Romney names Ryan the VP nominee in campaign concession speech

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Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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123 Responses

  1. Avatar Tom Van Dyke
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    says:

    Tod, every item here was an Obama attack amplified by a compliant media. So it’s all true, as far as it goes. But Romney just stopped playing sitting duck and picked up a gun of his own.

    That this election just might be decided on the substance of things and not this steady dribble of chickenspit is a very exciting prospect. Watson, the game is on!Report

    • Avatar Murali in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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      says:

      That this election just might be decided on the substance of things and not this steady dribble of chickenspit is a very exciting prospect

      I’ll make a bet on that. I might be visiting the US soon so let’s wager a beer or non-alcoholic beverage of your choice:

      This election, like all or almost all elections before it in the history of mankind, will be determined by chickenspit.Report

      • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Murali
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        says:

        You’re on, Mr. M. I’m excited by this. Ryan is gonna bring the pain, or rather show us how much pain we’re already in. I thought Romney could win on points with a Portman, but this move is going for a mandate and a KO.

        And all the complaining we hear about politicians pandering and obscuring the truth, that we’ve been dying for somebody straight-up. We’ll, we’ll find out now.

        I’m in Los Angeles, so when you pay up, I’m a Guinness man.Report

        • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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          says:

          this move is going for a mandate

          Oh, please. I’m with you as far as saying this might be a good choice on Romney’s part, but if you think there’s anything other than an Obama-sex-and-death scandal that could give Romney something that truly looks like a mandate then you’ve had a few too Guinneses already today. And it’s just barely noon in L.A.Report

        • Avatar Robert Greer in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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          says:

          So you think the American electorate is going to give a mandate to gut Medicare, implemented by a multimillionaire with a 13.9% effective tax rate?

          I’ll be in L.A. tomorrow, and I oughta hit you up, because it sounds like you’ve got some medical grade shit up on that hill.Report

          • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Robert Greer
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            says:

            Actually, Robert, along with Democrat Ron Wyden, Ryan’s trying to save Medicare*.

            As for Romney’s tax payments, that one passes the laugh test only if you didn’t vote for Kerry for the same reason**.

            *http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lanny-davis/ryan-wyden-medicare-reform_b_1371081.html

            **http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38378992/ns/politics/t/sen-kerry-docks-yacht-ri-saves-taxes/

            Nice try, though, Robert. A+ on the bluster, B on snark, F on the facts. ;-PReport

            • Avatar Robert Greer in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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              says:

              TVD, the Ryan/Wyden plan hasn’t even been drafted yet, so it’s not clear what it’ll look like even if it comes to fruition (although if it’s based on the HAA then I’d be impressed). On the other hand, Paul Ryan’s budget was drafted and sent to the Senate, where more than a few Republicans realized the political toxicity of its drastic Medicare revamp.

              I didn’t vote for Kerry, but that’s irrelevant anyway because I’m only noting the political optics of this move.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Robert Greer
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                says:

                I’ve heard all this stuff you know, Robert, every jog and tittle. Romney just changed the game. There are real issues here, and we’re gonna start talking about ’em

                The base is stoked, and the undecideds are going to get the other side of the story now, not this Harry Reid and the tax returns crap.Report

              • Avatar Robert Greer in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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                says:

                If you’ve heard it all before, then why did you write a post that was apparently ignorant of it? If I make a point that appears to invalidate your argument, why should “I’ve heard that before” convince me that you’re correct after all?

                But hey, I’m pleased that the electorate is gonna get such a clear choice this time. I guess we’ll find out whether the Republicans are right about the voters’ wishes.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Robert Greer
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                says:

                Exactamundo, Robert. Better to l0se fair and square than on Bain Killed My Wife.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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                says:

                the undecideds are going to get the other side of the story now

                That’s a bad sign. Any time a campaign that’s been active for a long time complains that people haven’t heard their side of the story yet, it’s game over. If they haven’t been able to do it so far, it’s a sign of deep incompetence that isn’t going to be solved by a veep pick.

                Seriously, when’s the last time a veep pick really turned a campaign around from dog’s-ass to showstopper?Report

              • Avatar BobbyC in reply to James Hanley
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                says:

                Another way to look at this, is that Romney hasn’t signaled yet whether he was going to run as a McCain-with-economics-understanding, or something closer to the fiscal conservatism that is motivating much of the electorate since 2009. I think this pick is a signal that Romney intends to run on fiscal reform, as opposed to, say, signing America the beautiful, sabre-rattling with Russia, and calling Obama a failure. If that is your plan, you pick Pawlenty and remain the most colorful guy on your own ticket. This pick should give people interested in a real debate on the role of govt something to be excited about.

                I’m still voting for Gary Johnson of course.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Murali
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        says:

        Murali,

        Michigan may be a bit out of the way, but if you’re coming within a state of it, please get in touch.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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      says:

      When you watch your preferred media choice, then, is your experience that Romney is being presented as a great, exciting candidate? Or is it that people hate Obama?

      I think the right’s refusal to really even address their candidate, let alone embrace him, is a bad bad sign for them come November. “I really hate that Obama!” is a way to drive ratings; it is not a good election strategy.Report

      • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Tod Kelly
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        says:

        Tod, I like Romney*. I liked McCain at first because I thought he could get us away from each other’s throats as we were in the Bush years. Instead we elected someone more divisive, purposely divisive in Barack Obama. I hate what he’s done to this country with the Us vs. Them thing. I don’t care what nicey-nice quotes you come up with, in 2010 he said to a Hispanic audience:

        “And if Latinos sit out the election instead of saying, we’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us, if they don’t see that kind of upsurge in voting in this election, then I think it’s gonna be harder – and that’s why I think it’s so important that people focus on voting on November 2,” he said.

        This was before the election. This is the real Barack Obama. And I’m glad he lost the 2010 election. Even if he wins in 2012—and his campaign is dirty—he won’t get the House back. That will do.

