In the last two weeks, as information that could confirm that Paul Ryan would be chosen was published, the Romney campaign played brilliantly leaks on Condoleezza Rice first, then on General Petraeus, as a serious contenders. The main goal: keep the news off to maintain the tempo and the timing the campaign had designed to make the announcement public, just two weeks before the Tampa Convention.
Fifteen decisive days to finish maturing the decision, to close all fringes, to prepare its execution -the @PaulRyanVP account was created on August 2 at midnight- and the consequences of its blast, without undue pressure, without taking over the spot news focus and managing the tempo to the needs of the campaign. The Communication of the decision has been a masterful exercise. No leak that could jeopardize the effectiveness of the announcement.
The campaign needed good news to ensure its competitiveness and its future options, with the danger of entering into a dangerous circle if the negative trend had continued: the Romney international journey was not good; the polls confirmed the recovery of the president and to show symptoms that Romney could not stand … D-Day had arrived: the #GameChanger moment was to take back the initiative, to change the trend, to gain momentum and continuity through the convention. #GameOn
Even the campaign has been able to involve Karl Rove as a MC: earlier this week Mr. Rove announced that on Friday the VP announcement would go public. It was on Saturday. But the gesture is clear: the Republican Party moves toward unity of action.
The scenery was the one for special events:
- Virginia, a state that polls show tending on the Democratic field: a sign that Republicans have not given up the state as lost;
- Norfolk Naval Station – a gesture to the Armed Forces;
- with the USS Wisconsin battleship (starred in World War II and the first Gulf War 1991) on the background and suited for the occasion;
- the music chosen for the occasion, the original soundtrack of the movie “Air Force One” in which Harrison Ford plays a president hero role;
- while Rep Paul Ryan -young, vigorous and untied- downed the stairs, was waving at a historic moment for his career.
Rep. Paul Ryan, in Congress for 14 years -he’s 42-, has worked with his pulse his reputation and the respect the adversaries and information professionals credit for him. Congressman from Wisconsin, Chairman of the all-powerful Congressional Budget Commission, he’s the embodiment of a generational change within the Republican Party, and the permanence of the sacred principles and the balance of traditional party families.
A GOP technocrat and an establishment ideologist. His major strengths are:
- 14 years making laws and knowing perfectly Washington: the key names and all processes;
- championed the cause of deficit reduction;
- in favor of the Iraq War;
- enemy of President Obama’s health care reform and contrary to everything referred to women contraception;
- despite being an insider and belonging to the establishment he doesn’t hesitate to flirt with the tea party.
What’s this decision means for Mitt Romney?
Romney gets the Republican establishment placet standing over him. Until now they saw Romney not being enough conservative, distrusted him for having implemented a health care system in Massachusetts, which inspired Obama’s health reform and accusing him of not having enough credentials on Conservative religious values.
Rep Paul Ryan is the guarantee that ideological purity will not be betrayed by Romney. It is also the insider covering Romney on specific issues in the fine print and detail. Ryan will give Romney security, knowledge and background (axes where Romney is not strong).
There is a real danger about the Ryan knowledgement to eclipse the keening, but very shallowed Romney. The campaign has been working to fight this perception: “the two leaders work with the same frame mental key and share leadership and direction.”
An all or nothing and a risky move. Facing a campaign that hadn’t just taken off, and wanting only to make this election about a referendum on President Obama, the appointment of Ryan is the necessary ideological whirlwind and the strength values of the GOP flag. A bold move of a leading the campaign trying no Republican voters stay home on Election Day.
What does the announcement mean for the Republican base?
Absolutely Enthusiasm and confidence. Ryan is a powerful and influential fighter against Obama. President Bush (43) has blessed the appointment from the beginning.
Wisconsin Congressman represents the establishment, the insider who gives security, tranquility and stability to the traditional GOP values and families. Only in 4 hours after the announcement the republican campaign had already raised 1,2 $ million in less than 24 hours, 2 $ million.
It is also true that the more religious activist Republican base has no reference to be identified with. But we will see in these coming weeks and especially at the Convention clear and convincing gestures to address these voters. The operation has already begun:
Rep Paul Ryan’s election is a blow for Sarah Palin and the tea party, whose see star is fading and fleeting. Although Palin is key to reaching more activist voters, her contribution within the party right now is very low. The RNC is willing to move on and look forward.
We could be at the beginning of Palin’s public career end. Now she only can influence in the choice of surrogate candidates for Congress and Senate. But with the GOP establishment shielded by Ryan, she won’t receive much support about it.
There was speculation about the appointment of Ryan could bring Wisconsin to Republicans in the Electoral College. Today this is quite unlikely. The strength of the Democrats is still important.
What does the figure of Ryan means for Independent and Undecided voter?
They know him a little. Before his appointment less than half of respondents had an opinion of him and nearly 40% do not know him yet.
There is room to explain who he is, his history and values. The battle to influence the perceptions of these voters has already begun. But his polarizing figure does not allow independent and undecided voters to approach Ryan aseptically. Quite the opposite.
In fact a few hours of the announcement of the appointment of Ryan on Obama’s Team Truth put up “The Go Back Team” with information about his background and his positioning on the most sensitive issues.
And for Democrats, what does the Ryan announcement means?
Ryan will activate and mobilize huge democratic voters -to fight the ideas Ryan stands for: “serious danger” of going back: the enemy of women’s rights, in favor of the great interests of the financial-weapon-oil conglomerate. Ryan will also be a strong argument in favor of those disenchanted and distanced away voters from the president. With this movement they more likely to return to the democratic field.
Anyway, the Obama campaign will emphasize its fragility against the Republican fundraising. The Republican ticket is now going on all-speed mode putting the Ryan icon on the table.
In this battle of values and symbolism the Democrats can only rely on just the president, but he’s not a superhero. The pressure for a strong Democratic response to the Ryan nomination is getting higher. More and more efforts are addressed to the president attempts to relocate one of his best assets the Democrats have: Hillary Clinton. Reciprocal replacement between Biden and Clinton – the Vice-president Office and State Department and vice versa. Only a bold gesture of this magnitude could balance the changes of the battle. The Republican Party plays very strong and has the best pieces on the board. Now it’s time for Democrats to answer.
We complained about this campaign picking up an aggressive tone and excessive negative, which we did not like. We were eager for a Campaign of campaigns where the values, ideas and proposals were at the core of the discussions and debates. Well that time has come, we will witness an epic ideological battle! Who said that ideologies were buried?
The Campaign almost begins again. Romney has now a strong lifeguard, Ryan gives safety, strength and pedigree. The Republican campaign once again has the campaign where he wanted: living an intense #momentum before the convention and putting Democrats on the defensive. They have succeeded. Now the Democrats have to make a move.
Exciting and historical debates lie ahead! The Powerful coalition is ready to go. Will the Humble coalition be ready?
- Nuevos tiempos para la comunicación, de Rafa Rubio (in Spanish).
- The VP outcome, from @fivethiertyeight, New York Times.
- A Paul Ryan close look, Ryan Lizza’s in New Yorker.
- What Paul Ryan means, Ezra Klein.
- Special Paul Ryan, Meet the Press.
@aleixcuberes is an @ingenia_pro partner & consultant.