Romney-Ryan mania!

Crowding the GOP primary with a fiery, populist speech, Obama made the two men running mates – for a day anyway

Topics: 2012 Elections, Mitt Romney, Barack Obama, ,

Romney-Ryan mania!Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, left, watches as U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., Chairman of the House Budget Committee, right, addresses an audience during a Romney campaign event at an oil company in Milwaukee, Monday, April 2, 2012. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) (Credit: AP)

A feisty (and crafty) President Obama blasted the House GOP budget proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan and embraced by Mitt Romney as “social Darwinism” in a news-dominating speech Tuesday – and set the tone for Romney’s victory party in Wisconsin that night. Romney also won Maryland and Washington, D.C., but Wisconsin was the only state where Rick Santorum was challenging him, and so it was the only state that mattered.

Ryan wound up front and center at the Wisconsin festivities, introducing Romney’s victory speech in Milwaukee. It was a big moment for the rising Wisconsin GOP star, but he kind of botched it. Still smarting from Obama’s barbs today – I remember him seething, red-cheeked and sullen, when the president shot back at his budget last year  – he charged that Obama’s only reelection plan was “to divide us in order to distract us.” Then he harked back to Obama saying he wanted to be “a uniter, not a divider” – but Obama never said that, it was George W. Bush’s cliché.

Even Romney seemed a little knocked off his game by Ryan’s uneven opening, joking, “He’s not going to take Ann’s place!” (What?) The victor gave a simplistic Colorforms speech (to continue with the ’60s toy metaphors kicked off by the Etch A Sketch gaffe), mixing and matching lines and images from old speeches with new ones. He attacked Obama’s community organizing work, insisting it proved that the president turns to government, not business, when times are tough. In fact, Obama worked for a Catholic organizing project – exactly the sort of voluntary religious response to poverty conservatives claim to respect. (It’s still stunning how little Republicans have bothered to get to know about Obama’s actual history as opposed to the Sarah Palin-Andrew Breitbart cartoon version, isn’t it?)

You Might Also Like

Mainly the speech was a tired reframing of the theme he unveiled last week, accusing the president of wanting to create a “government-centered society,” as opposed to the opportunity society he stands for. He borrowed the Jim De Mint analysis, that Obama’s out to create a dependent electorate, “willing to vote for anyone who’s going to give them more.” Will those slackers and moochers on Social Security and Medicare realize Romney’s talking about them?

Putting aside the mediocre speechifying by Ryan and Romney, the former Massachusetts governor had a good night, winning all three contests. And in Wisconsin, he showed signs of being able to win over some GOP voters who’ve proved hostile to him so far. He beat Santorum among non-college grads, and tied with him among voters who made less than $100,000 a year (that’s how MSNBC broke it down; I haven’t seen data for those who make under $50,000).

For his part, Rick Santorum gave the kind of rambling speech Newt Gingrich has become known for in his waning weeks, though I enjoyed his reference to the “clear, contrasting colors” visible in the campaign. We know he said “blah people,” not black people, and he didn’t use the N-word in a speech last week (he actually didn’t). And I’m sure he meant nothing by his use of “contrasting colors” to describe his race with Obama. But it sure is interesting how often imagery like that just surfaces when Santorum’s around.

There was lots of talk about the way Ryan and Romney had bonded all weekend, since Ryan (a little belatedly) endorsed him. Lots of people seemed to see in the political bromance “a running mate is born” kind of moment.  NBC’s Chuck Todd referred to “the fascinating ticket preview we got tonight.”

I don’t see it, yet. Ryan is popular with the party’s base, and he also has his admirers among the Beltway Villagers, as a “Serious” young man who’s at least trying to craft grand policy visions (even if, as the president says, they reflect a shocking Social Darwinism). But he’s prone to sulks as well as gloating. The real issue is going to be whether the state of Wisconsin is in play come the late summer and early fall.

Obama was trailing various GOP candidates badly last year; now he’s way ahead of Romney in every poll. That could change, and the success of the movement to recall Gov. Scott Walker could play a big role. If it energizes Democrats, disillusioned independents and even working-class Republicans, then not even Paul Ryan helps Romney carry Wisconsin. I don’t think the Tea Partyers having the hots for him would trump the fact that he couldn’t help Romney carry his own state.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Martyna Blaszczyk/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 1

    Pond de l'Archeveche - hundreds thousands of padlocks locked to a bridge by random couples, as a symbol of their eternal love. After another iconic Pont des Arts bridge was cleared of the padlocks in 2010 (as a safety measure), people started to place their love symbols on this one. Today both of the bridges are full of love locks again.

    Anders Andersson/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 2

    A bird's view of tulip fields near Voorhout in the Netherlands, photographed with a drone in April 2015.

    Aashit Desai/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 3

    Angalamman Festival is celebrated every year in a small town called Kaveripattinam in Tamil Nadu. Devotees, numbering in tens of thousands, converge in this town the day after Maha Shivratri to worship the deity Angalamman, meaning 'The Guardian God'. During the festival some of the worshippers paint their faces that personifies Goddess Kali. Other indulge in the ritual of piercing iron rods throughout their cheeks.

    Allan Gichigi/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 4

    Kit Mikai is a natural rock formation about 40m high found in Western Kenya. She goes up the rocks regularly to meditate. Kit Mikai, Kenya

    Chris Ludlow/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 5

    On a weekend trip to buffalo from Toronto we made a pit stop at Niagara Falls on the Canadian side. I took this shot with my nexus 5 smartphone. I was randomly shooting the falls themselves from different viewpoints when I happened to get a pretty lucky and interesting shot of this lone seagull on patrol over the falls. I didn't even realize I had captured it in the shot until I went back through the photos a few days later

    Jassen T./National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 6

    Incredibly beautiful and extremely remote. Koehn Lake, Mojave Desert, California. Aerial Image.

    Howard Singleton/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 7

    Lucky timing! The oxpecker was originally sitting on hippo's head. I could see the hippo was going into a huge yawn (threat display?) and the oxpecker had to vacate it's perch. When I snapped the pic, the oxpecker appeared on the verge of being inhaled and was perfectly positioned between the massive gaping jaws of the hippo. The oxpecker also appears to be screeching in terror and back-pedaling to avoid being a snack!

    Abrar Mohsin/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 8

    The Yetis of Nepal - The Aghoris as they are called are marked by colorful body paint and clothes

    Madeline Crowley/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 9

    Taken from a zodiac raft on a painfully cold, rainy day

    Ian Bird/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 10

    This wave is situated right near the CBD of Sydney. Some describe it as the most dangerous wave in Australia, due to it breaking on barnacle covered rocks only a few feet deep and only ten metres from the cliff face. If you fall off you could find yourself in a life and death situation. This photo was taken 300 feet directly above the wave from a helicopter, just as the surfer is pulling into the lip of the barrel.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>