My fellow Iowa blogger, Craig Robinson, had a quote go viral today after he was quoted in The New York Times after being asked about Congressman Paul Ryan’s future prospects should Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan lose the election. Robinson said, “I hate to say this, but if Ryan wants to run for national office again, he’ll probably have to wash the stench of Romney off of him.”
The blogosphere exploded soon after. I know why the left got all excited about it. I have found anytime I’ve been critical of Republicans they eat it up. No big surprise. Knowing Craig for a few years I was surprised by the level of candor. He said today had he been writing the article rather than being interviewed it probably wouldn’t have come quite the same.
That said, he’s right. He’s absolutely right.
Being the Vice Presidential nominee on a losing ticket, should they actually lose, isn’t typically a huge plus. Sarah Palin perhaps could have been an exception, but she decided not to run. If she did she would have had to deal with criticism related to John McCain’s 2008 campaign. Is that fair? It doesn’t matter. She would have been tied to him. Perhaps instead of “stench” a better word would have been “baggage.”
On the Democrat side, we all know it didn’t work out well for John Edwards even before the scandals. We see this even with Vice Presidents. Al Gore was linked to Bill Clinton. Dick Cheney to George W. Bush – not that he was ever considered running for President. The number two person is always linked to the top of the ticket – always. For good or for ill. It went well for George H.W. Bush because President Ronald Reagan was well liked. Jimmy Carter – not so much and that impacted Walter Mondale.
So you have that, but then internally considering party politics when you have a candidate such as Mitt Romney it is going to be difficult for the running mate to overcome perceived negatives among the grassroots, especially in early states like Iowa, and will have to constantly explain any mishaps or stupid remarks made by previous campaign. Can Paul Ryan overcome that? Perhaps. Maybe the better question is this – will he want to?