They Don’t Get a Vote

Ninety-seven GOP House members have written to President Obama opposing his possible choice of U. N. Ambassador Susan Rice to be the next Secretary of State because of Benghazi and her now-infamous talking points.  Only the Senate gets to vote on the nomination, and so far only John McCain and Lindsey “Butters” Graham have said they would filibuster a Rice nomination.

Having chosen Sarah Palin as his Veep, I think Johnny Mac is forever barred from calling anyone “unqualified.”  He obviously didn’t recognize “unqualified” when it showed up at his ranch winking at him and flashing a little cleavage.

Politico: Mitt Loved Christie Before Christie Loved O

Politico is reporting* that Chris Christie was Mitt’s first choice for Veep, but that Mitt delayed announcing his choice and changed his mind either during or immediately after his disastrous trip to Europe and Israel.

The story is based on unnamed “campaign insiders.”  The fact that Mitt’s people are talking about this now, rather than, oh, maybe on Wednesday, tells me that they know they’ve lost.  The wheels came off the McCain campaign at the end too.

* “Exclusive:  Christie was Mitt’s first choice for VP,” Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei

Wonk Fight — Nate Silver on Paul Ryan

From “Why I’m Not Buying the Romney Rally,” Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight, NYT:

“What if we did include a vice-presidential bounce adjustment?

“If so, it would probably be calculated as follows:  since the average vice-presidential announcement has produced a four-point bounce in the polls, subtract four points from any poll conducted in between the naming of the running mate and the party convention.  In other words, we’d subtract four points from Mr. Romney’s numbers since he named Mr. Ryan on Saturday.

“If I do that and run the model again, it has a rather pessimistic forecast for Mr. Romney — giving him just a 24 percent chance of winning the Electoral College, rather than 31.3 percent as in the official version.

“The intuition behind this is simply that, under this theory, it’s a bad sign for Mr. Romney that Mr. Ryan has produced a below-average bounce so far.  Among the polls that allow for a direct comparison, Mr. Romney has gained an average of about one percentage point since his selection of Mr. Ryan.”  Emphasis added.

Great Choice for Biden Prep

Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen has been chosen to play Paul Ryan in Joe Biden’s debate prep.  Van Hollen is the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee (Ryan is the Chairman), and he knows how Ryan thinks and what he will say.  He knows the important numbers to plant in Biden’s head.  He knows what buttons to push and which to avoid.

Paul Ryan, Deep in $716 Billion Worth of Weeds



“Paul Ryan, in his ongoing evolution from active supporter to newfound critic of the Affordable Care Act’s $716 billion in Medicare savings, now claims he actually opposed the cuts before he embraced them (and then turned against them again later).

“The confusing new wrinkle is the latest example of Ryan’s awkward contortions as he tries to reconcile the Romney campaign’s new promise to restore the $716 billion in cuts with Ryan’s previous decision to include the same exact cuts in two Republican budgets he wrote.

“On Thursday, Ryan tried to square the circle with reporters, explaining that he tried to reverse the cuts by voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but restored them in his own budgets anyway.

“So the score now stands at:  Ryan says he wouldn’t have cut Medicare.  Then Obama made those cuts.  Then Ryan voted to reverse them.  Then he decided to bring them back in the Republican budget.  Now he opposes them and thinks they hurt seniors.”

When you’re explaining, you’re losing, and Romney/Ryan are sure spending a lot of time ‘splaining.

Mitt Knows Where You Live, Will Send Ryan With His Bow and Arrow

From “Choice of Ryan Shifts the Focus From Economy,” Jeff Zeleny, NYT:

The Romney campaign is taking pains to track down and quash any criticism in Republican circles about any potential downsides of Mr. Ryan on the ticket, including that the campaign debate over Medicare is fraught with risk for other candidates in the party.

“Interviews wit nearly a dozen Republicans on Congressional and Senate campaigns said in near unison that they worried that the economic focus of the race had been overshadowed.”

Um, Mitt, even if you “track down and quash” negative GOP stuff, there’s this other party called the Democrats that’s not too fond of you and your little Ryan too, and they’re not going to shut up until your concession speech.

Did Dems Throw Ryan Into the Briar Patch?

From “How Obama Created the Greatest Threat to His Presidency,” Ezra Klein, Bloomberg:

Here’s the weird thing about Paul Ryan being named to the Republican presidential ticket: It’s all part of Barack Obama’s campaign plan — a plan that’s working better than his strategists could have hoped. It could also backfire more disastrously than they have ever imagined.

“Unfortunately for them [the Obama team], Ryan’s profile wasn’t rising fast enough. So Obama did something very unusual. Typically, sitting presidents ignore doomed proposals from the minority party. But on April 13, 2011, with Ryan sitting in the audience, Obama delivered a searing speech — perhaps the toughest of his presidency to that point — on the subject of Ryan’s budget. He said it would mean an America that ‘would be fundamentally different than what we’ve known throughout our history.’ He called it ‘a vision of our future that is deeply pessimistic.’

“The gambit largely worked. The news media devoted more coverage to Ryan’s budget and, perhaps more important, Republicans furiously rallied around Ryan. By pitting his presidency against Ryan and his budget, Obama helped make Ryan the de facto leader of the Republican Party.

“As Mitt Romney emerged as the all-but-certain Republican presidential nominee, the Obama administration began calling Ryan’s budget the “Romney-Ryan budget.” Priorities USA, the Obama-affiliated super-PAC, dedicated its first ad to tying Romney to Ryan. ‘Mitt Romney says he’s on the same page as Paul Ryan, who wrote the plan to essentially end Medicare,’ the ad’s narrator warned.

“The Obama team never could have predicted that its efforts would help vault Ryan into the nomination for vice president. But Ryan is a remarkably talented politician — so good, in fact, that he managed to convince Romney and the Republican Party that the argument the Obama administration pursued so aggressively is actually an argument that Republicans will win.

“Putting the Ryan budget at the center of the 2012 election has the tactical benefit of forcing Republicans to defend an unpopular proposal; more important, it has the long-term strategic benefit of potentially discrediting the Ryan budget as a political document. Prior to Ryan joining the ticket, a Romney loss seemed likely to strengthen the Republican Party’s conservative wing, because the defeat would be blamed on Romney’s moderate past. Now, if the Romney-Ryan ticket loses, it will vindicate skeptics of the party’s rightward shift, potentially strengthening the party’s moderates. That could produce a more cooperative opposition for Obama to work with in a second term.

“But if Obama loses, Republicans will have won the presidency with a mandate to enact a deeply conservative agenda. Left to his own devices, Romney might have been a relatively pragmatic and cautious president. Instead, the Obama administration’s three-year effort to enshrine the Ryan budget at the heart of the Republican Party would prove to have been a crucial push toward enacting that budget into law.”  Emphasis added.

I believe Obama will win, but GOP moderates (who are they, where are they?) still won’t be strengthened, that the conservatives will be as intransigent as ever.


John McCain has been among those in the GOP saying President Obama should dump Joe Biden.

Asked to comment today, White House press secretary Jay Carney had the perfect response:

“And while I appreciate, I have great admiration for and respect for and a long relationship with John McCain, but one place I would not go for advice on vice presidential running mates is to Senator McCain.”