Does Romney’s VP Pick Help Heitkamp?


During MSNBC’s coverage of Romney’s pick of Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate, reporter Chuck Todd suggested this may help some state-level Democrat races among them Heidi Heitkamp’s bid to take over for Senator Kent Conrad here in North Dakota.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

So is Todd right? Does Paul Ryan and his blunt approach to talking about fiscal and entitlement reforms help someone like Heitkamp?

In years past I think that would almost certainly be right. In years past pointing out, as Rep. Ryan does, that the end of Medicare as we know it is Medicare as we know it would mean touching the political third rail. You just didn’t do it, and if you did, you couldn’t hope to win election to political office.

What we’re going to test is whether or not those attitudes have changed. We’re going to test whether or not the nation’s fiscal problems have progressed to a point where voters are willing to listen to serious discussions about entitlement reforms. That fight is going to happen here in North Dakota, where Heitkamp is using the tried and true “Mediscare” tactics against Berg who voted for Ryan’s budgets, and it’s going to happen nationally where Romney – who once distanced himself from Rep. Paul Ryan’s fiscal ideas – has now bought and paid for Ryan’s approach to entitlement reform.

Will voters embrace real ideas for reforms? Or will they buy in to arguments about Republicans wanting to push seniors off of cliffs, etc., etc.?

I hope, for the sake of our nation, that voters are ready to back away from the entitlement cliff.

For what it’s worth, Democrats are already trying to capitalize on Ryan as VP. Here’s a fundraising email House candidate Pam Gulleson sent out earlier this morning:

We know that Kevin Cramer likes the Ryan Budget, calling it a “good blueprint.”

But now that blueprint has been embraced at his party’s highest level – Rep. Paul Ryan is Romney’s choice for Vice President.
The Ryan budget would give the wealthiest few Americans an average tax cut of at least $150,000, but increase Medicare costs by about $6000 for each senior by turning it into a voucher system.

A budget tells us a lot about priorities. And it is clear, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and Kevin Cramer’s list of priorities do not include seniors, women, farmers, veterans, and students.

The plan also calls for $30 billion in cuts to farm and crop insurance, and would implement $115 billion in cuts to the Department of Education, and 9.6 million students would see their Pell Grants fall by more than $1000 in 2014. The budget plan would cut $11 billion from veterans spending, and make across-the-board spending freezes and cuts.

That’s not ok by me. Help me make a stand. Please give $25, $50, or whatever you can today.

Let’s stand up for what matters

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

Related posts

  • sbark

    How much does ObamaCare cut from medicare just to cook the books, and then have senior citizens death panels in order to make it work, and finally the biggest tax hike in the worlds history……….and now its being exposed the math is totally off with cost overruns expected to be triple as “free usage” will jump usage 40%
    Berg has to run from that?……..if Berg doesnt have enough conservative principles to talk directly about the issues that Ryan lays out, then we might as well elect the real thing, not a RINO who will waffle at the critical moment anyway.
    I trust the American people of all ages to have enough attention span and brain cells to add 1 plus 1………if they cant, our society is dead anyway,

    • Emil Kashuntz

      A little guns, gays, god, and abortion talk is all it takes for a Republican to win in North Dakota. You can fool a Hooplehead easier than a Republican can vote for a tax break for millionaires.

      • sbark

        A persons admiration for big central Govt, is an indication of his contempt for his fellow citizens…….

      • Emil/Hanni/Joel

        Thanks for the comedy relief for today! You never fail to make me laugh. I can’t help but feel sorry for you though as you are really a sad sack of shit. One question, do you salute your hammer and sickle flag every morning?

        • Emil Kashuntz

          I salute working people every day. I do not solute the rich, I do not bow down to the lies of Rob and Rush. I wake up proud to fight for the common man against the oppression of the dogs that fight for the rich while so many live in poverty.

