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September 11, 2012 4:01 PM Ryan’s Plan B

By Ed Kilgore

I hadn’t fully realized until now that Rep. Paul Ryan is simultaneously running for vice-president and for an eight term in the House. An AP article says Ryan’s about to go up with re-election ads in his district, and suggests that since they were put together before Mitt Romney chose him as his running-mate, they may not even mention his White House ambitions, which may be a bit confusing to voters.

Wisconsin is one of the relatively small number of states that allow for a double-decker candidacy. Joe Biden was re-elected to the Senate in Delaware in 2008; so was Joe Lieberman in 2000, and LBJ in 1960. The only candidate I can think of who hedged on a presidential candidacy was Lloyd Bentsen in 1976, but he obviously didn’t make it past the early primaries.

What this means, assuming Ryan wins his House race but loses the Big One, is that he won’t have to get himself a Fox News gig or become president of the Ayn Rand Institute (or its new semi-affiliate, the Cato Institute) to keep himself in the limelight as the putative future champion of the conservative movement. Since there’s not much chance of the GOP losing control of the House in November, he’ll still chair the Budget Committee and have the chance to thrill beltway pundits with his wizardry while alternative tormenting and serving as a foil for Barack Obama.

I don’t know what Mitt Romney’s Plan B would be, though the odds of him getting another chance to run for president are about as good as Herman Cain’s. Guess he can build another house or two, and finally release his tax returns with a shout of: “Ha, Ha, Suckers!”

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

Comments

  • esaud on September 11, 2012 4:24 PM:

    All of the win/lose combinations are self explanatory, except what happens if he wins both? It seems to me that it differs from state to state how they fill empty seats - runn off, governor apointment, party appointment, temporary, etc.

  • Peter C on September 11, 2012 4:26 PM:

    "Since there’s not much chance of the GOP losing control of the House in November, ..."

    If the House were under Democratic Party control, the record low approval for Congress (in the low teens!)would provide plenty of evidence for a self-evident assertion that the electorate would 'throw the bastards out!' and give control to the Republicans.

    With Ryan on the Presidential ticket, the race is now a full-contact contest between the parties. Do we really expect a deluge of ticket-splitters who want the status quo of the past 2 (or 4) years?

    Democrats need to go for the whole enchilada and tie Republican Congressmen with the boat anchor of 'Richy Rich Romney' while simultaneously saddling Romney with Steve King, Allen West and Bat-$hit insane Bachmann and the certain evils of the Ryan 'voucher-case' budget. This should not be a difficult case to make; the Republican House has voted in lock-step.

  • T2 on September 11, 2012 4:30 PM:

    every once in a while I get this crazy thought that Conservative Republicans - the real ones that make the "behind closed doors" decisions, would be happy to be rid of Mitt Romney forever, and just as happy to have Paul Ryan discredited (along with his TeaParty) and pushed back to the back of the House where he has unceremoniously spent the last 12 years until recently. Then the "real" guys could go back to their business of running the party.
    Whatever happens, Ryan's bubble has pretty much burst among the Media. They may still think he's adorable....but they know he's a liar too.

  • merl on September 11, 2012 4:30 PM:

    Romney's plan B is to convert to a right wing Talibaptist freak and try again in '16

  • TCinLA on September 11, 2012 4:35 PM:

    The Republicans only have to lose 25 seats for the House to flip. And Eddie the Munster is not necessarily a shoo-in back home, if people take a dislike to the national campaign and he keeps destroying his reputation for truthiness.

  • max on September 11, 2012 4:37 PM:

    The only candidate I can think of who hedged on a presidential candidacy was Lloyd Bentsen in 1976

    Uh, 1988? I believe the veep candidate in 1976 was one Walter Mondale. Rather an obscure fellow, really.

    What this means, assuming Ryan wins his House race but loses the Big One, is that he won’t have to get himself a Fox News gig or become president of the Ayn Rand Institute (or its new semi-affiliate, the Cato Institute) to keep himself in the limelight as the putative future champion of the conservative movement.

