Liberals are proclaiming that by choosing Paul Ryan as his running mate, Mitt Romney has changed the strategy of his campaign — when in fact, he’s doubled-down on it.
In a Slate post headlined “Romney/Ryan 2012 Means We’ll Ignore the Biggest Issue of Our Time,” Matthew Yglesias writes:
But attention is to an extent a zero-sum game. And focusing attention on the big-picture disagreement between Democrats and Republicans about long-term fiscal policy means we won’t be focusing attention on what ought to be the most pressing economic policy issue of our time—mass unemployment and the tragic waste of human and economic potential it represents
Talk about wishful thinking! I think it’s safe to assume that unemployment will continue to be a major focus of the campaign. Policy wonks and partisans may consider deficit reduction and unemployment as separate issues, but for swing voters I think it all conflates into responsible stewardship of the economy.
… the choice of Ryan pushes against what has been the central theory of Romney’s campaign: make it less of a choice between himself and Obama and more of a referendum on the incumbent president and the languishing economy.
Actually, no matter who is on the ticket, a presidential re-election campaign will always be both a choice between two candidates and a referendum on the incumbent. This time, Obama doesn’t have the luxury of running against the incumbent.
Romney’s original intention was to make the 2012 election a referendum on President Obama’s management of the economy. Ryan makes it a choice between two competing plans for deficit reduction. This election increasingly resembles the Obama campaign’s strategy rather than the Romney campaign’s strategy.
More wishful thinking. Although Paul Ryan certainly is the primary focus of election coverage this weekend, that will soon fade. Ultimately the election is a choice between Romney and Obama.
No matter how much Obama partisans want to wedge Paul Ryan into a Sarah Palin narrative, that won’t work. Watch Ryan’s famous three-minute “Path to Prosperity” video above and you’ll see an articulate spokesman for fiscal responsibility. What you won’t see is a target-rich environment for Tina Fey.