THE BEDWETTER CAUCUS
WALL STREET JOURNAL
That didn't take long. Much as we predicted last week, the Republican Party's Bedwetter Caucus has emerged on schedule to explain why Mitt Romney can't possibly win the election with Paul Ryan on the ticket. … Mr. Romney's catastrophic blunder, it seems, is that he chose a running mate who does more than talk about reforming government. He's really tried to do it, and this is simply not done in Presidential politics. …Republicans who believe in something can console themselves in knowing that these "pros" are reflecting the Washington conventional wisdom. Nearly everyone in the Beltway thinks it's impossible to reform entitlements like Medicare, and or even to restrain the size of government, so why would a candidate be foolish enough to try? This crowd is good at forecasting the political future as a repetition of the past and present, but as Irving Kristol used to say, they aren't very good at predicting the turns. We'll see if this year is one of those turns.
WHY MODERATES SHOULD LIKE PAUL RYAN
BY ROSS DOUTHAT
NEW YORK TIMES
...On a series of difficult policy questions, Ryan has either pushed his party in a politically risky but more responsible direction (on Medicare reform) or else endorsed the riskier but more responsible approach himself (on health care and Social Security reform). He has twisted arms when arm-twisting was possible and flown solo when it seemed necessary. To the extent that there is a plausible Republican response to the Obama agenda, he’s the biggest reason it exists. ... An honest assessment of Ryan’s record requires acknowledging that he’s made his own party substantially more responsible and rigorous, while also challenging some of the self-deceptions that are endemic on the Democratic side of the aisle.
CRUEL, NOT COURAGEOUS
BY KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL
Ryan’s budget isn’t courageous — it’s just cruel. Three-fifths of the cuts he wants would hit those with low incomes, while those who have the most would continue getting more. ... Ryan’s claim to courage — beating up on the poor notwithstanding — lies in his supposed willingness to tackle tough fiscal issues without obfuscation or sugar-coating. This would be admirable – if it were not utter nonsense. He preaches the need for austerity while refusing to touch defense spending. He doesn’t specify which tax loopholes would be eliminated to pay for massive tax cuts. He voted against stimulus to help the whole country, but for the auto bailout to help his own congressional district. ... But however courageous you consider a congressman for actually revealing his policy preferences, Ryan’s blueprint — now the blueprint for the entire Republican Party — is profoundly uncourageous in its implications for the vast majority of the country.
RYAN PICK BRINGS TROUBLE
BY DAN BALZ
Romney and his advisers insist that he will run on his plan, not Ryan’s. In part, they’ve done that to remind people that the tail will not wag the dog, that the running mate will not overshadow the nominee. Any presidential candidate would say the same thing. But keeping Ryan’s plan out of the debate is virtually impossible. ... Romney and Ryan face the possibility that, before the convention, Obama and the Democrats will define Ryan’s budget — and in particular his changes to Medicare — so negatively that the damage will be long-lasting. That’s why Romney’s campaign has moved quickly to blunt the Medicare attacks. But this fight is just starting, which is what makes these weeks a defining moment in the campaign.
OBAMA VS. GOP CONGRESS
BY JENNIFER GRANHOLM
Ryan is strong, clear and unequivocal, while Romney shrinks and becomes more and more inconsequential. Ryan’s ideas and plans take center stage. They are in black and white. We can hold them long enough to debate them, chew on them. And he readily defends them. But Romney equivocates. He was roundly applauded in conservative circles for acting boldly on Saturday. Then, on Sunday and Monday, he quickly wilted into a typical muddle — repeatedly backing away from Ryan’s budget and Medicare plans. The “boldness” of Romney’s pick was quickly diluted by his predictable spinelessness. Romney may hold the title, but Ryan holds the soul of the new GOP. Ryan is ascending to become the leader as Romney is folding up in the corner.