Republican right wing ups pressure on Romney
US REPUBLICAN Party conservatives are once again increasing the pressure on the party’s White House candidate presumptive, Mitt Romney.
Romney’s decision to not yet name his choice of a vice- presidential nominee has created an opening for social and economic conservatives to pressurise him publicly, and they have taken the opportunity to make an aggressive case for congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
In rallying around Ryan, a champion of cutting government spending and reining in the costs of entitlement programmes such as Medicare and Medicaid, conservatives are calling for Romney to select someone who can push their fiscal agenda. They are also setting the stage for a possible letdown on the right if Romney chooses someone else in his race against President Barack Obama.
A strongly-worded Wall Street Journal editorial on Thursday urged Romney to pick Ryan, saying he “best exemplifies the nature and stakes of this election”. The editorial follows on a fresh wave of public pressure from other conservative outlets for Romney to erase doubts about his commitment to conservative causes – an issue that has dogged him since his days campaigning as a liberal Republican for the Senate in Massachusetts.
“The conservative base of the party is so concerned about Obama and his approach to government that they are going to vote for Romney,” said John Brabender, who was Rick Santorum’s chief strategist during his nomination fight with Romney.
“The question is, are they going to make 10 phone calls to their friends and relatives because they care so passionately? That’s going to be somewhat of a challenge.”
The Weekly Standard has urged Romney to embrace the conservative principles in Ryan’s budget – and Ryan himself for vice-president – predicting that Democrats will attack him for it anyway.
“Romney, and Republicans, will be running on the Romney-Ryan plan no matter what,” the paper wrote. “Having Paul Ryan on the ticket may well make it easier to defend the plan convincingly.”
That view was echoed by Newt Gingrich, who lost a bid for the Republican nomination to Romney.
“If Romney needs to defend the Paul Ryan budget, there’s no better way than to put Paul Ryan up front to defend it,” he said, adding that Ryan could help Romney in culturally conservative parts of the industrial midwest.
The not-so-subtle campaign on Ryan’s behalf may be moot if Romney has already made up his mind about a running mate, as some political observers believe.
It is possible that Romney could announce his pick as early as this weekend, while on a scheduled bus tour through swing states. Speaking with Chuck Todd of NBC News on Thursday, Romney said his pick must add “something to the political discourse about the direction of the country”.