Why Ryan Is Risky

by Patrick Appel

The Obama campaign is already pummeling Romney-Ryan with the Ryan budget:

Zeke Miller and Ben Smith reported yesterday that the Ryan pick was Romney's idea. According to a "top Republican," "everybody was against [Ryan] to start with only Romney for":

Romney's aides have stressed publicly in the 24 hours since Romney electrified conservatives with his choice that the pick was the governor's alone. They have been less forthcoming on the flip side: That much of his staff opposed the choice for the same reason that many pundits considered it unlikely — that Ryan's appealingly wonky public image and a personality Romney finds copasetic will matter far less than two different budget plans whose details the campaign now effectively owns.

Those reservations make a lot of sense after reading Ronald Brownstein's article about public opinion on the Ryan plan. Blue collar voters, where Obama is weak, and seniors, a key GOP constituency, are not fans:

In March, the United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll offered respondents two options for [Medicare]. Just 19 percent of whites older than 65 endorsed Ryan’s approach, which said “Medicare should be changed to a system where the government provides seniors with a fixed sum of money they could use either to purchase private health insurance or to pay the cost of remaining in the current Medicare program.” Fully 74 percent of white seniors said instead that “Medicare should continue as it is today, with the government providing health insurance and paying doctors and hospitals directly for the services they provide to seniors.” Among non-college whites, 63 percent said they preferred the current system, while only 26 percent backed Ryan’s approach. 

Allahpundit argues that the Ryan pick "makes winning harder, not easier" for Romney:

The Democrats are going to flood Ohio and Florida with ads aiming to scare the pants off of seniors and blue-collar workers about the “safety net” disappearing under Romney/Ryan. Obama will now frame the election not merely as a choice between Ryan’s budget and his own plan (whatever that is) but as a choice between the president and, as represented by Ryan, the most unpopular Congress in modern history. If the attacks work and Romney fades down the stretch, that could have huge downballot effects in House races too, jeopardizing the GOP majority. I think the best-case scenario is that Ryan’s salesmanship brings enough people around on entitlement reform to fight the Democrats to a standstill on that issue, and then Romney wins the election narrowly due to voter dissatisfaction on the economy. In other words, it’s both a “referendum election” and a “choice election”

Peter Beinart hopes the election teaches the Tea Party a lesson:

Mitt Romney has given the Tea Party the election they want: a referendum on dramatic cuts in federal spending. When Obama wins—as seems even more likely today than it did Friday—the message will now be harder for Republicans to ignore. Ever since 2008, one of the biggest questions in American politics has been when the Republican Party would realize it was out of step with America and begin overhauling itself, as Democrats did in the 1980s. Paradoxically, Ryan’s selection has likely hastened that process. I hope the far right enjoys itself today, because I don’t think the fun is going to last.