Romney Supports Ryan, Except When He Doesn't
Peter J. Boyer in The Daily Beast repeats conventional wisdom, contending
In choosing Ryan, Romney is no longer defending a vague set of ideas aligned with Ryan’s reform approach; he’s now taken on the thing itself, and will find himself spending the remainder of the campaign defending it, in all of its potentially damaging details. If entitlement reform is the third rail of politics, this is an entire third-rail transportation system.
The big advantage of having Ryan on the ticket is that he’ll have a huge national platform from which to explain his plan...
That is, in the unlikely event Massachusetts Mitt wants the plan to be explained. NBC News reminds us that Mitt Romney, during a presidential debate in January- trying no doubt to allay fears from the far right about him- described Paul Ryan's Medicare plan as "absolutely right on." Once he thrilled that constituency by selecting Ryan as his running mate, Romney went on 60 Minutes (transcript, here) and responded to Bob Schieffer's question about the congressman's budget plan by stating "well, I have my budget plan as you know that I've put out. And that's the budget plan that we're going to run one."
The following day- and only two days after announcement of his running mate- Romney (while pretending Ryan's plan did not include Obama's cut to the Medicare program) was back running on his buddy's proposal, maintaining
We haven’t gone through piece by piece and said, ‘Oh, here’s a place where there’s a difference. But my plan for Medicare is very similar to his plan, which is ‘Do not change the program for current retirees or near-retirees but do not do what the president has done and that is to cut $700 billion out of the current program.
Later the same day, the candidate's policy director maintained Romney would restore the $716 billion cut to Medicare (implicitly endorsed by Ryan), arguing
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have always been fully committed to repealing Obamacare, ending President Obama’s $716 billion raid on Medicare, and tackling the serious fiscal challenges our country faces. A Romney-Ryan Administration will restore the funding to Medicare, ensure that no changes are made to the program for those 55 or older, and implement the reforms that they have proposed to strengthen it for future generations.
One would almost have a little sympathy for the politically cross-dressing governor, were he not an empty suit happily owned by the far right of his far right party, and weren't consistently dishonest. Almost. But Republican politicians are busy sliding, if not running, from the scheme proposed by the House Budget Committee chairman (and approved in the GOP-run House), and Mitt Romney has an election to win.
The statements from the Romney camp are confusing, and are meant to be. Perhaps the former governor, far smarter than he is given credit for, has conned the rabble which demanded he select Paul Ryan, while he had no intention of adopting his ideas as a candidate or President. The more likely scenario, however, is buried in Romney's remark on 60 Minutes: "I have my budget plan," the Empty Suit said, "and that's the budget plan that we're going to run on."
That's the budget plan that we're going to run on. They will run on that plan because Ryan's plan is less vague and more severe than Romney's plan. But Mitt Romney, praised for boldly selecting an individual whose budget courageously slices and dices individuals on the margins of society while rewarding the wealthy handsomely, has bought Paul Ryan and his plan. Escape from that would be worthy of Harry Houdini.