Jimmy Dahroug: The Ryan Choice from Different Perspectives

As a fan of Christopher Guest Movies, I was pretty pleased.

I always thought Mitt Romney resembled Fred Willard.
Paul Ryan looks a bit like John Michael Higgins, another Christopher Guest Alum.
Sure, I kind of see Jake Gyllenhaal, or the guy who plays Gabe on The Office.
Just watch Best in Show or A Mighty Wind – then we can have a real debate!
As a strategist, I was pretty shocked.
Paul Ryan was one of the last people I thought Romney would choose.  In my mind, it really came down to Portman and Rubio.
I think Romney already had the base on board (due in part to the Supreme Court ruling) – and Portman or Rubio (among others) could have helped pleased the conservative as well as helped in other ways and without exposing Romney to such risk.
In terms of substance, I’m not even sure Romney shares that much in common with Paul Ryan.  While both would like to call themselves fiscal conservatives – Romney can be considered pragmatic, and his risks are calculated.  That’s just not Paul Ryan.
From what I can see, Ryan poses such unnecessary risk.  There may be some critical information we’re just not privy to – even intangibles like chemistry, rapport…  Those qualities do matter.
Still – this is a big risk for Romney.
As a Democrat, I hope the Obama team does not underestimate Paul Ryan.
1. Due in part to economic uncertainty, voters took a chance on Obama in 2008.  Although Obama can argue the Country would have been worse off without his actions in office, voters are still feeling a challenging economy.  They may be willing to take a risk with Ryan when they wouldn’t at any other time.
2. Paul Ryan, himself, is prepared and effective. He simply should not be underestimated.
No matter how confident the Obama team is in the substance of its arguments against Paul Ryan, they cannot take him lightly.
Ryan is not the caricature fire-breathing conservative that is supposed to scare kids and small animals.  He won’t raise his voice like Chris Christie. Paul Ryan will listen and he will calmly and respectfully respond.
Saying Paul Ryan does his homework is an understatement.  Agree with Ryan or not, he knows the details and the big picture.  He’ll anticipate every argument Democrats can make and he’ll be prepared to respond.  The Obama team needs to be just as prepared.
In 1980, the Carter campaign painted Reagan as a dangerous extremist.  What the American people saw was a pleasant man who didn’t seem at all like the monster they had come to expect.
To be clear, I do not believe Paul Ryan is the political athlete Ronald Reagan was.  But let’s not give him the opportunity to appear anywhere close to it.
3. Finally – It is not in Mitt Romney’s nature to make erratic decisions.  Although I don’t quite understand this pick, Romney is too methodical to make a choice like this without gaming out all the options and consequences.
Surely he thoroughly considered that Democrats would pounce on Ryan over medicare.  Could it be that Romney would rather have the scrutiny on his Veep pick so that it takes the target off of him and Bain?  The idea being that Democrats make Ryan their target (the Veep spot has always been obscure to voters), and the target is no longer Romney and Bain?
It’s a theory I haven’t fully explored it – but Ryan/Medicare seems to have already left Romney/Bain in the dust, and I don’t see that changing very soon.


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