Clearly, "schadenfreude" (German for "pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others") isn't the most admirable emotion out there. Yet that's what many Democrats, myself included, are feeling at stories like this one in Politico, about "GOP pros" basically freaking out over Willard Romney's selection of Paul "Ayn Rand" Ryan to be his running mate.
Away from the cameras, and with all the usual assurances that people aren't being quoted by name, there is an unmistakable consensus among Republican operatives in Washington: Romney has taken a risk with Ryan that has only a modest chance of going right - and a huge chance of going horribly wrong.
In more than three dozen interviews with Republican strategists and campaign operatives - old hands and rising next-generation conservatives alike - the most common reactions to Ryan ranged from gnawing apprehension to hair-on-fire anger that Romney has practically ceded the election.
They're worried about inviting Medicare - usually death for Republicans - into the campaign. They're worried it sidetracks the jobs issue. They're worried he'll expose the fact that Romney doesn't have a budget plan. Most of all, they're worried that Romney was on track to lose anyway - and now that feels all but certain.
Hey, works for me! :)
And speaking of Medicare, I just got off a conference call with Kaine campaign manager Mike Henry, and senior strategist Mo Elleithee, in which they delightedly pounced on the Ryan Plan to Voucherize (aka Destroy) Medicare, and even more delightedly tied George Allen and Paul Ryan as closely together as possible. Expect a lot more of this in coming weeks, and not just in Virginia either, but all across the country.
Also on the Kaine conference call, Mo Elleithee could barely contain his glee at the Ryan selection, crowing about how "very happy" this made him, as Ryan's similarities to George Allen on a wide range of issues "are just so clear." Elleithee even went so far to ask for the mailing address of whoever was responsible for picking Ryan, as he wants to send a "thank-you card" to whoever those people are. Is there some trash talk in this? Sure, it's got an element of that. Except for one thing: it's not just Mo, and it's not just other Democratic strategists across the country. In addition, as the Politico article confirms, it's reflected in the panic exhibited by "GOP pros."
Let's just hope all these "pros" are right, that Romney made a huge blunder in his pick of right-wing extremist and Ayn Rand acolyte Paul Ryan. Personally, my main misgiving is that I do see a synergy between Romney and Ryan, one that makes Willard a less-bad candidate (I was going to say "better," but that would presuppose that he was in any way passable, let alone good, previously). Other than that, though, I see no particular reason to disagree with all the political "pros" out there. Do you? If so, why?
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