So, how do strategists who are tasked with advising their candidates in House and Senate races view the Paul Ryan pick?
Most Democrats we talked with were giddy about the pick. Even hours after Ryan’s selection had been announced, one Democratic strategist was still in disbelief calling it the “best pick possible for us.”
This same strategist, who was at House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s Annual issues conference in Napa Valley, California, said donors and members of Congress in attendance were “pumped” about the Ryan pick.
“This election becomes a referendum,” said this advisor. “Balance the budget the right way by protecting Medicare. Or stand with Romney-Ryan — who would further burden seniors and the middle class. It is a disastrous pick for congressional Republicans.”
However, one long-time Democratic consultant warned Democrats not to get too confident. The fact that Ryan has teamed up with Democrat Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon to outline a plan to tackle Medicare reform, said this consultant, complicates Democrats’ plans to turn Ryan into a partisan boogeyman.
In an op-ed penned in the Wall Street Journal by Wyden and Ryan last December, the two men wrote, “Our plan would strengthen traditional Medicare by permanently maintaining it as a guaranteed and viable option for all of our nation’s retirees.”
Look for Republicans to revive this quote often on the campaign trail.
Even so, at least one Republican consultant we reached out to told us that he worries that every time Republicans are talking about Medicare, “they are not talking about jobs and the economy.” An issue, of course, that Republicans have long held will not only define this race, but sink Obama.
When asked what he thinks of the Ryan pick, another GOP strategist who is involved in House and Senate races tells me simply “not helpful. Instead of referendum election we now get a choice.”
“I am sure Florida and Arizona love the Ryan budget,” this strategist notes sarcastically.
So, will tying every Republican candidate to the Ryan budget help ensure that Democrats keep control of the Senate and win control of the House?
One smart Democratic strategist we spoke with wasn’t willing to make that prediction. He was, however, supremely confident in its effectiveness at the presidential level.