Paul Ryan’s great genius has not merely been that he has united conservative Republicans around a single vision — several Republicans have done this before — but that he has simultaneously persuaded moderates that he shares their beliefs as well. That is how Ryan has pitched himself to America, not as a right-wing ideologue but as a thoughtful numbers guy. Literally every piece of evidence in Ryan’s career — from his formative infatuation with Ayn Rand to his indoctrination in the works of supply-siders to his mentorships under Jack Kemp and Sam Brownback to his entire voting record in public life — says that Ryan is a hard-core supply-sider whose overarching goal is to reduce tax rates on the rich, far more than it is to bring budget deficits to heel. Nevertheless, Ryan has managed to persuade legions of moderates and moderate conservatives — see James Stewart, Ruth Marcus, and Ross Douthat, to take a few examples — that he is secretly willing to raise tax revenue as part of some bipartisan agreement.
Ryan usually manages to elide the contradiction between the irreconcilable hopes placed in him by evading questioning, using weasel words, or just filibustering long enough to exhaust the topic. That’s what makes his talk Wednesday with Ezra Klein and other reporters so interesting. Ryan tried to evade the question, but Klein wouldn’t let him until Ryan had made it perfectly clear he would not accept higher revenue at all, under any conditions.
It was two weeks before Election Day when Mitt Romney’s political director signed a memo that all but ridiculed the notion that the Republican presidential nominee, with his “better ground game,” could lose the key state of Ohio or the election. The race is “unmistakably moving in Mitt Romney’s direction,” the memo said.
But the claims proved wildly off the mark, a fact embarrassingly underscored when the high-tech voter turnout system that Romney himself called “state of the art” crashed at the worst moment, on Election Day.
To this day, Romney’s aides wonder how it all went so wrong.
They console each other with claims that the election was much closer than realized, saying that Romney would be president if roughly 370,000 people in swing states had voted differently. Romney himself blamed demographic shifts and Obama’s “gifts”: federal largesse targeted to Democratic constituencies.
But a reconstruction by the Globe of how the campaign unfolded shows that Romney’s problems went deeper than is widely understood. His campaign made a series of costly financial, strategic, and political mistakes that, in retrospect, all but assured the candidate’s defeat, given the revolutionary turnout tactics and tactical smarts of President Obama’s operation.
BOSTON (AP) — Mitt Romney’s shadow looms over a Republican Party in disarray.
The face of the GOP for much of the last year, the failed presidential candidate has been a virtual ghost since his defeat Nov. 6. He has quietly weathered the fallout of the campaign from the seclusion of his Southern California home, emerging only momentarily for a private lunch at the White House with President Barack Obama on Thursday.
His loss and immediate withdrawal from politics, while welcomed by most, has created a leadership vacuum within his party. It’s left the GOP rudderless, lacking an overarching agenda and mired in infighting, with competing visions for the way ahead, during what may be the most important policy debate in a generation.
SAN DIEGO — The man who planned to be president wakes up each morning now without a plan.
Mitt Romney looks out the windows of his beach house here in La Jolla, a moneyed and pristine enclave of San Diego, at noisy construction workers fixing up his next-door neighbor’s home, sending out regular updates on the renovation. He devours news from 2,600 miles away in Washington about the “fiscal cliff” negotiations, shaking his head and wondering what if.
A top adviser to Mitt Romney’s failed presidential campaign on Wednesday slammed Republican officials for turning on their standard-bearer after angling for Cabinet posts only a few days earlier.
“It is stunning,” former Romney campaign official Dan Senor said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
“The Friday night before the election, we were in Cincinnati for this huge rally … Tens of thousands of people, you could feel the energy, a hundred top-tier Romney surrogates were at the event. I’m backstage with some of them, I won’t mention their names, but they’re talking about Romney like he’s Reagan. ‘His debate performances were the best performances of any Republican nominee in presidential history. He’s iconic.’ They were talking about him because they believed he was going to win in four or five days. And in fact, some of them were already talking to our transition to position themselves for a Romney cabinet.”
“I won’t say who they are,” Senor said. “They know who they are. They were on television, it was unbelievable, it was five, six days later, absolutely eviscerating him.”
Using a tax shelter called a CRUT (charitable remainder unitrust) that was held by the Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormons), Mitt Romney was able to pay zero taxes (legally) every single year from 1996 to 2009. Why did he stop in 2009? Because he would make public his 2010 tax return, that is why.