,” [president of Club for Growth Chris] Chocola said, adding, “The Romney ticket would be well served to let Paul Ryan be Paul Ryan.”
This is standard operating procedure for conservatives, though. When their candidates are behind, it's not because they and their ideas are unpopular. Oh no. They'd be winning if only they'd let Reagan be Reagan
. And let Bush be Bush
. And let McCain be McCain
. And let Palin be Palin
. And let Romney be Romney
So of course conservatives are telling themselves that it's not the unpopular policies that are the problem, even though:
Still, six weeks after Mr. Ryan’s selection the political value of adding him to the Republican ticket seems to be dissipating. His presence has fired up Republican partisans, but it has energized Democrats as well. Mr. Ryan’s signature issue — overhauling Medicare — has moved front and center, but polls suggest that so far it is playing to Mr. Obama’s advantage.
Conservatives are certain that if Ryan could be permitted to get really ugly—Sarah Palin, for example, would love to see
Ryan "go rogue" the way she did in 2008 because that worked so well—Americans wouldn't be ditching Romney/Ryan faster than a failed governor ditches her office half-way through her first term.
If only Romney would stop muzzling Ryan, they'd be winning. Even though Ryan insists that he is being himself:
"Never once has the (Romney) campaign asked me to stop something or do something differently or not do anything."
Suuuuuuure. That's why the Romney campaign forced Ryan
to pretend to be outraged by Todd Akin's theory of magic lady parts that can detect rape sperm and "shut that whole thing down." Even though Ryan agrees with Akin that not all rape is really rape and that the Constitution should be amended to outlaw abortion in all cases, even if it's going to kill the mother, because that's "pro-life."
But if Ryan could just be allowed to say what he really thinks, they'd be winning:
“They definitely need to use him more,” said Rick Brumby, 52, a Republican voter who attended a rally for Mr. Ryan at the University of Central Florida in Orlando on Saturday, suggesting that Mr. Ryan is better than Mr. Romney at avoiding gaffes and making the case to middle-class voters for Republican policies.
“I like Romney’s message,” Mr. Brumby said, “but I just think Ryan is the sharper of the two, and I think Ryan is more acclimated toward and relates better to the working class.”
Right. Republicans like the Romney/Ryan message of "screw you, America!" and think the rest of the country will too, if only Ryan, "the sharper of the two," would be allowed to just outright say so.