        *October 2011 https://ordinary-times.com/timkowal/2011/10/make-mine-mitt/

        “Me, the worst thing about American life right now is how we’re at at other’s throats. 51% against the other 49, or 53 against the #Occupiers. This sucks.

        President Obama is out campaigning already looking for his 51%. He’s a dick.

        Mitt’s taking fire from his right flank, but behaving like a president, president of all of us.

        Mitt Romney’s qualified and he isn’t a dick. He has my vote—I don’t ask for much in these difficult times.’

        In fact, Tod, the first comment there is tres interesting. 😉Report

    • Avatar trizzlor in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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      says:

      Tod, every item here was an Obama attack amplified by a compliant media.

      TVD, a competent thinker should be able to rebut even the most biased accusations, and in fact it should be easiest for them to counter the stuff that’s obviously wrong. The conservative movement – and Romney as their standard-bearer – has become so dependent on this defense that any criticism must be coming from a biased source that they don’t even bother to offer rebuttals anymore. Eventually it starts to look like those rebuttals don’t exist, and it makes the movement appear small and cloistered. A legitimate candidate would be excited to defend his side, not annoyed that criticism was raised. But here’s Romney:

      “[O]ur campaign would be — helped immensely if we had an agreement between both campaigns that we were only going to talk about issues and that attacks based upon — business or family or taxes or things of that nature.”

      The extent to which Romney wants to avoid difficult conversations about his past is unprecedented, and it makes him and his defenders look like losers.Report

      • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to trizzlor
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        says:

        Trizz, the whole election has been about rebutting the Dem narrative. Why would I tackle it in a combox? From scratch, as if we haven’t been discussing this crap for months.Report

        • Avatar trizzlor in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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          says:

          Tom, I’ve seen you rebut these arguments, but I’ve yet to see Romney even attempt to rebut them. In fact, the way I read your contention above is explicitly in defense of Romney not rebutting them. I very much agree with Jonathan Bernstein’s take on this issue:

          Romney had previously forfeited any claim to having any high ground on this one by violating the norm of presidential candidates releasing tax returns. I don’t know that it’s a particularly useful norm — I don’t really think it’s likely that any presidential nominee will be undermined by anything in his or her tax returns, Romney included, and I’m really not interested in supposed conflicts of interest at that level. But that’s irrelevant. It’s a norm of modern presidential politics, and if you violate that, you have no high ground to begin with. Nor has Romney given any particularly convincing reason for why the norm should not apply generally or to him in particular; to the contrary, his campaign wound up justifying it was a lie about John Kerry’s tax returns, a lie they repeated after it had been pointed out.

          He’s talking about tax-returns but he could be talking about any of the bullet points Tod listed.Report

          • Avatar Kimmi in reply to trizzlor
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            says:

            It’s a stupid take on the issue.
            Mitt’s taxes have far far more wrong with them than we’ll ever be able to talk coherently about.
            It ought to tell you something that the people leading the charge are Mormon.

            There are plenty of ways to take down a bishop, but the most satisfying is probably to see him brought low, not by politics, but by the organization he is an integral part of.Report

        • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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          says:

          What else are comboxes for?Report

    • Avatar Jeffrey Davis in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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      says:

      ” … a compliant media ”

      Really? At this point in history? In a story that has FOX NEWS in it? You’re still moaning about “a compliant media”?Report

  2. Avatar James Hanley
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    says:

    I was all ready to disagree with you, Tod, assuming you were going to say the choice of Ryan, per se, was the signal of throwing in the towel. But as your focus is on the timing of the event, well, you may have an argument. TVD may be right that it’s Romney’s way of going into action (although by TVD’s account it’s still about 3 weeks premature), but that doesn’t in fact preclude it from being an act of desperation.

    Still, I’m not seeing enough love for Obama out there to be willing to double-down on his re-election yet.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to James Hanley
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      says:

      I don’t agree. (obviously)

      The GOP is too small and too fractured to win the WH on a “you should hate the other guy” platform. They’re so small and fractured, in fact, that they’d have a pretty hard time winning with a candidate people like. Running on the back of someone that people seem to be instinctually indifferent about? Not seeing it.

      This election reminds me of nothing more than ’04, when the Dems were so convinced their hatred of Bush would convince voters to overlook the fact that they really didn’t like Kerry.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Tod Kelly
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        says:

        I agree with this. I think that’s why picking Ryan is a good move: it’s an attempt to give Romney some definition and break the pattern of letting Obama define him.

        It might work. If Ryan is sold the right way, he could pick up lots of undecideds as well as folks so disgusted with the GOP that they’d otherwise refrain from voting.Report

        • Avatar Robert Greer in reply to Stillwater
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          says:

          I don’t see how picking Ryan helps Romney escape Obama’s definition. In fact, Ryan’s budget — tax cuts for Romney and his buddies, paid for by cuts to relatively popular government programs — seems to reinforce the Obama campaign’s narrative.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Robert Greer
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            says:

            Oh, I agree with you on that. Obama, it seems to me, wants to get into the nuts and bolts of the Ryan plan because he thinks he can sell it as a political loser.

            On the other hand, the Ryan plan is the only thing that provides cover for Obama’s relentless and – up to this point – unanswered attacks. If Romney can sell the GOP plan as “serious” and “principled” and all that, he can deflect the point of the attack away from Romney as an individual and refocus the discussion in a more palatable direction, eg., why the Ryan Plan is good for America.

            I’m as unsure as anyone about whether this will actually work politically. But I think it’s the only option available to alter the current narrative, which is that Romney is being defined (negatively, of course) by Obama and that he’s running from not only his past policies (Romneycare) but the GOP platform as well.Report

            • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Stillwater
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              says:

              I think you’ve got it. I think both sides sort of like this pick. It provides an actual field of battle on which each side appears to believe it has an advantage.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to James Hanley
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                says:

                And it appeals to the basic ideals championed by the each side. So in that sense (I hate to say it) TVD and Koz (well, I hate to say it about TVD anyway) are right: by picking Ryan the politics reduces to a discussion of ideas and values.

