Commentary: Paul Ryan Blames “Urban” Turnout for Loss

In one of his first interviews since losing the election last week, the former vice presidential candidate struggled to make sense of his defeat.

Posted: 11/14/2012 11:34 AM EST
Paul Ryan

In one of his first interviews since losing the vice presidency under Mitt Romney last week, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan wasted no time in blaming other people for his loss. Rather than looking at the number of missteps his own campaign made, including an inability to explain their policies and Romney’s tremendous “47 percent” blunder, Ryan chalked up Obama’s victory to a big “urban” turnout.

Michael D. Shear writes at the New York Times:

“The surprise was some of the turnout, some of the turnout especially in urban areas, which gave President Obama the big margin to win this race,” Mr. Ryan said in an interview with WISC-TV. “When we watched Virginia and Ohio coming in, and those ones coming in as tight as they were, and looking like we were going to lose them, that’s when it became clear we weren’t going to win.”

Let’s not kid ourselves or beat around the bush: What Ryan meant by “urban areas” is places with lots of minorities and cosmopolitan liberals. What Romney’s former second in command seems to be forgetting, however, is that that belief doesn’t explain away how he and Romney lost relatively rural and white states like New Hampshire, Iowa and Maine. New Hampshire, for instance, is more than 92 percent white, and Iowa is more than 88 percent white. What’s more, neither of those places is at all the kind of state one thinks of when they think of “urban.”

So what’s Ryan’s excuse for losing them?

In the interview, Ryan continued, saying that he doesn’t think he and Romney lost on “budget issues” and Medicare. You might assume, then, that Ryan believes he lost on issues like entitlement spending and benefits for the poor — in other words, programs he’d expect an “urban” crowd to like.

The oldest lesson in the book is that even if you lose, you should be able to take a lesson from the defeat. With answers as clueless as these, it doesn’t look as if Paul Ryan’s learned much of anything.

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(Photo: AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

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