          • robert108

            Where do those “working people” you salute get their jobs? Who puts up the money that creates and builds a business, gathers the raw materials and the capital equipment those “working people” use, and who pays them every week, no matter how good business was that week? The only people who live in poverty are those who are too lazy to work, or are honestly disabled, and we have charity for the truly disabled. Not for the lazy layabouts. Is that what you are? Is that why you’re so insanely jealous of the achievers in this country, who pay for everything?

  • tomorrowclear

    The blue hairs absolutely LOVE the idea of Medicare vouchers. Do any of you know what happened a couple years ago when he returned for town meetings after he proposed the Medicare vouchers? He had to have a police escort out the backdoor because the blue hairs were ready to string him up. And those were his supporters.

    • Rob

      I’m sure they love being called “bluehairs” too.

      Regardless, eventually Medicare will become such a bad deal for so many people that reform is unavoidable. The question is whether or not that is now.

      • Emil Kashuntz

        Once they quit giving social security and medicate to millionaires who don’t need it the problem is solved, but the party of greed will never allow that to happen. Instead they will do what they can to bankrupt the programs to protect their Bush Tax cuts.

        • sbark

          I beleive “means testing” is high on the GOP reform list……….
          too bad everyone didnt get behind GWBush when he wanted to reform it10 yrs ago………we probably wouldnt need Obama/ dem’cat death panels at this point….

          • VocalYokel

            While “means testing” may sound attractive, I am concerned about any system, public or private, which confiscates your money with a promise of future returns and then tells you that you are ‘too rich’ to get any of it back.

          • sbark

            yup….but realize SS withdrawal stops at a certain wage level, over and above that wage levels are SS “free”, I can see means testing in phases that matches these SS maximums. Another angle is to say forget the income tax increase on that group, but suffer the means testing on their SS.
            Dealing with the govt is not risk free…….I think we are all going to find this out………the choice is higher use of Obama Death panels in an orwellian world of continuous economic Detroit’esque crisis’s
            ….the alternative is to put more and more burdens on people who cannot even vote yet.—-and that is even worse

          • VocalYokel

            “Dealing with the govt is not risk free…”
            That’s got to be the understatement of the decade!

            My concern was, since like other govt ‘standards’ means testing would be subjective at best, who gets to decide when you don’t ‘deserve’ to get your money back?

            Since the proverbial SS genie is out of the bottle, it would appear there is no way to phase out this Leftard Ponzi scheme which, despite the claims of it’s proponents that it is in a secure trust fund, is already a “burden(s) on people who cannot even vote yet.”

      • tomorrowclear

        Keep telling yourself that. This pick might work but it is also the biggest gamble of the supposed finalists.

        • Rob

          I know you think our spending and entitlements are sustainable, bit reality is they aren’t. I say Republicans keep rolling the dice on conservatives until the electorate comes to its senses.

          • two_amber_lamps

            Lol… Medicare entitlements certainly are sustainable… (lol!!)

            It’s only got $37T in unfunded liabilities….

            But don’t touch those entitlements!

    • robert108

      The truth is, no one 55 and over will see any change in Medicare benefits under the Ryan plan. Those under 55 will get a CHOICE. It’s the American way, since nothing in the Constitution gives the govt the power to dictate our choices.

  • borborygmi

    If it is true the $11 billion in cuts to veterans is a bit disturbing

    • sbark

      On face value I’d agree, but is that simply less free college incentive for Future military volunteers?
      and then also…….are those cuts inside the entire military cuts which the Left has been pushing for 50 yrs……
      cant simply bash veterans cuts, have to know the specifics, unless the Left just wants to add it to the list of people the GOP wants to starve, kill and send to poor house except of course the unborn yet in the womb.

      • robert108

        Yes, the leftists, who want to cut our military to the bone, are now squealing about some superficial cuts in the Ryan budget. The usual hypocrisy/double standard from liberals.

  • Emil Kashuntz

    Choosing Ryan will make it easy to highlight the greed driven agenda of the Republicans. The willingness of Ryan to drive working people into poverty with his tax cuts for the rich is hard to hide. The Ryan budget is merciless on working people as it shovel money to the rich who are already paying the lowest taxes in 80 years. The unmitigated greed of the Republicans will be their demise, and Ryan is the poster child for Republican lickspittles.