                I’m in the minority here, but I think the move to pick Ryan was very politically savvy. It’s aggressive, it’s a game changer, it pushes back against the bullshit narrative (from the GOP pov) that Romney’s just a suit. It might not work, or course. But it’s aggressive and decisive. They’re saying: the Ryan Plan is our vision of the Future.

                God help us all. 🙂Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                I’m inclined to agree. I get why TVD and Koz like the pick. I’m skeptical of their enthusiasm about the electoral effect, but time will tell.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to James Hanley
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                says:

                I’m curious about your take on the Ryan plan, James. As a small(er) government, marginal libertarian, it strikes me that there’s lots of things to like about the Ryan Plan. Do you view it as a step in the right direction?Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                Not really. It seems to me its primary purpose is to cut taxes rather than cut the deficit (it depends on some magic in eliminating unspecified loopholes). And it actually increases spending on the military, which is anathema to me. I’d much rather we seriously pursue the Simpson-Bowles plan. I don’t necessarily agree with every element of it, but that’s actually part of the point–everyone needs to get off their lines in the sand about this spending item and that spending item and this tax rate vs. that tax rate and sacrifice some of what they want to reduce the deficit.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                Good answer. 🙂

                I’m actually pretty supportive of S-B myself.Report

            • Avatar Tim Kowal in reply to Stillwater
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              says:

              “Obama, it seems to me, wants to get into the nuts and bolts of the Ryan plan because he thinks he can sell it as a political loser.”

              Everyone knew this, I think. Everyone was unsure whether Romney thought he could win that fight if he engaged it. Apparently, he does. These things get interesting when candidates stop saying “go fish” on issues and actually go to the mattresses on one of them.

              And isn’t it anyone’s guess? I mean, Obama has nothing but sand to kick in Romney’s eyes. Who’s talking about tax returns other than bloggers and politicos? Who really thinks Romney is prejudiced because he’s refused to comply with some “unwritten code” about turning over a certain number of years of tax returns? The Dems simply tipped their hand too soon on the us vs. them culture war. If you’re going to ask a man for a bit of rope, don’t tell him you plan to hang him first.

              Now Obama’s got to find enough sand to kick in Ryan’s eyes, too. That sand will happen to be the particulars of Ryan’s own budget plan, of course. And we’ll just have to wait and see how it goes over. Me, I see another front on the culture war Obama’s people started, this time on the working class vs. the retired class issue. If Obama pushes too hard to make Ryan look bad on reforming medicare and social security, it’s going to galvanize the young and middle-aged working class who have been joking for years, “I’m never going to see that when my time comes around,” all the while desperately hoping someone would come around and make it untrue. As it turns out, we are not the ones we’ve been waiting for to make that happen. Ryan is. At least he claims to be. Obama isn’t, and doesn’t even claim to be.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Tim Kowal
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                I for one would love to see more talk about SS. Every time some young folk tells me SS is doomed i tell them they don’t know what they are talking about and , if they dare, go the latest report from the SS commission. It shows clearly how undoomed SS is and the buffet of tweaks we can choose from to fix if for decades. I’ve never gone through that with someone who didn’t say something like ” i didn’t know any of that.” Ryan is the biggest danger to SS.Report

              • Avatar Annelid Gustator in reply to Tim Kowal
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                says:

                Who really thinks Romney is prejudiced because he’s refused to comply with some “unwritten code” about turning over a certain number of years of tax returns?

                This perhaps unintentionally gives the game away. Waaa! I dunwannabe peeeceee!Report

      • Avatar Pierre Corneille in reply to Tod Kelly
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        says:

        “This election reminds me of nothing more than ’04, when the Dems were so convinced their hatred of Bush would convince voters to overlook the fact that they really didn’t like Kerry.”

        But Bush had a non-recession economy. So does Obama, technically. But I imagine perceptions of the economy might be worse.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly
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        says:

        This election reminds me of nothing more than ’04, when the Dems were so convinced their hatred of Bush would convince voters to overlook the fact that they really didn’t like Kerry.

        I’m putting together some scenarios that might change the game on the ground:

        1) (yet) (another) budget battle over the debt ceiling and/or budget or spending in general

        2) the economy gets worse in a way that people actually feel… gas prices go up, unemployment goes up, something like that

        3) something stupid like a tomato e-coli scare or tainted peanut butter or something

        That’s the trifecta. We hit that, we can discuss whether Obama vs Romney is a coinflip.

        We don’t, we get to discuss how Obama is like Bush insofar as he has no obvious heir for 2016, and the Democrats will have an uphill climb now that the whole Obamagate scandal is (finally) behind us.Report

        • Avatar Liberty60 in reply to Jaybird
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          Actually, Ryan brings issue #1 (the budget) front and center. The Dems response is “great! Whaddya wanna cut? Social Security? Medicare? Defense?”

          # 2 is a genuine concern- if the economy tanks, rational or not, people will clamor for a change.

          #3 Maybe- But hard to imagine the conservative framing of a tainted food scare- “With a Republican administration, the meatpackers will police themselves!” or “this tainted meat was caused by too many food regulations!” That kind of madness works at RedState, but not Main Street.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Liberty60
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            says:

            That kind of madness works at RedState, but not Main Street.

            Not exactly the kind of madness I’m talking about. I’m more thinking an argument like “Obama can’t even run the country and make tomatoes safe, maybe we should have a manager in charge instead of a guy with a Peace Prize.”

            The argument that, sure, the tomatoes may have gotten past the FDA on Obama’s watch, BUT REPUBLICANS WOULD HAVE DONE THE SAME THING!!! is an argument that is less persuasive to people on the fence than you’d think.Report

            • Avatar b-psycho in reply to Jaybird
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              says:

              “Obama can’t even run the country and make tomatoes safe, maybe we should have a manager in charge instead of a guy with a Peace Prize.”

