Romney’s Ryan Pick: Evil Brilliance, Obama’s Opportunity

So I was wrong when I predicted Mitt Romney would pick Pawlenty or Portman.

Instead, House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis) will be his running mate, Romney announced the pick in Virginia this morning.

The choice of Ryan marks the final descent of Mitt Romney into Tea Party hell. Ensnared by his lust for power at all costs, Mr. Etch-a-Sketch has relinquished whatever shreds were left of his claim to an authentic mind of his own.

On its raw politics, picking Ryan is evil brilliance. On its utter disregard for America’s long term economic future and the American values of equal opportunity and justice, it’s just plain evil.

But Romney’s pick does sharpen the choice for voters. The question now is whether Obama will take the opportunity he has been given to define that choice clearly on his terms and to his advantage.

I liked Michael Tomasky’s take:

So he’ll get some good press, and he’ll generate great enthusiasm among conservative intellectuals. But the introduction of [Ryan] to the American people will inevitably involve some other things, too. It will involve explanations from the media that he is the GOP’s archconservative theoretician. It will involve explaining who Ayn Rand is. It will involve going into detail on his budget, and in particular his plans for Medicare. Learn that now, folks, if you don’t know it already. It will involve endless interpretations exactly like mine, about Romney sending a signal that he is running an ultraconservative campaign. The Ryan controversy will overtake the campaign. Romney will become in some senses the running mate—the ticket’s No. 2.

Romney’s Freudian slip calling Ryan “the next president of the United States” at the press conference seems to second that opinion.

Ryan assures an even larger gender gap in November. And most likely a new age gap. So here’s a new prediction: Young women afraid of losing their access to birth control and seniors fearing loss of Medicare may well form the biggest new voting bloc in history. Let the games begin.




GLORIA FELDT is the New York Times bestselling author of several books including No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power, a sought-after speaker and frequent contributor to major news outlets, and the Co-Founder and President of Take The LeadPeople has called her “the voice of experience,” and among the many honors she has been given, Vanity Fair called her one of America’s “Top 200 Women Legends, Leaders, and Trailblazers,” and Glamour chose her as a “Woman of the Year.”

As co-founder and president of Take The Lead, a leading women’s leadership nonprofit, her mission is to achieve gender parity by 2025 through innovative training programs, workshops, a groundbreaking 50 Women Can Change The World immersive, online courses, a free weekly newsletter, and events including a monthly Virtual Happy Hour program and a Take The Lead Day symposium that reached over 400,000 women globally in 2017.

6 thoughts on “Romney’s Ryan Pick: Evil Brilliance, Obama’s Opportunity

  1. I couldn’t agree with you more. It is the Sarah Palin pick all over again. Maybe this guy can save my butt, says Romney. If people agree that we should let children and the elderly starve to death, they will win. I just don’t believe that the majority of Americans feel that way. The Romney campaign has been a loser so far and I don’t believe it will win in the end–unless they steal it again.

    1. Louanne, you are right–clearly the selection of Ryan was the same kind of Hail Mary pass for Romney that Palin was for McCain. That said, Ryan is far more dangerous IMO because he understands the power of setting the agenda and defining the terms of the debate. He’s much more of a leader than Palin was. And he is a more authentic zealot. So we have our work cut out for us if we want to win this race.

  2. Mary Knapp
    I like the final comments of Tomasky’s article about Romney’s pick for VP: “Is all that ‘daring’? Well, Thelma and Louise were ‘daring’ too, but they ended up at the bottom of a canyon. If the Democrats handle this situation properly, that’
    s where this ticket will end up too, and then the rest of us—the people who don’t want federal policy to be based on Atlas Shrugged—can finally and fully press the case to the right that America is not behind you, and please grow up.”

    Sandie Reed Now we know who are and what we are fighting against. As Gloria says in her article “Let the games begin!” We are ready!

  3. Pearl Equality Brady I hope now that poor social conservatives will finally realize that voting for Republicans is not only against their economic interests, but rather completely contrary to their beliefs as a whole. I can’t think of anyone not supporting Pell grants or funding for subsidized school lunches for poor kids, let alone one who purports to love the babiez. Being ‘pro-life’ means being pro-already-born-people, too, and I can’t think of anyone less likely to care about poor people than Paul Kill-Medicare-Medicaid-Social-Security Ryan.

    Zoe Nicholson’s Page do not underestimate or trivialize Ryan. He is loved. We need to recognize and organize to stop him and the millions of dollars he has through the Koch brothers. He is hardly stupid.

  4. I think this is a better example of evil brilliance, quoted from David Corn at Mother Jones:

    As the White House’s ambassador to Washington liberals — unions, abortion rights groups, environmental organizations, and general advocacy shops — Messina organized regular Tuesday meetings known as the Common Purpose Project to discuss White House plans, priorities, and messages with these groups. The goal was to coordinate White House strategy with the organizing activities of these outfits. But some of the outside participants considered the meetings mostly sessions where the administration tossed out talking points and marching orders. “Common Purpose was put together to manage the outside groups,” says a Democratic strategist involved in its formation. “To keep them under control as much as possible. It aimed at manipulation more than organizing. Here was Jim Messina, the deputy chief of staff, coming to meetings, and people would be docile because they were getting access to the White House.”*

    I would say the Administration has done a brilliant job of keeping the movement groups under its thumb. Is that evil? I hesitate to use that word about political tactics since I consider mainstream politics corrupt to the core. I might prefer to call it disgusting. You have observed how mainstream feminist groups have compromised too much for that access to power. Evidently Democrats count on that.

    By the way, I sent a message to David Corn asking for the identity of this unnamed amazingly candid strategist so I could give full attribution in my blog entry about this, but I was ignored. Jim Messina is no minor player. He was deputy chief of staff and is now the Obama campaign manager.

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