Chicago Tribune Analyst as Arm of the Democrat Party Campaign
Chi Trib and its sister, LA Times, are off to a flying start for the campaign to make sure Paul Ryan never becomes vice president. This batch of stories I offer as evidence in globo, but today’s Chi Trib hard copy offers something worth analyzing. (It’s also among the batch.) I speak of “Romney’s choice of Ryan pleases both left and right,” a textbook-worthy case of campaign literature coming on to us as “analysis,” a favorite Chi Trib fig leaf from years back.
Yes, Virginia and all you listeners at sea and all you Trib editors, we do read your Sunday-morning hard copy, even if it’s by an LAT fellow, in this case the inimitable Paul West, fresh off his 8/9 prediction, where all the smart money was lying, that Portman would be THE MAN. What a guy.
“With every passing day,” he wrote,
it’s increasingly likely that Mitt Romney will reject a more ideological, movement-style conservative and announce instead that he’s running with Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, a well-regarded member of the party establishment.
This is only a guess, of course, and hardly rates as a “wow” if it turns out to be accurate.
I love that declining to be named a very sharp fellow, since it was so obvious. Where does our favorite newspaper company get such stalwarts?
So he took a sucker punch with the Ryan pick, so today he was constrained to make the point of what a bad choice this was for Romney.
Both sides were happy at the Ryan choice, he pundited, observed, analyzed, whatever, which means one side is being foolish. Which one? Well, for one thing,
Romney appears to have concluded that success was iffy on his original course — to make the election a referendum on Obama. The new and decidedly different trajectory will make the fall election more of a choice between contrasting visions of the future — a frame that Obama had already been attempting to put around the contest.
Hapless fellow, he, seeking to make silk purse from sow’s ear. It must be true. Take the word of the guy who ran Bob Dole’s campaign in 1996! (Still on West’s tickler after all these years, long since transferred to his I-Whatsit.)
“Romney must have recognized that what he was doing was not working and he needed to shake the race up,” said Scott Reed . . .
who added that the choice energized the base.
A top Bush strategist from the 2004 election sniffed at this: “This Ryan pick isn’t going to help close the gap with Latino voters. This isn’t going to persuade suburban, middle-class moms to support the ticket. . . .” Uh-oh, even Republicans aren’t happy.
So why the heck was EVERYBODY HAPPY on Larry Kudlow’s radio show Saturday afternoon, where waves of ecstatic commentary were enough to make a grown man weep for joy. Oh wait. The base. Bad idea to pay them any mind. Euphoric base-members need not apply for entry into the World of West and Fellow Newsies.
Anyhow, even the base isn’t so sure.
. . . influential conservative voices, including the Weekly Standard magazine, had launched an aggressive push for Ryan — even while acknowledging, as the Wall Street Journal editorialized in making the case for the Wisconsin congressman, that some leaders of his own party consider the 42-year-old too young and too risky and feared that his selection “would make Medicare and the House budget the issue, not the economy.” [italics mine]
And then a quote from Ralph Reed, and that does it for the tickler, so thin it is with base members.
Then a generic nod to Romney-Ryan strategy coming up, devoid of hard-hitting specifics as if there were none, followed by a trove of Dem talking points (with which West and Newsie Friends are considerably more familiar):
Democrats will attempt to use the budget proposals to amplify attacks they’ve been making against the Republican presidential candidate. Ryan’s proposal to eliminate capital gains taxes would do away with much of Romney’s own tax liability, allowing Democrats to remind voters that Romney refuses to disclose his taxes from before 2010. Democrats will argue that Ryan’s plan shreds the social safety net in the same way thatBain Capital, Romney’s former firm, laid off workers and left them without health insurance.
At the same time, Democratic candidates at all levels will blast away at hot-button issues that, for decades, they’ve managed to turn to their advantage at election time — protecting Medicare and Social Security against the presumed perils of Republican overhaul proposals.
Seniors, a group that narrowly supports Romney over Obama, are particularly sensitive to changes in programs that most of them rely on for their income and healthcare. Even though Romney says his plan wouldn’t affect current recipients, adding Ryan to the ticket could affect GOP chances in senior-heavy Florida, the biggest battleground state, where the presidential race is currently a tossup.
Obama campaign manager Jim Messina, in an email to supporters, said Ryan “would end Medicare as we know it and slash the investments we need to keep our economy growing — all while cutting taxes for those at the very top.”
And a final very gloomy summing up from a Democrat source:
Romney now faces “the same risk that the Republicans faced four years ago in the selection of Sarah Palin,” Democratic pollster Peter Hart said. “It can look good on Day 1, on Day 10. The question is, can it make it to Day 30? Ryan obviously brings substance and knowledge to their campaign. But on the other hand, he is now wrapped neatly around the neck of the Republican ticket.”
OK, P. West, we get it. So you didn’t think Romney had it in him to pick the author of a controversial plan. You were wrong, but you’re right about the un-wisdom of the pick. Sure you are. This time is the time for you. Good luck.
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