              Too bad no one who’d be a deserving recipient of one has a shot…Report

            • Avatar Liberty60 in reply to Jaybird
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              says:

              I’m tempted to scorn the argument that in the face of a tainted food scare, voters would select the guy who promises few inspections.

              But then I remembered how voters have rewarded people who claimed the answer to a budget deficit is to reduce revenue and raise spending, so I am not taking anything for granted.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Liberty60
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                says:

                Please understand that that was not, in fact, my argument.

                That’s something that Boonton used to do too, actually. I’d say that the reason X happened was because of A, B, C, and D. He’d argue against my position as if I thought that C caused X. How dumb do you have to be to think that C could *POSSIBLY* be responsible for X? If only C had that much power!

                It was irritating.Report

      • Avatar Koz in reply to Tod Kelly
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        says:

        “This election reminds me of nothing more than ’04, when the Dems were so convinced their hatred of Bush would convince voters to overlook the fact that they really didn’t like Kerry.”

        But even as ridiculous as John Kerry was that year, he could have easily won that race, and basically the only reason that he didn’t was that the GOP campaign machinery out-executed their D counterparts down the stretch.

        There’s at least two things I see working the GOP’s favor relative to 2004:

        1. Willard is a sharper guy, and therefore a better campaigner than John Kerry.
        2. I think he wants to win more than John Kerry did.Report

      • Avatar BobbyC in reply to Tod Kelly
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        says:

        An alternate view is that the GOP, despite being small and fractured, despite nominating a Mormon ultra-rich private equity titan who pays less that a 15% tax rate, is running in the context of even with a popular President who remains personally quite attractive to the great majority of Americans. And that is a sign of how strong the policy preference for less expansive govt and lower govt spending is from a chaste, post-bubble electorate which has refocused itself on savings and personal responsibility. If Romney can articulate a vision of govt reform, including ending tax subsidies broadly, reducing the cost of doing business (talk about the pipeline every speech as a concrete example of how the govt obstructs the private sector), and getting the govt back into its proper role (and sort of gloss over that it’s somewhat an issue of degree, not only role), then Romney can still win. The narrative plays well that Obama is a nice guy who has no idea why it doesn’t work for a panel of experts in DC to restructure whole sectors of the economy – health insurance, auto manufacturing, energy production.

        Romney needs to stop talking about foreign policy; he does not appear wise nor mature nor anti-war, while Obama has appealed, amazingly, to both hawks and doves. Romney needs to stop giving bland platitudes about how Obama has failed; it’s time to articulate a positive vision of limited govt. It’s right there screaming to be done.Report

        • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to BobbyC
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          says:

          And that is a sign of how strong the policy preference for less expansive govt and lower govt spending is from a chaste, post-bubble electorate which has refocused itself on savings and personal responsibility.

          Or simply a sign that the vast majority of potential voters are locked into pre-existing commitments especially prior to “tuning in.”

          I’ll concede though that left Democrats in the Krugmanized Keynes camp underestimate the suspicion on the part of the average commonsensical citizen towards anything presented as a free lunch, and, when presented with competing free lunch offers – super-sized demand side economics vs. super-sized supply side – they’ve generally since LBJ, but especially since RWR, opted narrowly for the latter, then winced and grown even more skeptical of government when the tax-cutting was inequitable and the government-cutting some combination of inequitable and non-existent. On every level but practical policy it’s a double-win for the government-haters, but only until the squall hits, since under pressure the populace reveals its simultaneous and very stubborn commitments to an imperial military and inherited social-democratic policy, both very expensive, and both necessary to the total political-social-economic system, to the state which always wins until it’s lost.

          The narrative plays well that Obama is a nice guy who has no idea why it doesn’t work for a panel of experts in DC to restructure whole sectors of the economy – health insurance, auto manufacturing, energy production.

          It might, though it would be helpful if there was some truth to it, if Romney-Ryan weren’t burdened by the details of their plan(s), if certain memories and perceptions weren’t still fresh enough, and if RR actually had an argument on mass unemployment. The same conservative inclination on “less expansive” government also applies to the expansiveness of a supply side re-structuring of government, a Rebirth of Capitalism scenario. Maybe people would rather just settle in to a less hubristic response to the onset of national middle age. Maybe the “hammock” is more appealing than fitness fanatic Ryan understands.Report

          • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to CK MacLeod
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            says:

            note to avoid confusion: when I refer to the “conservative inclination” in the last paragraph, I mean authentically conservative (or perhaps Burkean conservative), not this misbirthed radicalism that contemporary Republicans call “conservative.”Report

          • Avatar BobbyC in reply to CK MacLeod
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            I don’t think the closeness of the race is due to the essential 50/50 nature of the polity, but I’ll admit that I offer more of a narrative than an empirical argument. Unsurprisingly, I see lots of confirmation of my view, which is that revulsion to corruption, misused govt power, and excessive govt spending are the driving zeitgeist of the electorate since 2009. For me, Occupy Wall St and the Tea Party are both reactions to the same symptoms, both based on moral arguments which play well in the moralistic American mind, but offer different remedies (roughly more pure capitalism vs more mixed capitalism, ie what the right now calls “socialism”). You have had a string of successes by Tea Party candidates, from 2010 midterms to Dick Luger losing his primary in Indiana to the recent Republican Senate primary in Texas where the Tea Party candidate trounced the establishment offering. Many on the left see the Tea Party as some radical, angry populism … the kind of mindless movement that wants to listen to Sarah Palin speak. Instead, I see the Tea Party as a big tent, with plenty of backward elements, but where the uniting themes are fiscal conservatism, skepticism, individual responsibility, and anti-corruption.

            You may see the issue as the “commonsense” skeptical middle favoring supply-side free lunches over Keynesian free lunches, but in my view those voters reject both and believe strongly in the hard-to-pin-down position that govt should be small and do everything it is needed to do. On that view, the inevitable clash is about whether those voters really want to pay the bill for the govt that our politicians have drafted for us. I believe they generally do not, and especially won’t during economic hard times. Keynesians may even agree (like Summers or Krugman) and argue for heroic counter-cyclical fiscal policy; I reply by pointing out that govt spending is in reality pro-cyclical, will continue to be pro-cyclical, and cannot be reliably counter-cyclical.

            On military spending, I do not think that the martial state is a demand of the American democracy; evidence would be the cuts post Cold War, the current size of the defense budget relative to GDP, and the move in the Republican electorate from 2008 to 2012 to embrace the possibility of reduced military commitments. The alternate account is that it is a result of crony capitalism, the military-industrial complex, not a irredeemably jingoistic populace. I am hopeful that this view will be proven correct when the two parties negotiate spending cuts, ie defense SHOULD be one of the easiest areas to slash. It is akin to tax reform, where politicians can spend decades collecting campaign donations to defend corruptions of the code and then agree to sweep it all away at once and start over. The same needs to happen with defense.

            I think Ryan will be bold in his rhetoric but not bold enough to explain what the Romney-Ryan solution to unemployment really is. They will say that the solution is economic growth. The real solution is a softened version of the age-old reality: you don’t work, you don’t eat. I agree with you that Romney-Ryan are running against the notion that America should settle into its “hammock” and that maybe they underestimate the appeal of that outcome for many. That is partly why the Romney-Ryan vision of reorienting America away from the modern welfare state can only happen during hard times; when the world is rosy, it doesn’t seem so bad to have a French-level safety net, a Greek vacation, a Spanish accounting standard, an Italian national debt, or a German credit system. My concern, as someone wanting to see a smaller role for govt in the economy, is that our lower safety net is only tolerable when our economy can clear the labor mkt expeditiously – in this way, the housing bubble / financial crisis followed by stimulus and structural unemployment (abetted by extended unemployment benefits) are paving a path to a new New Deal. At least with the Ryan VP pick, it looks as if we will have that debate. I’m pleased.Report

          • Avatar Kimmi in reply to CK MacLeod
            Ignored
            says:

            Hope and Change.
            the millenials are NOT GenX and Boomers, both of whom trended really republican.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to James Hanley
      Ignored
      says:

      I agree with James H. above @ 2:21pm on all counts. This is:

      1. not an admission of defeat, but
      2. not *not* an act of desperation (or as Nate Silver puts it: not the act a of a guy who thinks he’s winning, and
      3. potentially a marginally to moderately helpful pick.

      However, on that last, “potentially” does a lot work. Tom is right to say this could be a vluable pick for the country in further reinforcing the notion that this election is about actual ideas (though his suggestion that it isn’t already, despite the candidates’ typically venal communication tactics, is mistaken). It all depends on how the campaign chooses to use Ryan. But on purely horserace impact, the notion of Ryan being a help depends on his personal political effectiveness actually living up to the hype that his admirably frank policy proposals earn him. That remains the key known unknown about Paul Ryan in my view.

      In my experience watching him, the man as a political quantity doesn’t actually live up to the excitement that his ideas for the safety net engender among certain parts of the political class. Personal taste always plays into that assessment, but my considered judgment is that he’s considerably oversold as a purely political talent. So I think it’s right to say he’s potentially a good pick for Romney, becaus in fact he’s potentially a lot of things for Romney: a boon; an anvil he just tied around his own neck; an irrelevancy. It all depends on what Paul Ryan the political performer turns out to be like, as opposed to Paul Ryan the slate of policy proposals – because the former, as well as the latter, is what Romney has now hitched his wobbly wagon to. We’ll see.

      At least we know this: the VP debate – usually interesting – is pretty much guaranteed to be entertaining as hell this cycle. Can’t wait!Report

      • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Michael Drew
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        says:

        Thx, Michael. Ryan can now attack Obama’s record on the economy; Mitt just has to look presidential and not screw the pooch. Portman or Pawlenty simply couldn’t have prosecuted the GOP case against Obama: Ryan spouts numbers and wonkage with an ease not seen since Bill Clinton.Report

        • Avatar Robert Greer in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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          says:

          Wonkage is a fantastic political asset when the person wielding it is perceived to be empathetic. Paul Ryan’s favorite author is an atheist who thought poor people deserved to die. Ayn Rand may be popular among coastal Republican elites, but it’s poison in the less-affluent but electorally-critical Midwest.

          Report

          • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Robert Greer
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            says:

            Wonkage isn’t really an asset in a world where you can basically sprout bullshit so long as you look like you’re covered by numbers. That Paul Ryan’s even considered a “wonk” given his penchant for what is essentially houdini theatrics with numbers and statistics is rather fantastical and shows us that pretty talking heads are probably not the best people to be challenging politicians.

            See also: Krugman-Paul debate, where Paul basically said Blahblah FIAT CURRENCY BAD Blahblahblah, and the moderator couldn’t call him out on his bullshit.Report

            • Avatar Robert Greer in reply to Nob Akimoto
              Ignored
              says:

              “Wonkage isn’t really an asset in a world where you can basically sprout bullshit so long as you look like you’re covered by numbers.”

              I think this is an unrealistically cynical view. People who are conversant with the relevant figures get a credibility boost even among relatively innumerate voters because voters can usually sense the confidence of someone who knows what they’re talking about. It’s surprisingly hard to fake.

              I agree that Paul is a fake wonk, but the fact that he’s obviously very familiar with facts and figures would be a great political asset if it weren’t driven by such an unpopular ideology.Report

          • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Robert Greer
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            says:

            Robert, you’re throwing every bit of Dem party line disinfo in here. Mebbe it’ll work, but the Reps has 3 months to dispel it, and I’m hardly gonna bother w/it in a combox at this point.