    And this is why we should be following Digby's lead and pouring money into that house race. It's entirely possible that Ryan will lose the election and win the seat anyways (since house incumbents usually win), but we should be making his LZ as hot as possible.

    In short, we should be making his life a living hell... because we CAN.

    max
    ['And losing as veep candidate and losing his house seat would pretty definitively be a knockout punch, particularly to his Beltway champions. And that would be hilarious.']

  • Greg on September 11, 2012 4:43 PM:

    Michele Bachmann this year and Ron Paul in 2008 ran for both re-election and president. It pretty much happens all the time.

    If Ryan were to win reelection to the House and election to the vice presidency, he'd do the same thing Biden did: get sworn in January 3 and then resign. In Ryan's case there'd be a special election in April, most likely.

  • Ron Byers on September 11, 2012 4:55 PM:

    Are you really sure the Republicans are going to retain the house? I am not, not if the Democrats get to work.

  • c u n d gulag on September 11, 2012 5:05 PM:

    Willard "Mitt" Romney doesn't need a "Plan B."

    The rich motherfecker's "Plan A" doesn't need a "Plan B" - the first plan worked pretty damn well for him and his.

  • lefty1968 on September 11, 2012 5:09 PM:

    @max: You're right about 1988, but Bentsen also ran for president in 1976, spectacularly unsuccessfully.

  • Patience on September 11, 2012 5:34 PM:

    It's worth mentioning that Democrat Rob Zerban is challenging Ryan and would be pretty well-funded under normal circumstances; however, the fact that Ryan has one of the biggest warchests among GOP House members makes this a tough race for him. In addition, Ryan's district went for Obama in 2008.

  • bigtuna on September 11, 2012 6:01 PM:

    Romney's plan B would be to be called to the First or Second Quorum of the 70.

  • jjm on September 11, 2012 6:30 PM:

    Ryan's sudden focus on his House seat run seems to me to indicate he's reading some disturbing handwriting on the wall...

    And I say Democrats MUST TAKE BACK THE HOUSE!

  • Tom Q on September 11, 2012 6:31 PM:

    I know Ed is, on the whole, with the good guys, but he's bought into three bits of Conventional Wisdom about this election: 1) that the economy is Dismal and sure to drag an incumbent down to defeat (as opposed to, mediocre but clearly better than two years or even one year ago); 2) that the presidential election is certain to be a cliffhanger (as opposed to a 5-7 point Obama margin of victory, as has shown in any number of polls throughout the year, including now); and, now, 3) that the House is almost surely staying GOP.

    People have been slow to accept the first two as possibly flawed; I wonder how long they'll cling to the third.

  • SadOldVet on September 11, 2012 7:19 PM:

    Mittens can NEVER release his tax returns. Much worse than the probabilty that they will show that he was a tax evader/cheat, they would show that he cheated the Mormontology Cult by not paying his full 10% tithe.

  • Picasso's Other Eye on September 12, 2012 12:47 AM:

    Cund, have we been told what Plan A is yet?

    If we don't know Plan A, and Mitt goes to Plan B, Plan B could be Plan A with no actual Plan B planned. Though, as much as Mitt talks, a plan for Plan A may well be non-existent too, and he'll have to revert immediately to an unplanned Plan C, acting as though such unplanned planning was the plan all along. I don't trust the guy.

  • Renai on September 12, 2012 12:50 AM:

    So glad Ryan is working both ends to secure his government job, wouldn't want him to fall off the taxpayer's back.

  • Matt on September 12, 2012 9:16 AM:

    Psst, Wisconsin Republicans: he'll try harder if he knows you won't vote for him in his backup election.

    Just sayin'. You want to win this thing, right?

  • boatboy_srq on September 12, 2012 10:35 AM:

    @Peter C:

    If the House were under Democratic Party control, the record low approval for Congress (in the low teens!)would provide plenty of evidence for a self-evident assertion that the electorate would 'throw the bastards out!' and give control to the Republicans.

    That's because traitorous, unAhmurrcan, insufficiently-patriotic, Other-enabling tax-and-spend Dems are bad for the country, and GOTeahadists just aren't sufficiently disciplined in their Conservatist bent.

    /snark