From right-leaning Politico.com:
Away from the cameras, and with all the usual assurances that people aren’t being quoted by name, there is an unmistakable consensus among Republican operatives in Washington: Romney has taken a risk with Ryan that has only a modest chance of going right — and a huge chance of going horribly wrong.
In more than three dozen interviews with Republican strategists and campaign operatives — old hands and rising next-generation conservatives alike — the most common reactions to Ryan ranged from gnawing apprehension to hair-on-fire anger that Romney has practically ceded the election.
“I think it’s a very bold choice. And an exciting and interesting pick. It’s going to elevate the campaign into a debate over big ideas. It means Romney-Ryan can run on principles and provide some real direction and vision for the Republican Party. And probably lose. Maybe big,” said former President George W. Bush senior adviser Mark McKinnon.
“Whether or not they [the Romney campaign] want to say that they have their own plan on Day One, or whatever they’re doing, it doesn’t change the reality of them having to own the Ryan plan. How is that in the wheelhouse of creating jobs?” added a GOP consultant.
Joked another: “The most popular phrase in Washington right now is: ‘I love Paul Ryan, but …’”
“This could be the defining moment of the campaign. If they win the battle to define Medicare, then I believe Romney wins the presidency. If they lose it, then they lose big in the fall,” the same strategist said, acknowledging that Romney had to choose from a flawed list of VP options.
The most cutting criticism of Ryan, shared only by a handful of strategists, is that Ryan isn’t ready to be president — or doesn’t come across as ready. A youthful man who looks even younger than his 42 years, Ryan could end up labeled as Sarah Palin with a PowerPoint presentation, several operatives said.
“He just doesn’t seem like he can step into the job on Day One,” said the strategist, who professed himself a Ryan fan…
“Very not helpful down ballot — very,” said one top Republican consultant.
“This is the day the music died,” one Republican operative involved in 2012 races said after the rollout. The operative said that every House candidate now is racing to get ahead of this issue.
Another strategist emailed midway through Romney and Ryan’s first joint event Saturday: “The good news is that this ticket now has a vision. The bad news is that vision is basically just a chart of numbers used to justify policies that are extremely unpopular.”
- Section: News & Comment