The Three Rs – Romney, Ryan and Reboot
|Poll Call||Change||Who’s Up|
|Real Clear Politics|
|Talking Points Memo PollTracker||No change||Obama|
|New York Times|
Apparently there’s some bar in Washington D.C. that will give you free shots if you call Paul Ryan “serious.” And this weekend, it comes with a chaser if you call Mitt Romney’s selection of Ryan “bold.” That’s the consensus you’ll hear if you turn on TV this weekend. Romney is being cast as turnaround artist who recognized his own campaign needed a turn around so he chose a “serious” running mate in a “bold” move.
What is bold about his choice is that it comes with serious liabilities. Ryan is on record with pushing a budget plan that mades drastic cuts to programs that help the poor and the middle class while offering huge tax breaks to the richest Americans. How huge? Under Paul Ryan’s plan, his millionaire boss would pay an 0.82% tax rate.
The least popular part of Ryan’s budget is a dramatic revamping of Medicare program that he calls a “premium support” model while Democrats say it ends Medicare as we know it. Even with Ryan’s revamped version of his plan, which includes a government option to go along with private insurer plans, seniors would pay more while health care costs go up. No one much mentioned this before, but Romney’s proposal is almost identical to Ryan’s on Medicare, just a bit more vague.
The GOP sensed how vulnerable Ryan makes Romney on Medicare and went on the offensive, recycling the attack that won the GOP the House in 2010. The President has already cut Medicare by $700 million. The only problem is that Ryan’s budget also includes the same cuts and Romney says he would sign Ryan’s budget into law.
David Frum argues that the mere fact that Romney is talking about Medicare instead of jobs shows the weakness of picking Ryan. It’s hard to disagree with that.
But the fact that the media is talking about how serious Ryan is and how bold Romney is means this is a good weekend for the challenger. It means that a headline like “Steel mill polluted town as Romney firm profited” went largely unnoticed, and the words “tax returns” were barely mentioned.
VERDICT: Ryan and Romney are up. But Romney may have a subject that he’d like to talk about even less than his business dealings and tax returns — Medicare.