The goal of the Obama campaign’s summer onslaught against Governor Romney – think Bain Capital and tax returns – was to define the man and keep the Republican candidate on the defensive. The President’s campaign met these goals as the Democrats largely defined this summer’s media narrative, and the President has maintained, and perhaps, even increased his polling lead.
Upon Romney’s selection of Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) as his running mate, however, we must wonder if the Obama campaign had another summer goal in mind – to force Mitt Romney into making a risky VP choice in hopes of reigniting his campaign.
If so, the Obama campaign has succeeded. No other potential VP choice would have been so easy to define as Ryan. Look at the success Democrats had last year in western New York when they won a traditionally Republican district after tying the Republican candidate to Ryan’s budget, which proposes to overhaul Medicare. Now Democrats have the opportunity to not only run against Ryan’s budget, but also run against the man himself. With Ryan on the ticket, Democratic attacks are doubly potent. Governor Romney may have energized the conservative base with this choice, but it’s not the base he needs – they dislike the President enough to vote in overwhelming numbers come November. It’s the independents he should be targeting, and the Ryan budget is no way to win them over.