Multiple outlets are reporting that Mitt Romney will unveil Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate on the USS Wisconsin on Saturday morning. Thus cementing his status as doomed in November.
NBC, The Huffington Post, and The Weekly Standard are all reporting that Romney’s choice is Ryan. Unless the Romney campaign is out to throw the media a curve ball that would enrage the base, it looks like the choice will be Ryan. (So much for that highly touted Romney app that was going to scoop the media on the announcement.)
The Ryan choice would be symbolic of how desperate the Romney campaign has become. After claiming that they wouldn’t repeat John McCain’s mistakes of 2008, the Romney campaign is repeating one of McCain’s biggest errors. Paul Ryan is Mitt Romney’s game change. Much like McCain in 2008, the base is growing increasingly disgruntled and vocal about the direction of his campaign. Polls show Romney trailing Obama both nationally and in swing states. Romney needed to woo them. He needed a game changer. He apparently decided that he needed Paul Ryan.
Romney’s campaign has become a daily gaffe fest that is being undercut by his own staff and surrogates. It was all falling apart for Mitt, and after Andrea Saul’s endorsement of Obamacare this week, Romney had get the base back on his side.
Romney’s solution is Paul Ryan.
Republicans adore Ryan, but the Wisconsin Representative is one of the faces of the extremely unpopular Republican House. Ryan is a Washington insider, who defies the Romney narrative because like Obama he “has no private sector experience.” Ryan has zero foreign policy or executive experience. Back in 2000 Dick Cheney put himself on the ticket to balance concerns about W. In 2008, Obama picked Biden in part for his foreign policy chops, but much like Palin in ’08, Romney’s selection of Ryan raises more questions than it answers.
The choice of Ryan means that the Ryan budget and the privatization of Social Security and Medicare are going to be front and center this fall. By adding Ryan, Romney is going to have to also deal with the fact that Ryan’s budget is full of smoke and mirrors, and it actually raises the deficit.
The Ryan budget is a massive upward redistribution of wealth that actually plays into Obama’s characterization of Romney as the candidate of the rich.
If Romney has chosen Ryan, this choice was all about shoring up the base. This was a decision designed to help Romney now, not in November. Picking Ryan has revealed Romney to be a desperate candidate who sees his chance at the office he has been running for non-stop through three election cycles slipping away.
Romney urgently needs to change the narrative away from Bain, his tax returns, and his gaffes, but Paul Ryan actually reinforces that storyline. The Ryan budget gets people to stop talking about Romney’s tax returns and instead discuss how he just picked the guy who wants to kill Social Security and Medicare. This is like throwing yourself on a grenade only to have an atomic bomb land on you.
Democrats will be doing handstands of joy if Romney has indeed selected Paul Ryan. If he has done so, the GOP nominee has given Democrats the one running mate that they can use to define Romney from now until Election Day.
The base will rejoice over Paul Ryan. Democrats will be ecstatic to run against Paul Ryan, and by the time the campaign is over voters will be certain not elect Paul Ryan or the guy who chose him to the White House.
By picking Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney will cement his status as the man who lost the 2012 election before it even started. By not picking Paul Ryan, Romney just enraged the very voters he needs to show up in November. Either way, Mitt Romney has put himself in a classic lose/lose situation.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association