The possible consequences of the Paul Ryan nomination by Bob Shrum

Photo by Steve Pope/Getty Images

Bob Shrum states that the selection of Paul Ryan as a running mate will be a cautionary guideline for future presidential candidates.  “By the time the Obama campaign finishes with (Ryan), his specter, like (Sarah Palin’s), will become a red flag—in his case, a warning against selecting anyone who doesn’t conceal or soften his enmity to economic and social justice, but explicitly repudiates the safety net and basic protections for the middle class.”{1}

Most conservatives loathe the ad hominem tactics liberals engage in when they attack the messenger and totally ignore the message, but it has to be pointed out that this advice comes from Bob Shrum, a man who has lost every presidential campaign he has been involved in.  Unless one counts the nine days Shrum spent working on Jimmy Carter’s 1976 campaign, Bob Shrum is 0 for 8 in presidential campaigns.  Based on this record, critics have suggested that Shrum is cursed when it comes to presidential campaigns.{2}

Most conservatives do provide liberals the courtesy of refuting their message after attacking their messenger however.  Most conservatives would tell a Bob Shrum that they would prefer that all future Republican candidates lose if the alternative means concealing their passion throughout their political career.  If winning, by the Bob Shrum and Barack Obama’s formula for success, means voting present as a legislator, we would rather lose.  Shrum basically states that having passion, and being outspoken about them, hurts a candidates viability for future prospects in their political career.  He states that Paul Ryan’s failure to help the Romney ticket will prove this out when all is said and done.  He compares the effect of Ryan’s future failure on this ticket to the failure that Sarah Palin brought to the 2008 McCain ticket.

A rational look at the 2008, McCain campaign would not allow anyone to completely absolve Palin’s role in the loss.  As with Bob Shrum, and his eight presidential campaign team losses, Sarah Palin was a member of a presidential ticket that lost.  Also, like Shrum, Joseph Lieberman, and John Edwards, one cannot entirely blame an advisor, or a running mate, for a loss any more than they can completely absolve them of it.  In Bob’s current line of thinking, one could blame the running back Frank Gore of the San Francisco 49ers, for his team’s loss to the New York Giants in the NFC Championship game.  The running back gained 119 total yards, and he didn’t fumble, but he was still a part of the team that lost, so he deserves some of the blame.  Bob Shrum, and his acolytes, would have you believe that Palin was the sole reason that McCain lost, even though the announcement of her nomination produced seven million dollars{3} for the McCain campaign and an eight point bounce.{4}  The point is that while Shrum states that Palin (and soon Ryan) will change the way future candidates choose their running mates, a running mate’s announcement can produce a temporary bounce in the polls, and both Ryan and Palin did that, but at the end of the day it’s the name at the top of the ticket that most people vote for.  It’s the name at the top of the ticket’s job to take that announcement bounce and ride it into Election Day.  The point is whether you agree with 0 for 8, Shrum’s assessment or not, his premise is flawed.

After concluding this false assessment, Shrum states that one of the primary contrasts President Barack Obama’s campaign will make with Paul Ryan is in their respective positions on Medicare: “The president will protect and strengthen Medicare,” says Shrum.  “The Ryan-Romney ticket would voucherize, privatize, and end Medicare as we know it.”  The latter six words of that sentence are currently being repeated by Democrats like Shrum, and Debbie Wasserman Shultz, for they know that putting a period on the end of that sentence will cause a great deal of fear among seniors.  They say, “End Medicare as we know it” without the comma that should follow this sentence, that should then be followed by the conjunction “but”, and then be followed by the admission that Obamacare has already cut 716 billion out of Medicare to pay for Obamacare.  They should then tell you that Ryan’s plan is an attempt, whether you agree with his approach or not, to save Medicare. Obamacare, on the other hand, makes no such attempts.

As fellow Examiner, Dan Spencer points out: “As soon as Mitt Romney announced Congressman Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate, the Democrats again started with their debunked and discredited MediScare campaign. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee called Ryan “the architect of the Republican plan to kill Medicare” in a fundraising message sent by DCCC Executive Director Robby Mook.”  Spencer then points out that this is: “A false charge that the left-leaning Politifact called the 2011 “lie of the year.””

Spencer goes onto write that both Obamacare and Ryan’s plan will both make changes to Medicare: “Ryan’s plan makes some changes through some privatization, and Obamacare makes some changes through government rationing.  Obama has cut Medicare more than Romney and Ryan would. According to the most recent estimates from the Congressional Budget Office, ObamaCare will reduce Medicare spending by more than $700 billion between 2013 and 2022, relative to prior law. These cuts directly affect current retirees. By contrast, both the Romney and Wyden-Ryan plans only affect retirees younger than 55.”

Spencer then states: “A campaign spokesman told me: “The Romney campaign relishes this fight. There is only one person in this race who has already cut Medicare for seniors, and that is President Obama. ObamaCare cut Medicare for America’s seniors by $700 billion. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have a bipartisan plan to strengthen Medicare for today and tomorrow’s seniors. Obama’s campaign has accused Mitt Romney of committing crimes and killing people, and now they have turned their smear campaign to Paul Ryan. They have lost all credibility.””

Based on the fact “that Obamacare robs Medicare of more than $716 billion to fund ObamaCare, one would think they wouldn’t want to focus on the $700 billion Medicare cuts,” but Spencer points out that Obama’s deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter “called Obama’s $700 million in Medicare cuts an “achievement” on this week’s Face the Nation.” {5}

Shrum goes onto attack the fact that Ryan’s plan to balance the budget “won’t do so until 2040”, but he fails to mention when Obama’s plan would.  Interested parties have suggested that this may be due to the fact that there is no Obama plan to balance the budget.  Obama has submitted budgets, but they were so unpopular that they failed to generate even one Democrat vote in the Senate.  Ryan’s attempts to balance the budget received 235 House votes in 2011 and 228 in 2012.  His budget went onto generate 41 Republican votes in the Senate.  That was not enough to pass in the Senate, and all of the votes were Republican, but it was 41 more votes than Obama’s budget received.

Shrum then states that based on Romney’s erroneous introduction of Paul Ryan, as the next president of the United States, “(Romney) is in increasing danger of convincing Americans that he’s a doofus.”  What Shrum failed to mention is that Barack Obama did the exact same thing when he introduced Joe Biden as his president of the United States in 2008.

Bob Shrum basically calls the Paul Ryan nomination to the Romney ticket a mistake that will reverberate throughout future presidential politics.  He states that future politicians will learn not to stick their necks out on controversial issues if they want to further their political careers.  One has to wonder if this is the same advice that the “cursed” Shrum passed onto the eight presidential candidates that he worked with, and if this is the advice that led to the eight losses they achieved together.  One also has to wonder if “cursed” is the correct word critics should be using to describe Shrum’s career, for the word “cursed” is normally associated with freakishly unlucky forces such as those that have prevented the Chicago Cubs from winning a World Series ring for 100 plus years.  Have these freakishly unlucky forces prevented Shrum from leading a presidential candidate to victory, or has he been providing his candidates the half-truths and false assessments that he provided us in this column?







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