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.

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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.

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Rob Port

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.

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