Romney’s present, Ryan’s future
Vice-presidential picks are always judged by their effect on the coming election. They rarely have any.
They haven’t had a decisive influence since Lyndon Johnson carried Texas for John Kennedy in 1960. (That and Illinois put Kennedy over the top.) This time, however, the effect could be significant. The Democrats’ Mediscare barrage is already in full swing. Paul Ryan, it seems, is determined to dispossess Grandmother, then toss her over a cliff. If the charge is not successfully countered, good-bye Florida.
Republicans have a twofold answer. First, hammer home that their Medicare plan affects no one over 55, let alone 65. Second, go on offense. Point out that President Obama cuts Medicare by $700 billion to finance Obamacare.
It’s a sweet judo throw: Want to bring up Medicare, supposedly our weakness? Fine. But now you’ve got to debate Obamacare, your weakness — and explain why you are robbing Granny’s health care to pay for your pet project.
If Mitt Romney and Ryan can successfully counterattack Mediscare, the Ryan effect becomes a major plus. Because:
(a) Ryan nationalizes the election and makes it ideological, reprising the 2010 dynamic that delivered a “shellacking” to the Democrats.
(b) If the conversation is about big issues, Obama cannot hide from his dismal economic record and complete failure of vision. In Obama’s own on-camera commercial — “the choice .?.?. couldn’t be bigger” — what’s his big idea? A 4.6-point increase in the marginal tax rate of 2 percent of the population.
That’s it? That’s his program? For a country with stagnant growth, ruinous debt and structural problems crying out for major entitlement and tax reform? Obama’s “plan” would cut the deficit from $1.20 trillion to $1.12 trillion. It’s a joke. ...