            See the bit below about the lefty rag “The Isthmus,” boldface mine. This is just starting to get interesting, and frankly, I’m pleased as punch that instead of playing punching bag, Romney has just changed the game.

            “Ryan has pointed out to me that no Republican has carried his district for president since Ronald Reagan in 1984. “I have held hundreds of town-hall meetings in my district explaining why we have to take bold reform steps, and I’ve found treating people like adults works,” he told me. “All those ads pushing elderly woman off the cliffs don’t work anymore if you lay out the problem.”

            Second, Democrats know that Ryan has Reaganesque qualities that make him appealing to independent, middle-class voters. Take the cover story on Ryan that the Isthmus, a radically left-wing Madison, Wis. newspaper, ran on him in 2009. “Ryan, with his sunny disposition and choirboy looks, projects compassion and forcefully proclaims dedication to his district,” the story reported. “And he’s proved he is not unyieldingly pro-corporate, as when he recently joined in condemnation of AIG ‘retention’ bonuses.”

            Third, Ryan’s ideas aren’t that novel or scary. The idea of “premium support” for Medicare, which would change the program’s one-size-fits-all policy to a private-insurance model with public options, was endorsed by a bipartisan commission appointed by Bill Clinton back in the 1990s. Late last year, Ryan announced a new version of his proposal with a new partner signing on: Democratic senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, who first achieved political prominence as an advocate for seniors.

            Four, Ryan puts Wisconsin and its ten electoral votes in play. Polls have shown that President Obama holds a five to seven point lead in Wisconsin — significant, but much less than Obama’s 14-point margin in 2008. With Ryan on the ticket, polls show the race is dead even.

            Five, if Republicans were looking for a superior candidate, they’ve found it in Ryan. His maiden speech as the GOP vice-presidential candidate was perfectly pitched:

            We won’t duck the tough issues . . . we will lead!

            We won’t blame others…we will take responsibility!

            We won’t replace our founding principles . . . we will reapply them!

            I’m down with that, win or lose. If Obama can win by disinfo and fog, so be it.Report

            • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Tom Van Dyke
              Ignored
              says:

              I’m pleased as punch that instead of playing punching bag, Romney has just changed the game.

              Is this consistent with your previous insistence that Romney was playing the game perfectly, that he was entirely right to hold back until Labor Day?

              I’m struggling to reconcile the two arguments, both of which are yours.Report

            • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Tom Van Dyke
              Ignored
              says:

              It’s to the piont where it is absolutely impossible to tell where you are writing and where you are quoting, TVD. this is a basic prose styling issue that’s long been a distraction in your writing, Tom. You don’t indent, you don’t italicize, you don’t insert these >>, nothing. Out of politeness and a desire not to be seen as nitpicking where not necessary, I’ve laid off mentioning it. But now you’re calling the mainstream free weekly of my hometown that regularly publishes the views of major state conservative voices such as radio perosnality Charles Sykes and others for diversity of viewpiont, and which people here (I’m visiting home) mainly use to see who’s playing where and what the movie times are, and radical left-wing rag, etc., or else you’re quoting someone who is, or something. And i can’t tell which it is.

              So I’m gently calling you out. If you were a profesisonal writer and you didn’t format quotes to demonstrate that it is not your writing as you and you alone frequently do here, you would be subject to charges of plagiarism, even though you didn’t intend to rip anyone off. Everyone else takes the time to italicize or indent or put in quotes, quotes. It helps us readers better figure out what’s going on. Could you do it too, even in comments? I’d appreciate it, at least when and where you’re going to be trashing my hometown newspaper, so I know who to laugh at?

              Thanks.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Michael Drew
                Ignored
                says:

                Dude, it’s Madison. It’s all radically left wing.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Michael Drew
                Ignored
                says:

                Guilty, Michael. I’ve stopped bothering with certain people. I grab and credit Michael Medved—who was simply summarizing a Gallup poll—and the response was a trash of Medved.

                I do put quote marks around stuff. I often italicize. If anyone’s interested, they grab a sentence or so and paste it into Google. The source comes right up. No. Big. Deal.

                When I write formally, in a post, even an Off the Cuff, I observe the citation proprieties assiduously.

                And if anyone’s sincerely interested, and were not too lazy to try to google it themselves, I’m not only obliged but overjoyed to supply the link.

                Now that we’ve cleared that up, what part of what I posted are you sincerely interested in, Michael?Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Tom Van Dyke
                Ignored
                says:

                Sorry, Tom was off to a birthday dinner as I wrote that.

                I guess in this case what I’m sincerely interested in is learning what kind of astigmatism is necessary to perceive this newspaper as radically left-wing, and for that it would be helpful to know who thinks it.

                I suppose it is up to you to decide whether blog comments, or particular interlocutors, are worth investing the energy in that is necessary to make clear what the heck you’re saying and what are the merely the words of an unnamed opiner, and perhaps who that is, and where they said it, rather than making readers do that work.

                I wasn’t aware that it is internet etiquette to assume that if someone is interested in knowing where you found some words that you didn’t originally create, the burden falls on them to ferret out the information by cutting and pasting sections of text into using Google. But I’m not terribly surprised that that’s how you look at things.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew
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                says:

                Sorry, comma, Tom, comma, I meant.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Michael Drew
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                says:

                I wasn’t aware that it is internet etiquette to assume that if someone is interested in knowing where you found some words that you didn’t originally create, the burden falls on them to ferret out the information by cutting and pasting sections of text into using Google.

                Making others do the work is in fact how gentlemen behave. That’s what you servants are for, after all.Report

        • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Tom Van Dyke
          Ignored
          says:

          I don’t think you’re going to hear much in the way of numbers from him; I can’t say as I do much. He’s always on about the broad philosophical point about the relationship of the state to people. Which is not worth nothing. If you wanted numbers, I actually think Portman or TPaw *would* have been better. (Obviously, he’ll have to talk some numbers in the debate, but remember my point here when even there he’s very interested in making the broad assertions about the incentive effects of the safety net and its unsustainability – but not demonstrating those to be right with “numbers.”) Now, the broad-strokes philosophy gets peopple more excited, so I don’t disagree it’s potentially a helpful pick. But it’s not clear it’s helpful beyond solidifying Romney’s base, which, if still necessary much past this week, makes this more of a defensive pick than an offensive one. We’ll have to see.

