ANALYS | Som det ser ut just nu vinner Barack Obama valet. Frågan är bara hur stor segermarginalen blir.
Oavsett vilket kommer segern att få stora konsekvenser för republikanerna.
Vilken ideologisk väg partiet borde välja har varit en het potatis åtminstone ända sedan John McCain valdes till partiets presidentkandidat.
En (av många) anledningar till Obamas stora seger 2008 var att republikanernas kärnväljare såg McCain som en typisk ”RINO”, d.v.s. ”Republican In Name Only”.
En RINO är en karriärpolitiker som anses har förstört både partiet och landets ekonomi genom att anpassa sig till den liberala politiska agendan i Washington.
Någon större entusiasm kring kampanjen blev det därför inte förrän McCain utsåg Sarah Palin till sin vicepresidentkandidat. Palin var också Tea Party-rörelsens favorit.
Efter McCains valförlust blev det Mitt Romneys tur. Och många såg även hans nominering som ett tecken på att det liberala partietablissemangets återigen hade fått den kandidat man önskade sig.
Detta i kontrast till gräsrötternas önskan om att få se en genuint konservativ kandidat som skulle våga tala sanning om behovet av att rensa upp i både Washington och i det egna partiet.
Precis som med McCain var det först när Romney utsåg sin vicepresidentkandidat som man kunde börja ana ett ökat intresse bland de republikanska väljarna.
Paul Ryan har lyckats inspirera kärnväljarna mer än Romney lyckats med. Även Romney själv har framstått som mer entusiastisk när Ryan har stått vid hans sida.
Att Ryan är de konservativas favorit går inte att ta miste på.
Ett stående inslag när han kampanjar är att framhäva att dagens ekonomiska kris är resultatet av år av misskötsel från både demokrater och republikaner i Washington. Detta genererar alltid applådera från publiken.
En valförlust innebär slutet för Romneys politiska karriär. För Ryan däremot kan det vara början på hans försök att erövra partiets presidentnominering.
Mark Leibovich skriver i The New York Times Magazine:
To many, Paul Ryan was a key figure — if not the key figure — in that future. In fact, his selection as running mate instantly mollified two basic insecurities that had been nagging at the conservative establishment for some time: one was that their standard-bearer, Romney, was a closet moderate who could not win over the hard-core “movement conservatives”; the other was that the fervor that animated the Tea Party movement had acquired a dangerously anti-intellectual strain, embodied by the likes of Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain. When I asked Ryan if today’s Republican Party was more “idea based” than it was two years ago, he squinted his intense eyes, nodded hard and said yes. I then asked his opinion of the more, let’s say, knowledge-averse bent of some conservative populism, mentioning Palin and Bachmann while understanding that he obviously couldn’t outwardly offend them or their supporters. “I have my poker face on,” Ryan said before letting slip with a tight grin.
In the midst of Romney’s deliberations, Ryan was the clear running mate of choice among the right-wing commentariat. (“The Republican Party’s intellectual leader,” wrote The Weekly Standard’s Stephen F. Hayes and William Kristol, who is partly credited with “discovering” Palin during a cruise to Alaska hosted by the magazine in 2007.) Ryan was considered a long shot among several contenders — he was too young, too conservative and too potentially offensive to older voters because of his plan to overhaul Medicare. Another knock was that he was too cerebral, or “wonkish,” to win broad appeal in a general election. This is one of those backhanded criticisms that in fact flatter. He was “too smart,” “too substantive,” in other words, for the sound-bite shorthand of the campaign trail.
Ryan is gifted at shrouding a cutthroat ambition in sheepish nonchalance. It is a key political skill — trying constantly to impress without looking as if you’re trying — and one that has eluded many politicians past and present. He is also deft at conveying precision and specificity without being the least bit precise or specific. He has honed his image carefully and promotes it relentlessly on the stump. In late September, Ryan introduced a slide-show demonstration to his appearances. “I’m sort of a PowerPoint guy, so bear with me,” he said the first time he did this, in Orlando, Fla., by way of apologizing for his apparent inability to communicate without his security blanket. Though his PowerPoint presentation is an extremely basic four-slide tutorial that shows how much the national debt has risen since World War II — something that many fifth graders could grasp — his home crowds invariably nod and praise him for his faith in their ability to grasp hard truths.
If Romney loses, the recriminations play out in two predictable ways among Republicans. Some will say that the party must attract a broader base of support among independent and moderate and nonwhite voters, which would argue for the less severely conservative tone that Romney adopted right after his first debate. They might even point to the presence of Ryan on the ticket as, ultimately, a negative, that his selection did nothing to move national polls in favor of Romney and possibly even scared off potential voters.
But a far more vocal — and probably bigger — group on the right will maintain that the ticket was not conservative enough. They will insist that Republicans need to stop nominating the next establishment guy in line. They will say Mitt Romney ran a lousy general election campaign, except for his finest act, the elevation of Paul Ryan, who was a very good Boy Scout and who waited his turn.
Övrigt: Tidskriftsomslaget är The New York Times Magazine den 21 oktober 2012.
(Inlägget publiceras även på Makthavare.se.)