10 Reasons Romney's Choice of Paul Ryan for Veep Is Smarter Than You Think
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2. Romney is now seen as bold. By picking a controversial choice, a young, mediagenic, so-called brainy numbers guy, and one loved by the conservative base, Romney passed up the gaggle of more boring white guys who populated the pundits' predictions, to pick the radical one. But here, in fact, Romney has it both ways. Ryan is not a Palin or a Rubio -- a wild card -- but rather a well-positioned Republican with major mainstream and corporate credibility, whom the media often has gone ga-ga over. And Ryan is an insider -- Erskine Bowles (the co-chair of the Bowles-Simpson Deficit Commission, and rumored to be the next Secretary of the Treasury), has lavished lots of praise on to Ryan, who served on the commission, as have many others.
3. Did I mention Ryan is Catholic? We hear how the conservative Catholic bishops are trying to push Catholic voters to Romney, who has obviously come late to his anti-abortion stance. And among Catholic voters, Romney's Mormonism isn't exactly a plus. Still any anti-abortion politician is better than Obama in the bishops' minds. For the bishops, their task became easier with Ryan (even if they have a problem or two with his budget proposal), who is as conservative as they come, being against abortion even in cases of rape and incest. Those Catholics who are inclined to vote conservative are now very excited. And, in fact, it's not just far-right Catholics to whom Ryan appeals. A lot of voters in this country, for some reason, really like candidates who stick to rigid principles, even if those principles contradict their own. Ryan will get some of those voters.
4. Romney now has even more money. Romney has been doing fine, raising hundreds of millions from investment bankers and other pots of big wealth from the 1/10th of the top 1 percent. Still the Ryan choice is a huge motivator to the group of rabid right-wing billionaires around Charles and David Koch, the billionaire brothers who fund and raise money for right-wing candidates, and an array of right-wing groups. Ryan has been a Koch favorite for years, supported and featured in myriad ways. The Kochs have promised, with Karl Rove, to raise $400 million for the so-called "independent superPACs". Now, with all those billionaires jazzed over Ryan, the sky may be the limit. There is talk of the superPACs and the Romney campaign raising and spending $1.2 billion -- and now maybe even more.
5. Romney gets the full Koch election infrastructure. Solidifying the alliance with the Kochs is even more about infrastructure than campaign dollars, which will be plentiful. As my colleague Adele Stan, who covers the Kochs and conservative election field operations, explains:
The Kochs, via Americans for Prosperity and Faith and Freedom Coalition, own the infrastructure for the ground game in the swing states. They've been building it for years. That's not something any amount of money can build in the three months leading up to the election. Romney really, really needs Koch buy-in.
6. Ryan seals the deal for a base-motivating campaign in the worst tradition of the Republicans. Republicans win when they run to their base, and play the "us versus them" card for their anxious constituencies. Voter suppression tactics of all sorts are in play, especially in Florida and Pennsylvania. Taken together, Ryan's earnest demeanor and brutal budgets act as an a elixir for grassroots conservatives; the base will now be super-motivated.
Bush won two terms without winning the majority of the popular vote because the GOP wanted the win more than the Democrats -- and Republicans cheat more. As Thomas Schaller writes at Salon:
By picking [Ryan], Romney provides a powerful signal that he is willing to counter Obama's failed attempt to unite America with an unapologetic attempt to win via econo-demographic divide and conquer politics.
7. The Romney campaign will now be the most brutal, race-tinged, fact-absent, expensive, technologically sophisticated campaign ever run. This presidential race is increasingly polarized. Polling shows that Obama has lost most of the non-college-educated white male voters he was able to capture in 2008. As Charles Blow points out in the New York Times: