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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

It looks increasingly like another botched GOP vetting job behind the Ryan pick. That’s one conclusion to be drawn from Jennifer Bendery’s “Paul Ryan Only Passed 2 Bills Into Law In More Than A Decade” at HuffPo. One bill was a post-office renaming; the other was imposing a tax on archery arrow shafts. This is the Republicans’ big thinker?
Dems looking for a manageable soundbite on the Ryan pick should consider this one by DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, reported in The Monitor: “As a member of the Budget Committee myself, I’ve had a front row seat to witness the architect of the Romney-Ryan budget…It suggests that we should end Medicare as we know it, shred the safety net for seniors in health care that we had in place for more than 50 years, turn Medicare into a block grants and send it to the states, which would really jeopardize seniors in nursing homes, potentially take 10 million students off of Pell Grants, cut health care, cut education.”
Or, try Paul Krugman’s take, from his NYT blog on “Galt/Gekko 2012“: “…Anyone who believes in Ryan’s carefully cultivated image as a brave, honest policy wonk has been snookered…He is, in fact, a big fraud, who doesn’t care at all about fiscal responsibility, and whose policy proposals are sloppy as well as dishonest. Of course, this means that he’ll fit in to the Romney campaign just fine…Romney obviously felt he needed a VP who will get people to stop talking about him.”
For bumper-sticker brevity, however, nobody is going to top President Obama’s zinger characterizing the Romney-Ryan economic plan as “trickle-down fairy dust.”
For least credible walkback on the Sunday political yak shows, I would like to nominate Newt for his comment on ‘Face the Nation’ that Ryan’s Medicare-to-voucher plan “is the right direction” for America — which is quite a stark contrast from his earlier characterization of it as “right-wing social engineering” and “too big a jump.”
Writing in Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball, Buffalo-SUNY Proff James E. Campbell makes an economic determinist argument that growth in real gross domestic product (GDP) is the most important economic statistic to watch in presidential campaigns. Campbell, a Republican, believes President Obama’s chances are fading with his real GDP stats. But the utility of his forecasting model suffers in this case by not factoring in Romney’s extraordinarily-high negatives, nor the quickening demographic transformation that is now underway.
Nader makes the definitive take-no-prisoners case for the $10 minimum wage.
A New York Times report by James B. Stewart sheds light on the possibility that Romney paid zero or very little in income taxes during the last decade: “…This summer the Internal Revenue Service released data from the 400 individual income tax returns reporting the highest adjusted gross income…Buried in the data is the startling disclosure that six of the 400 paid no federal income tax…The I.R.S. reported that 27 paid from zero to 10 percent of their adjusted gross incomes and another 89 paid between 10 and 15 percent, which is close to the 13.9 percent rate that Mr. Romney disclosed that he paid in 2010…More than a quarter of the people earning an average of over $200 million in 2009 paid less than 15 percent of their adjusted gross income in taxes.”
At Politico Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman write in “Romney-Ryan map has Florida at the center” that “The biggest danger for Romney is in Florida, with its must-win 29 electoral votes and heavy senior population, Republicans said it was crucial to inoculate voters on Ryan’s “Roadmap,” part of which would turn Medicare into a voucher-based system for future retirees…A well-placed source said Republicans recently did an extensive regression analysis war-gaming what states are most crucial given the polling…The single state that Romney absolutely had to have in all the various combinations: Florida.”
Paul Begala’s Daily Beast post “With Ryan, Romney Has the Plutocrat Ticket” concludes with what is so far the best line (and most disturbing image) about the Ryan selection: “And somewhere in hell, Ayn Rand is cackling with glee.”

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