Saturday, August 18, 2012


Hi, I'm back. Thank you, Tom, Libby, and Yellow Dog for throwing some elbows while I was gone.

I'm looking at Politico and I see that the bizarre decision to start the rollout of the Romney-Ryan ticket with a focus on Medicare isn't just a strange notion cooked up at Romney headquarters -- it's a strategy endorsed by much of the GOP:
... Republican strategists believe that there is really only one way to win the Medicare message wars: mount a bruising offense and attack Democrats for their own actions surrounding the popular federal health care program for senior citizens.

...This year, GOP message-makers say the reduced Medicare spending provisions in President Barack Obama's health care law give the Romney-Ryan ticket an unprecedented opportunity to gain the upper hand on the Medicare argument....

Republicans point to a special House election in Nevada last year as an example where the GOP candidate was able to neutralize and even win on the Medicare issue.

Rob Stutzman, a California-based GOP consultant who did GOP candidate Mark Amodei's ads, said the campaign's strategy was to go after its Democratic opponent on the issue at every opportunity.

...Stutzman said the Romney campaign is following much of the same playbook this year....
So that's the plan: Romney and Ryan, in 50-50 nation, are going to do on Medicare what Republican Mark Amodei did while winning a special election in Nevada's 2nd Congressional District last year.

Here's the thing: that Nevada 2nd District is a majority GOP district that's literally never elected a Democrat to Congress since it was created in 1980. Charlie Cook ranks the district as "R+5" -- hardly the reddest district in the country, but pretty damn red. Oh, and Amodei combined with the National Republican Campaign Committee and Karl Rove's American Crossroads outspent Democrat Kate Marhall by more than two to one (Marshall didn't get outside help, presumably because she ran as an Obama-basher and a Blue Dog.)

So that's the race Republicans are using as a model for how Romney and Ryan are going to win the Medicare debate in a 50-50 America where the Democratic opposition is actually fighting back and has the means to do so, even if it's being outspent.

It's true that Marshall ran a pretty good Medicare ad against Amodei, and that Amodei's response seems to have trumped Marshall's ace:

Mom walking into the frame on her cane at the end of that rebuttal ad is a genius touch -- and, ell, what do you know: Paul Ryan's going to campaign today with his mother at The Villages, the huge, Republican-leaning retirement spot in Florida.

The difference is that the guy at the top of Mark Amodei's ticket was Mark Amodei, who comes off (at least in that ad) as a perfectly decent fellow who loves his mother. The guy at the top of the Romney/Ryan ticket is ... well, Mitt Romney. And the guy trying to pull off the butter-wouldn't-melt-in-my-mouth act with Mom is Paul Ryan, a guy perceived as sincere and dreamy by right-wing think-tankers, Fox-watchers, and mainstream-media journalists, but a guy who comes off to most of the rest of the country, I think, as slick, ambitious, and a bit vulpine. Oh, and he wrote the various budgets that bear his name, so he can't pretend that what he really meant is that, yeah, that Paul Ryan guy has a lot of good ideas, but he, Paul Ryan, wouldn't go as far as Ryan does.

It's possible I'm being naive about this, but I just don't see it working.


The New York Crank said...

"I just don't see it working."

Alas, I fear it might work

Never underestimate the capacity of the American Public to vote against its own self-interest.
--The New York Crank

There's a sucker born every minute.
__PT Barnum

"Boobis Americnus"
--HL Mencken

"How can they see with
sequins in their eyes"
—From the song Razzle-Dazzle,
currently posted on my blog

Yours crankily,
The New York Crank

Victor said...

Welcome back from The Witless Relocation Program - er... uhm... I meant WitNESS Relocation Program.

My bad! ;-)

They believe in Rove's addendum to what Honest Abe said:
"Sure, you can't fool ALL of the people ALL of the time. But if you can fool ENOUGH of them..."

They believe that with FOX, talk radio, the Right Wing Wurlitzer, and the usually supine Democrats, they can lie with impunity.

Surprisingly, the Democrats are pushing against this much better than in the last decade-plus!

Now, let's see them keep it up for another few months.

Libby Spencer said...

Welcome home. I think it depends on how well the media does in educating the voters outside the la-la land of Faux News. And surprisingly, Big Media has done a fair amount of pushback on this one, so the optimist in me wants to believe they'll keep it up and this will backfire in a big way for the GOPers.

BH said...

Another welcome back, Steve, and thanks too to the guest blogmeisters.

I'm with Victor. To me, the really heartening thing about this election (and about almost the whole period of time since the 2010 disaster) is the willingness and ability of the D's - especially but not exclusively the O campaign - to fight hard & smartly. I think that helps keep the pressure on Big Media to do a better job than usual. Seems to me, too, that Romney-Ryan & its apparent strategy bears an uncanny resemblance to Dewey-Bricker in '48: an awkward android on top, a right-wing ideologue under, both arrogant and both as transparently mendacious as they think they need to be. Perfect targets.