August 19, 2012

MICHAEL BARONE: Ryan anchors GOP ticket in values of founders.

Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan was supposed to be a problem for the Republicans. So said a chorus of chortling Democrats. So said a gaggle of anonymous seasoned Republican operatives. All of which was echoed gleefully by mainstream media.

The problem, these purveyors of the conventional wisdom all said, was Medicare — to be more specific, the future changes in Medicare set out in the budget resolutions Ryan fashioned as House Budget Committee chairman and persuaded almost all House and Senate Republicans to vote for.

But while Democrats licked their chops at the prospect of scaring old ladies that they’d be sent downhill in wheelchairs, the Medicare issue seems to be working in the other direction.

Romney and Ryan have gone on the offense, noting that while their plan calls for no changes for current Medicare recipients and those older than 55, Obamacare, saved from demolition by Chief Justice John Roberts, cuts $716 billion from politically popular Medicare to pay for Obama’s politically unpopular health care law.

The Romney campaign is putting TV advertising money behind this message, and it will have plenty more to spend — quite possibly more than the Obama forces — once the Romney-Ryan ticket is officially nominated in Tampa, Fla., in ten days. Team Obama is visibly squirming.

It turns out that Ryan and Romney, who in late 2011 and early 2012 moved quietly but deliberately toward embracing the Ryan agenda, may have outthought their adversaries.

To be fair, one of them is Joe Biden. And the other is the guy who picked Joe Biden. . . .

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