    • sbark

      your parents refused to spank you…..didnt they?

      • DakotaStrong

        This sounds like a kid that was picked on during school, and he’s trying to get back at the world with his bitterness by posting on places such as this.

    • Rob

      So its greedy to want to balance the budget? I think its greedy for this generation to keep running up debt that future generations have to pay.

      • NDSuperman

        ummm….Mitt’s taxes

    • Gunny Sarge

      Emil. You are a petty little troll. Same old NPL straw dogs…….

    • philgray

      Dude, your so racist you dont even realize it…
      Your as racist as that shooter was in Wisconsin, make sure we keep guns away from you dude…

  • Tim Heise

    If a Democrat speaks, I assume the opposite of what was spoken.

    • sbark

      The problem with liberalism has always been that its devotees argue emotinal intent while ignoring actual long term effect. The Great Society is intent; Detroit is effect, Utopia is the intent USSR, Red China, Cuba, Nazi are the effects.

  • dakotacyr


    • Rob

      I don’t think most voters see Ryan and his fiscal ideas as extreme as you liberals see them. At least, I hope they don’t, because if we keep doing nothing ad the left wants we are in a lot of trouble.

      • sbark

        and Ryans plan only slows the growth of spending……he does not even actually cut spending, which is way too “liberal” of him……
        We need to fill DC with people who want to cut this beast down to size. Mitt told the NAACP he will “bain” (close) entire Fed agencies…….I doubt he will follow thru, but we can wish…..

        • AV

          Hey genius, the GDP is currently about $15.6 trillion. If the govt. slashed spending by $0.5 trillion, then GDP would not even be $15.1 trillion, as flow-on effects means that another $0.3-0.4 trillion will likely be lost (short-term, and going off of historic multipliers).

          The long term effect of this attack against demand is likely to be much, much worse. You seem to be advocating “baining” the entire country.

          Even someone as mentally challenged as yourself must see that hacking away at the economy during a recession/depression is a stupid idea? (The time to cut spending is when private demand is high, and the economy growing strongly. Bush II did the opposite, which part of the reason that the economy is so poor.)

          Why do you hate America?

          • robert108

            Another mindless liberal stuck on static analysis. When the govt spends less, there is more for the private sector, which generates all the wealth, to use for that purpose. Furthermore, govt debt crowds out all other debt, so that real businesses that need credit to start and grow can’t get it, or are overcharged for it.
            It’s always time to cut govt spending, if you want a good economy. obama’s crazy spending has tanked the economy, so you have a real world example, if you have the intelligence to realize it.
            There’s no “attack” on demand; that’s crazy Keynesian babble, which is already a proven failure, both for FDR and now obama.
            When you theory fails, it’s time to abandon it, not double down on stupid. Cutting govt spending is not “hacking away at the economy”, it’s reducing the overhead cost of govt, which is an expense to the real economy.

          • sbark

            hey genius………who does the govt take money in order to spend it?
            then who can “spend it” more efficiently……..a bunch of beuracrats who waste it on Solyndra’s and GSA parties or planned parenthood and ACORN groups, …………
            or private business actually creating wealth, and jobs………….
            the Govt cannot do Sh!i without either stealing it from the private sector or printing it…………..
            The time to cut spending is before it hits a dem’cats greasy sticky fingers
            Why have you come close to destorying America?

      • dakotacyr

        did you see the polling on the Romney Ryan budget?

        • dakotacyr
        • sbark

          so with 20% radical leftists, 20% on welfare and 15% unemployed and on food stamps because of Obama’s policies and another 20% moderates who dont pay attention until its too late……….what would you expect the polls to say………
          We are not a democracy–this is not mob rule……we are a representative republic
          At some point our elected officials have to stop sticking their fingers up in the air to test the political winds……….and simply do the right thing…..

  • exsanguine

    If North Dakotan’s pull a “franken” and elect Heidi , they deserve everything they get.

