Palin (verb w obj.) pay • lîn
To pile on a Vice Presidential nominee and blame him/her for defeat so political consultants do not have to accept any responsibility.
There have been a number of stories out over the past few days from Republican political consultants on background claiming the GOP is now screwed because Paul Ryan is the Vice Presidential nominee.
There is an underlying kernel of truth in their concerns. For seventy-two hours now, the GOP has talked about Medicare, not the failing economy. Several of the consultants I have talked to express a deep concern, based on past performance, that the Romney campaign does not have what it takes to fight on this front and make it about the economy. Their concerns are based on legitimate issues.
The reality, however, is that we win on this playing field if the Romney team does engage. Fixing entitlements is directly correlated to fixing the economy and Paul Ryan is an articulate spokesman on that correlation.
Bill Kristol gets at the ridiculousness of a lot of the bed wetting. In 1980, 1994, and 2010, Republican consultants soiled their britches that the GOP would lose for daring to make the campaign about ideas and ideology. Each time they fought on ideas, they won.
Let me make a simple point without wasting all our time — Republican consultants have gotten lazy. Many of the new kids on the block came up through the 2000 race with Karl Rove and are absolutely convinced that instead of running on ideas, you run on tactics directed toward building piecemeal coalitions. That’s how a supposed conservative like George Bush went from steel tariffs in Pennsylvania to Medicare Part D for seniors.
Republican consultants hate running campaigns based on ideas and ideology because they (A) don’t have one (B) think conservatives who do are knuckle draggers and (C) don’t understand how to message ideological campaigns as a result. And by God we can’t have consultants out actually working and thinking.
There are some great Republican consultants out there who share the concerns reflected in the Politico and elsewhere. Their concerns are based on the Romney team not being able to execute an ideological race. I don’t think we should lump them in with the others.
The ones the media is talking to are the consultants, like Mark McKinnon, who really don’t believe we should be having these fights. They’d rather fight around the edges. Those are the fights that will not win at this time. Those are the fights fought by people who hated the Tea Party in 2010 and were convinced the “Party of No” was a nonstarter with the American people. Those are the people we all really need to put out business on our side.
If the Romney campaign will wage an ideological fight for the heart and soul of the American Dream, they will win. Ultimately, the vast majority of voters do not want Barack Obama being the arbiter of what is fair in America.
After posting, a political consultant friend of mine writing to agree with me noted this in an email:
The only thing I’d add: Democrats have demagogued on Social Security and Medicare since the beginning of time. Anyone who isn’t preparing for Dem attacks on Medicare, especially House members who voted for the Ryan Budget twice, is crazy.