Green Room

The Romney-Ryan-Reno Medicare gambit

posted at 10:25 am on August 15, 2012 by

Yesterday, Allahpundit wrote about the new Romney ad going on offense regarding Medicare. Anonymous GOP strategists are worried about the inevitable Mediscare campaign coming from Team Obama. However:

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) circulated a memo to lawmakers and candidates on Monday, obtained by The Hill, that they say offers a road map for winning the debate over Ryan’s proposal.

It calls for candidates to follow the model the party used to win an open seat in Nevada last summer in which now-Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Nev.) hammered his Democratic opponent on the spending cuts.

Amodei represents NV-02, which encompasses Reno and — while having a heavy GOP tilt — went narrowly for Obama in 2008. It’s a district Romney-Ryan would have to win to win Nevada.

If you have 10 minutes, here’s the NRCC’s presentation on video:

If you don’t have 10 minutes, you can see one of Amodei’s ads at the 3:38 mark. It finishes with a cameo from Amodei’s mother. The campaign, which also included direct mail to seniors was intended to fight Mediscare to a draw. But Amodei went from being down 26/29 on the Medicare issue to up 41/33.

There are at least three implications of this approach. The first, most obvious implication is that we will almost certainly be seeing Paul Ryan’s mother — a Floridian on Medicare — in upcoming Romney ads. Maybe he will walk the Sunshine State like Lawton Chiles, carrying his mom piggy-back. We are also likely to hear more about the Independent Payment Advisory Board, although the return of the phrase “death panel” may depend on how much the media lets Team O skate on claiming R&R plan to “end Medicare as we know it.”

The second implication is that House and Senate candidates need to think about hanging together on this approach, or they will surely hang separately. Panic and mixed message will only hurt the GOP up and down the ticket.

The third implication from the entire video is more in the subtext. If the Democrats spend a lot of time and money on Mediscare and fail, the debate will ultimately revert to the economy and Obama’s failure to help it get back on track — but less time and money will have been spent personally attacking Mitt Romney and Bain Capital (and Romney will have been pressed less on the details of his economic proposals).

But will things actually play out this way? After all, a special election (Amodei was elected in 2011) in a GOP district may not be representative of Florida, Ohio or anywhere else, particularly regarding how it may play with the national establishment media. Plus, the Amodei campaign had the element of surprise. You can bet Team O has studied it now. Will they have a good counter to this approach? That they won’t is the real Romney-Ryan-Reno gambit.

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Allahpundit on August 15, 2012 at 10:50 PM