Politico sampled the views of Republican insiders and found their assessment of Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan as his running mate isn’t as positive as Fox News would like you to believe. Sure, Ryan is bringing out big crowds and bigger donors. But Romney’s choice has also shined a bright like on a very disturbing part of Paul Ryan’s record, which also happens to be the only thing he’s known for: The Ryan Budget.
“It’s going to elevate the campaign into a debate over big ideas. It means Romney-Ryan can run on principles and provide some real direction and vision for the Republican Party. And probably lose. Maybe big,” explained Mark McKinnon, a former senior adviser to George W. Bush.
As Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic describes Ryan’s radical vision of America: “Many millions of working-age Americans would lose health insurance. Senior citizens would anguish over whether to pay their rent or their medical bills, in a way they haven’t since the 1960s. Government would be so starved of resources that, by 2050, it wouldn’t have enough money for core functions like food inspections and highway maintenance. And the richest Americans would get a huge tax cut.”
That’s a pretty stark vision — and it doesn’t even include Ryan’s plan to turn Medicare into a voucher program requiring Americans 54 and younger to pay more for a program far less efficient that the existing program that seniors love. Even Mitt Romney can’t get his opinion of Ryan’s Medicare scheme straight, although his campaign basically copied the Ryan plan with less detail.
But nobody has to tell House Republicans in swing districts that Ryan’s budget is a loser. Several Republicans of them are already running from it at top speed.
Collins is running against Kathy Hochul, the upstate Democrat who won New York’s 26th Congressional District seat in a special election by pounding her Republican opponent for supporting Ryan’s Medicare plans. Collins is trying to avoid that fate by pretending the Ryan budget doesn’t exist. “I’m not going to get into a discussion now about a budget that may be passed next year with a new president and new Congress,” he dodged. “I’m not going to go back and relive any proposal in the past because they are in the past. “ With Ryan joining the GOP ticket, it will be hard to make the argument that his budget is in the past.
Image credit: Chris Collins’ Facebook
Like Collins, Brooks is running in upstate New York — and even her endorsement by Paul Ryan is being used by Louise Slaughter, the Democratic incumbent in the 28th Congressional District, to rally support. When Brooks released a statement praising Romney’s choice of Ryan, she made sure to add this discordant note: “It has always been my position that I do not support the Ryan budget and its proposals regarding Medicare.”
Image credit: DanielPenfield
Tisei is running in Massachusetts, the state that now enjoying the health care system Mitt Romney signed into law yet won’t run on. An openly gay, pro-choice Republican running in the Bay State’s Sixth Congressional District against incumbent Democrat John Tierney, has promised that if elected he would continue of the Republican tradition of cognitive dissonance — and refuse to vote for the budget plan of his party’s vice-presidential nominee.
Image credit: tiseiforcongress.com
Representative Amash, the Republican who represents Michigan’s Third Congressional District, is a classic case of Ryan Fatigue Syndrome. He voted for the Ryan budget the first time it came up on the House floor. But after Hochul’s victory in New York, when a strong Democratic candidate decided to challenge him, Amash decided that he had better run, run, run from the Ryan budget, claiming that he “could not in good conscience support it.”
Representative Rehberg, elected from Montana’s at-large Congressional District, likewise voted against the Ryan budget — twice. Now as a a candidate for Senate against incumbent Democrat Jon Tester, he hopes that just saying “no” to Ryan will be enough to win over Montana’s large population of seniors, an unusually large percentage of whom voted for Barack Obama in 2008.
Brown is trying to defend his seat in the nation’s most-watched Senate race. Facing liberal hero Elizabeth Warren, the Republican, elected as a darling of the Tea Party, is eager to appeal to the moderate Obama voters whose support he will need to win. His record on Ryan’s budget may allow him to attract (or repel) both sides. This man of principle once thanked God for Ryan’s proposal — and then voted against it, twice.