  • Emil Kashuntz

    The more the Republicans identify with the greedy old rich white guys the better. Now that the Republicans have clearly shown they are unashamed of their greed and willingness to rob the working man things can only get better for Democrats. Who wants to be associated with the party that calls women sluts, and worships tax breaks?

    • exsanguine

      Wow. It must be painful to be as ignorant as you.

    • philgray

      Emil, you racist or something, seem to have a problem with white people there kiddo. Methinks you may have a problem with democrats calling women c*nts, but black racist pigs align alike….
      Need to put a plug in for a guy who just got 1k from me, his name
      ALLEN WEST….lets give it up to a straight black kid who knows why some of his color will never leave the plantation……….will you EMIL?

  • Emil Kashuntz

    The greed driven agenda of the Republicans could not be better represented. This guys are willing to do what it takes to secure more tax cuts for the rich. Any normal person will see right through these men devoid of morality. It should work well for Democrats. These two will be associated with the pig Rush Limbaugh the man who calls women sluts. This is a blessing for Democrats. Everyone already sees Mitt as a lickspittle for the rich, and Ryan could be his twin in this regard. It is a real blessing to have these two soulless men to run against.

    • Onslaught1066

      Hi there dirtbag, is this yours:

      “Women are sluts, and the poor are worthless welfare cheats.”
      Mike Quinn August 11 2012.

      • Emil Kashuntz

        phone is working, coward will not call

        • robert108

          We don’t call you, creepy stalker, because we’re not sodomites.

        • Onslaught1066

          Ah, retardation, the first refuge of the liberal scoundrel.

          why do you believe, and I quote:

          “Women are sluts, and the poor are worthless welfare cheats.”
          Mike Quinn August 11 2012.

          That is awfully intolerant of you.

    • philgray

      Correction Emil…..she was and still is a political slut……I will not apologize for it, just like when people call you a blathering moron, devoid of intellect prose.
      If you think its a blessing, go for it…..
      Last funny point of this idiot emil… devoid of morality….
      WTF do you think Prez Shoom has done with 23 years sitting in a F&*(king racist church, baptizing his kids into rascist theology, and never disavowing his racist faith.?
      Who is the person devoid of morality that can sit in a pew and listen to BLACK LIBERATION THEOLOGY.
      It would be like me raising my kids in a ku klux klan church….Do you think I can still be moral then, of course not/.
      Emil your small minded hypocrisy is atoundingly stupid from its inception.
      Ryan could be his twin for the rich…..what do you know about each man and how they earned their wealth?
      I bet what really upsets you is Ryan shoots those little deer with a bow, and carves them up and eats them…
      To bad, when he makes the deer sausage, he uses PORK too, the only place Ryan believes in it hehe….

  • Lynn Bergman

    Socialists yearn for the “equality” that is poverty itself… and government employees absolutely LOVE “defined benefits” as opposed to defined contributions…but when offered a fiscally responsible reform to medicare that would give every single american the SAME voucher amount toward purchasing health insurance, they insist that such a “defined benefit” applied equally across the board… equates to theft. Then in the same breath they insist that stealing from the rich is just “wealth redistribution” with little understanding of what the “rich” do to provide REAL jobs, not the “make work” government jobs provided by politicians.
    FINALLY, a candidate (Paul Ryan) that conservatives can quote with supreme confidence that what he says makes some common sense.
    Milton Friedman would be pleased…

  • Camburn

    Rep Ryan’s budget is not even a serious budget. GDP growth is estimated to be 4%. The long term growth of GDP is 3.2%.
    Also, he cuts taxes while increasing spending……another extension of the blueprint for disaster.
    Common sense will prevail at some point, but it does not appear to have prevailed now.

    • robert108

      Cutting tax rates is not equivalent to cutting the amount of tax revenue collected, so you lie.