          That said, I don’t think Ryan’s greater efficacy as a hatchet man over the alternatives is in evidence. What we can say is that it’s good for Romney to have the position filled.Report

      • Avatar Koz in reply to Michael Drew
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        says:

        “This is an easy answer, and it might be correct — only a handful of people know what is going on in Romney’s inner circle, and what their polling is showing. But I don’t think so. Ryan is a risky pick, but not a panicked pick.”

        In a couple of sentences, I think that’s the right answer (this is from Sean Trende)

        http://www.realclearpolitics.com/printpage/?url=http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2012/08/11/evaluating_the_paul_ryan_pick-full.htmlReport

        • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Koz
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          says:

          Because it doesn’t show panick when you put out a press release on Friday during the Olympics…
          Of course not!
          It shows knives, glistening and gleaming and waiting to be bloodied. Just like Palin dropping the puck for the Flyers.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to James Hanley
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      says:

      I’ll wait and see what role they give Ryan in the next couple of weeks. If he’s the attack dog, letting Romney take the high road and be a nicer guy, maybe it works out. If it’s a signal that the Republicans are going to run on the Ryan budget plans, with the details filled in*, then I have to agree with Tod that it’s over. I might go so far as to suggest that if the Republicans nation-wide are going to run on a detailed Ryan budget, the real question is “How far down the ticket will the damage extend?”

      * For two years, Ryan has named tax rates and said that they would be largely offset by eliminating loopholes of various sorts. He has pointedly not said which loopholes he would close, pushing that decision off to Ways and Means (which has similarly declined to make suggestions). He’s running for VP now, so the “leave it up to Ways and Means” line no longer works. The consensus by specialists seems to be that there are only two places to get the kind of money needed: (1) The mortgage deduction would have to be largely eliminated; and (2) business spending on employee health insurance would have to largely become taxable income. To put it mildly, neither of those is going to be popular.Report

      • Avatar Koz in reply to Michael Cain
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        says:

        Yeah, libs would like to think this but it doesn’t fly, at the very least it’s no certainty. There have been various iterations of the Ryan plan floating around for over two years now, with greater and greater GOP embrace of it.

        The D’s have desperately trying to turn on the electricity in the third rail but they haven’t been able to do it.Report

  3. Avatar Mike Schilling
    Ignored
    says:

    What I don’t understand is why Ryan was announced at the time traditional for bad news that’ll hopefully have blown over by Monday.Report

  4. Avatar Mike Dwyer
    Ignored
    says:

    I respectfully disagree with your assesment Tod. From my view there are two elements at play in this race:

    1) Reviewing the last four years (Biden and Ryan will do this)

    2) Talking high-level vision for the next four years (Romney and Obama will do this)

    The first half of this equation will take time. You have to build a real narrrative. Ryan has been rehearsing for this for years. He is going to tell his story (right or wrong) and Biden will be tasked with defusing it. On this score I give a big edge to Ryan.

    The question for me is how well Romney does in accomplishing the second half of the program. I am skeptical he can sell his vision but Obama has certainly lost the benefit of the doubt given to him in 2008. He can’t sell a fantasy anymore. His job will be tough too.

    This whole thing may also just be a dress rehearsal for Ryan 2016. I won’t say I am suddenly more optimistic about the GOP’s chances but I AM more interested.

    P.S. I think we can also safely say Ryan won’t implode like Palin did.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Mike Dwyer
      Ignored
      says:

      “This whole thing may also just be a dress rehearsal for Ryan 2016. I won’t say I am suddenly more optimistic about the GOP’s chanced but I AM more interested.

      P.S. I think we can also safely say Ryan won’t implode like Palin did.”

      A big +1 all three of these points.Report

  5. Avatar MFarmer
    Ignored
    says:

    This is one of those posts that need to be saved and re-posted in November. Conventional wisdom in the political class is wishful thinking along these lines. Obama has been so bad for the country and the economy there is no way he can win a second term. When the voting is done, Romney will have a comfortable win. This is not an endorsement of Romney. I Think Romney will back-track from full support of Ryan’s budget, and this is unfortunate. What Romney should say in response to the coming onslaught of Ryan smears is that Ryan’s budget doesn’t go far enough. If Romney takes this momentum and becomes a real opposition leader — opposition to statism/progressivism — he will win huge.Report

    • Avatar MFarmer in reply to MFarmer
      Ignored
      says:

      One more thing. Polls don’t mean anything in this campaign in this media environment. The polls will be all over the place between now and Novemer. Polls, for the most part, have become manufactured political weapons rather than informational snapshots.Report

    • Avatar James Hanley in reply to MFarmer
      Ignored
      says:

      If this column is to be reposted come November, let’s be sure to include this comment.

      Are you willing to be more specific on what you count as a comfortable win? A certain number of electoral votes or a certain percentage of the popular vote, whichever you prefer, but you’re claiming so much confidence that I’d like to see your definition of comfortable now.Report

      • Avatar MFarmer in reply to James Hanley
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        says:

        I will have to figure up the electoral votes, but I say around 55-43, with Johnson and others getting about 2%.Report

        • Avatar Koz in reply to MFarmer
          Ignored
          says:

          I would have thought that’s about right maybe a month ago, now I’m not as sure. But, the thing that I do think that still makes this quite plausible is that Romney votes are pretty much locked down but I don’t think nearly as many Obama votes are.

