Welcome to Head Scratcher Day here in the PostScript koi pond! Our text today will be E.J. Dionne Jr.’s column about the Romney campaign’s apparent efforts to muzzle Paul Ryan, in which Dionne wondered whether the Ryan budget plan might prove a problem for Republicans on down-ticket races. Mitt Romney is already trying to make the slash-and-burn Ryan budget go away, said Dionne.
Commenters, and PostScript herself, wonder what that means. It’s currently believed among those who type these things that Romney selected Ryan as a running mate because he has a whole lotta austerity-low-tax-ideas-Randian-numbers-wonkish cred with the base of the Republican Party, and Romney does not. (Already this week George F. Will wrote that the pick made him feel better about Romney.) But since Ryan debuted on the national ticket, as Dionne wrote today, both he and Romney have been walking away from Ryan’s signature rapid-weight-loss budget.
So Romney has found hisself an ideas man to make the fiscal hawks happy. Except that they’re not going to use his ideas! It’s like having fantastic abs but keeping a shirt on all the time, as reportedly Ryan also does. There’s a big ol’ disconnect right now about how to interpret the Ryan pick if they take the man without the plan.
Dijetlau is confused already:
The problem [Ryan]’s facing is saying “that’s no longer my plan” ignores the fact that if he became President (the only reason a VP exists is to get up every morning and check the President for a pulse) it will de facto become the plan.
cjd260, too, doesn’t get how the plans will reconcile:
Ryan had a plan. Now Ryan/Romney have a handful of plans that fundamentally disagree with each other. Ryan’s plan included nearly a trillion dollars in Medicare cuts, now it doesn’t. Ryan’s plan calls for all non-entitlement spending to fall below 3.75% of GDP by 2050, Romney’s plan calls for Defense spending alone never to fall below 4% of GDP.
sanfran6003 basically assumes that Romney will come around to Ryan’s plan:
Romney-Ryan has a tough job. They have to convince an aging population that Ryan’s Medicare reforms will not mean the end of Medicare. Ryan has to show that his reformed system will pick up the slack for those now under 55. If he can convince people of that, then his pleasant personality and boyish looks will make Romney-Ryan a formidable opponent this year.
bls2011 has an idea why everyone thinks that Romney has adopted the Ryan plan, even though he’s really distancing himself from it: Romney’s general policy vagueness, bls says, means all that the observers have to observe is Ryan’s plan:
One of the more interesting things I’ve seen since the Ryan VP pick was announced is that Republican ticket effectively became Ryan-Romney because of Romney’s refusal to commit to any policy.
And boblesch thinks this whole thing might work, if it gets people talking and caring about the budget for real:
Come on, EJ — you know as well as anyone that we need to have some serious national discussions. With the current political climate being what it is, inserting Ryan and his unsustainable budget and tax cuts into the presidential race is a cause for more controversy, and that seems to be the only way to get anyone to talk about anything these days.
This is a good point. This is all we're talking about now. Ryanmania abounds. PostScript googled the numbers Cjd260 cited only because she is writing this post about Romney seeming to disown the Ryan plan ! That’s already way wonkier than she planned to be today! Plus, she also has fantastic abs, but you can’t see them.