Republicans Worry About Ryan Effect on House, Senate

We’ve discussed at length the selection of Rep. Paul Ryan as Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s running mate. But there is another side to Ryan’s selection, and it has some Republicans concerned about the fallout. From The Hill:

Republicans strategists are worried that Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) addition to the presidential ticket will cost their party House and Senate seats this fall.

Their concern: Democrats will successfully demonize Ryan’s budget plan, which contains controversial spending cuts and changes to Medicare.

“There are a lot races that are close to the line we’re not going to win now because they’re going to battle out who’s going to kill grandma first, ObamaCare or Paul Ryan’s budget,” said one Republican strategist who works on congressional races. “It could put the Senate out of reach. In the House it puts a bunch of races in play that would have otherwise been safe. … It remains to be seen how much damage this causes, but my first blush is this is not good.”

Many Republicans in tough races this year, especially in the House, voted for Ryan’s proposal, which makes it hard for them to distance themselves from it.

Democratic challengers such as Joe Miklosi have already spent months trying to pin the Ryan budget on their opponents, and turning the national spotlight to the Wisconsin Representative only makes that effort easier.

Romney Veepstakes: Who’s It Gonna Be?

The Republican National Convention in Tampa is just 17 days away, which means that Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney should be wrapping up his process for picking a running mate.

What say you, Polsters? Does Romney need to go bold in the face of concerning polling numbers? Or does he stay conservative (politically and image-wise)? Click below to cast your vote. Our 5 choices are taken from our friends at “The Fix.”

Who Will Romney Choose as His Running Mate?

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Paul Ryan Radioactive to Republicans

The Republican budget plan drafted by Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan has created a — yes, we’ll say it — shitstorm of problems for Republicans around the country because of a key component that would dramatically change Medicare.

Here in Colorado, freshman Rep. Cory Gardner has been furiously trying to spin the Medicare piece of “The Ryan Plan” to make it appear less horrible to average voters. In CD-3, Republican Rep. Scott Tipton is facing the same problems. But all the spin in the world on various pieces of “The Ryan Plan” may not do much to help Gardner and Tipton if Paul Ryan himself remains as unpopular as he is in a new poll. As Politico reports:

Democrats are winning the messaging war on Rep. Paul Ryan’s bid to overhaul Medicare, with a new Bloomberg poll finding 57 percent of Americans believe they would be worse off under his plan.

Only 34 percent said they would be better off if Congress replaced “traditional Medicare” with a program to purchase private insurance with government subsidies, as Ryan has proposed.

The poll also found Ryan is now the nation’s third most disliked Republican, with net unfavorable ratings that trail only former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Yikes! This creates a whammy of a messaging problem for Gardner and Tipton, because any attack ads in 2012 can double-down on the rhetoric for better effect. We can already see the ad: [insert scary voice] Cory Gardner voted to approve Paul Ryan’s budget plan that would destroy Medicare as we know it.

Not only would this message hurt Gardner (and Tipton) because of people angry with the proposed Medicare changes — it also hurts with people who don’t like Paul Ryan.

Thanks a lot, budget wunderkind!


GOP Planning Medicare/Medicaid Cuts

In an interview with The Associated Press, Republican Rep. Paul Ryan says that the GOP will “lead with their chin” and soon propose cuts to Medicare and Medicaid in an effort to balance the budget:

In a wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press, the Wisconsin lawmaker and chairman of the House Budget Committee said the House Republicans’ budget proposal for the 2012 fiscal year that begins Oct. 1 will propose fundamental changes to Medicare and Medicaid, the giant health care programs that cover 100 million Americans and whose combined costs rival the defense budget.

Ryan offered no specifics, saying details are still being hashed out…

…Endorsing reduced Social Security checks for future seniors or raising the retirement age is viewed by many Republicans as well as Democrats as political suicide without cover from President Barack Obama. And some see the effort as futile when Republicans control only the House and a presidential election just over the horizon.

Whether or not you agree with the idea that Medicare and Medicaid need to be cut, you have to give some kudos to Ryan for acknowledging that any serious attempts to balance the budget are going to require more than just soundbytes about “cutting government waste.” With that said, the political reality of what Ryan is saying can only lead to disaster for the GOP in 2012.

We’ve talked for months about how the GOP has painted itself into a corner by promising a massive budget cuts to the Tea Party. Republicans are in a no-win situation of their own creation, because following up on that promise can only be done by really angering the vast majority of voters who most certainly do not want to see cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. And as The Huffington Post notes, any such proposal by House Republicans will almost certainly be stopped cold in the Senate, allowing Democrats to say that they saved the popular programs.

Republicans can do what they promised, making the Tea Party happy but giving Democrats an incredible message and likely ensuring defeat in a general election…or they can stay away from unpopular cuts, thus defaulting on campaign promises and risking Primary challenges from the right. Hence the old saying that “leading with your chin” is a good way to get knocked out.