  • philgray

    Does anyone finally get EMIL now.
    A racist dude, small mind, large mouth, and such anger inbred into him no amount of help to persuade him will do..
    His Reverend Wright or Farrakkhan beliefs will be his downfall, either now or later in life…what a sorry person, such extreme views on so many things

    • Emil Kashuntz

      I have no desire to deprive people of health care, I have no desire to feather the nest of the rich, but somehow I am the evil one?

      • sbark

        covetting other peoples property is evil………that is why its on the 10 commandments. Its an emotion that leads to much worse ramifications.

      • robert108

        You lie; you want to deprive the achievers you try to demonize as “the rich” of all their rights, and to penalize them for what they have achieved. You are the evil one, by your own words, endlessly repeated.

    • Onslaught1066

      And don’t forget that Lime Krushednutz is also a sociopathic misogynist.

      As evidenced by this quote:

      “Women are sluts, and the poor are worthless welfare cheats.”
      Mike Quinn August 11 2012.

  • whowon

    Let Obama and gang try their mud throwing, we are ready.
    To see how devastating such policy pivots will be, just take a look at page five of Ryan’s Path to Prosperity plan. There, Ryan contrasts Obama’s debt exploding vision for America with his vision for fiscal responsibility. It’s persuasion on steroids.

  • Rick Olson

    Consider the source. MSNBC. What some around here refer to as PMSNBC. MSNBC is one of the most liberal bastions of broadcasting bilge there is on television.

    In broad strokes, local races like U.S. Senate races almost always come down to local issues. What might help one candidate immeasurably in one state can oftentimes be no help at all in another state.

    It seems to me that most North Dakotans minds are already pretty much made up as to who they’re going to vote for in the Rick Berg vs. Heidi Heitkamp race.

    Rob asked the question, “Does Paul Ryan and his blunt approach to talking about fiscal and entitlement reforms help someone like Heitkamp?” I don’t think it’s either going to help or hurt her.

    Many North Dakotans consider themselves fiscal conservatives … okay, let’s face it, many of us are cheapskates … but that’s besides the point.

    Fiscal conservatism resounds well in this state. Therefore, Mitt Romney’s Choice of Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin will most likely not help Heidi.

  • Emil Kashuntz

    We used to live in a society that was for everyone. The common good was nothing to be ashamed of. Now we worship the rich and only want to make sure they have no responsibility or tax burden for the rest of us. As working people go backwards, as people go bankrupt for health problems, Republicans turn on the common man and insist they have more. The unmitigated greed of those on the right is a sad statement about how our country has changed. By using fear, paranoia, Fox, Rush, and their arsenal of lies, the Republicans have slowly changed our once great country in to a third world banana republic that only serves the top one percent. It is a disgrace to humanity that people would even consider voting for the very people who brought this problem on with unfunded wars and tax breaks for the rich. The dumbing down of the population by right wing media has taken its toll on decency.

  • howiseeit

    Gulleson writes: “A budget tells us a lot about priorities. And it is clear, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and Kevin Cramer’s list of priorities do not include seniors, women, farmers, veterans, and students.” This is true especially if the seniors, women, farmers, vetterans, and students are not American’s first. It’s time to put America first or the America as we know if will soon be last. Then we have nothing. The current President has us blaming each other as we collectively go down the drain. Time to buck up America! Obama went from Hope & Change to Mope and Shame.

    • Neiman

      Those are not facts, they are not based on reason, they are the emotional reactions of a child that will not bother with the hard work of looking up the facts.

    • robert108

      Gulleson is just flat out lying. The Ryan budget exempts seniors 55 and over from any Medicare changes. There is nothing in it against women, seniors, farmers or veterans, unless you take the liberal view that all those “groups” are in need of endless govt dependency. The soft bigotry of low expectations, a Democrat staple.

  • awfulorv

    Remember how we were warned to “keep an eye on that sow” as they were prone to roll over and kill half of her newborn little ones? I have to tell you that I’ve thought, perhaps you have too, of who, and how, those charged with that task, discretely, watch over those who bed down with Heidi?

  • csmith

    I don’t understand why people wont like berg cause of ryan.