          I wonder what the motivations are for people who are voting for Obama.Report

        • Avatar James Hanley in reply to MFarmer
          Ignored
          says:

          I meant either/or, wasn’t insisting on both. If you want to throw out an EC number, too, that’s cool, but if you don’t want to go to the trouble this suffices.

          How confident in that number are you? Expressed as a financial commitment.Report

          • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley
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            says:

            Also, I’m wondering what information you think you have that isn’t being accounted for by Intrade, which is still putting his re-election chances at 59%?Report

            • Avatar MFarmer in reply to James Hanley
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              says:

              Intrade still believes the polls — I don’t. I’m basing my prediction on something that’s outdated, reason and faith that most Americans are smarter than media believe they are. I think because of 24/7 information access through the internet and cable news, and the fact that more people are awake and alert due to the bad economy, and I see conversation leaders wherever I go, people who are explaining with reason how media and political class have lied to the American people for decades, that now voters wil do what it was first imagined they would — the best thing for liberty. Obama has crossed a line of corruption that is grounded in mad desire for political power — the American people are rejecting the primacy of politics. Romney might not be better, and he might be worse, but when people get into the voting booth, it’s my prediction they will vote for a change. James, I’m not saying I have inside rock-solid evidence that is irrefutable, so relax. I know what I’m predicting is a prediction based on what I consider a reasonable hunch, and that the people I talk to might not represent people all over. I know. But then no one really knows for sure. WE’ve seen surprises before when all the experts predicted one thing and another happened. You don’t have to spend a lot of energy, though, pinning me down — I’ll pin myself down and just say we’ll wait and see, and we’ll bring the posts back up.Report

            • Avatar Kimmi in reply to James Hanley
              Ignored
              says:

              Nate had a great takedown of intrade. It’s a powerbroker’s place to game the system. It’s not a poll, and it’s not being manipulated by the folks who mean to win money.

              I know someone who bet quite a bit on Obama. In England, I believe.Report

        • Avatar Ryan Noonan in reply to MFarmer
          Ignored
          says:

          Someone is going to sound an awful lot like Pauline Kael on November 7.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to James Hanley
        Ignored
        says:

        There is also this post that we get to look at. We were so young!Report

    • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Monique
      Ignored
      says:

      heh heh.

      Admit It, I Scare The Ever-Loving Shit Out Of You, Don’t I?
      BY PAUL RYAN
      CANDIDATE FOR VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
      AUGUST 13, 2012 | ISSUE 48•33

      When Mitt Romney selected me as his running mate, I knew the Democratic attack dogs would come out in full force. They would say I’m a right-wing ideologue. They would say my views on entitlement programs are far too radical. They would say putting me on the ticket immediately kills Mitt Romney’s chances of becoming president because I’m a liability. But if we’re being honest with each other—if we’re able to put aside the talking points for a few minutes and say what we’re all actually thinking and feeling—I believe we can acknowledge the real truth here.

      I’m young, I’m handsome, I’m smart, and I’m articulate. And that scares the ever-loving shit out of you. You can pretend like you have this thing in the bag, but you know good goddamn well that this race just got real interesting, real fast.

      It’s okay to admit it. You’re frightened to death of me. It might actually be healthy for you to face your fears now rather than later, when Mitt and I are leading by a few points in the polls and it looks like this thing might end badly for you. Face it: I’m not some catastrophe waiting to happen, like a Sarah Palin or a Dan Quayle. On the contrary, you have the exact opposite fear. I’m a solid, competent, some might say exceptional, politician.

      Did you get nervous when you read that last sentence? Is it because you know in your heart of hearts that it’s 100 percent true? Is it because, even if you strongly disagree with my beliefs on Medicare, Social Security, women’s rights, and marriage equality, you know my talent as a speaker and my well-thought-out approach to these issues—no matter how radical and convoluted you find them—might just be enough to win over independent voters?

      Do you get chills just thinking about how strong my appeal actually is?

      I have another question for you: How scared are you that I can convince people I’m right? Because I’m good at it. No, I’m really good at it. You see, I know how to turn up the charm and charisma without putting people off. Then I back up what I’m saying with arguments that, when they come out of my mouth, sound completely accurate and well-reasoned. And I do it with such passion that people automatically recognize me as a man with deep convictions he will stand up for, no matter what.

      The American people love that shit. They love it.

      Passion, intellect, and a magnetic personality. Pretty damn intimidating combo, if I say so myself. You want to talk about polish? Man, I’ve got polish for miles. Oh, and by the way, I’ll go ahead and say this next thing because, if we’re being honest, why the hell not, right? In case you haven’t noticed, I’m white. Hoo, brother, am I white.

      Yup, you should be scared shitless of me, because guess who isn’t? The people of Wisconsin. They love me. Republicans and Democrats there love me. Hell, I get Democrats to vote for me even if my policies make zero sense when it comes to their livelihoods. Do you know why? Because they like me. They like my story. Young, good-looking kid who pulled himself up by his bootstraps to make something of himself. Christ, I’m a storybook candidate. I balance out this ticket so well it’s almost too perfect. The people of Ohio are going to think that. And seniors in Florida—the state we supposedly lost when Mitt picked me—won’t be so scared as soon they know that my mother lives in Florida, and that all I want to do is reform the health care system so she can receive care that makes good fiscal sense.

      Boy, I’m going to sell the shit out of that talking point. And I’m going to do a great job of it. Why? Because I’m Paul Ryan. That’s what I do.

      And if we’re having trouble getting Pennsylvania on board, just wait until I absolutely wipe the floor with Joe Biden in the vice presidential debates. Don’t think for a second that I don’t know you’re terrified of us facing off, because in the back of your mind you know it could be a bloodbath up there.

      Well, that’s 77 electoral votes, and by my math that means you can kiss your golden boy goodbye after four short years. All that promise. All that energy. All that potential. Gone in one November night.

      I’m your worst fucking nightmare.

      Oh, and by the way, don’t even try to pretend you haven’t imagined me being elected president one day.Report

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