I once heard a pol characterize the difference between Republicans and Democrats this way (and I think he was quoting Bill Clinton): “Democrats want to fall in love, Republicans want to fall in line.”
It is an often-quoted axiom of modern American politics that got another boost in credibility this morning as I viewed (again) the poll results at a local Fort Bend County newspaper’s online edition.
The poll asked the newspaper’s readers “Who would be your number one choice for Mitt Romney's Vice Presidential running mate?” Local readers all chimed in and by the weekend I could see that the poll results were going to be a little at variance to the desires of the local Republican electorate.
It’s gone now, and I regretfully have no screen shots, but if memory serves, on the morning that Romney announced that Paul Ryan was to be his running mate in the 2012 General Election, the locals in Fort Bend County had Marco Rubio as their number one choice with over 30%.
Now that’s what I call a consensus. These days you can’t get a third of Republicans to agree on anything so one candidate getting that many votes is tantamount to a landslide victory.
The number two choice? General David Petraeus pulling in 18%.
Now call me ignorant, but General Petraeus was way below my radar, but maybe that’s because I don’t watch Fox and Friends or listen to local AM talk show radio. So I Googled it and all I could come up with was categorical denials that General Petraeus was remotely interested in the job.
Then in order followed Jeb Bush, Rick Santorum, Condi Rice/Tim Pawlenty (tied) and then the Fat Man, Governor Chris Christie.
THEN came Paul Ryan with about 4 percent of the vote.
But what a difference a day makes, or 3 days in this case.
Three days later, on Tuesday morning August 14th, Congressman Paul Ryan has climbed in the polling from 4% to 16% and is currently tied with General Petraeus (as Pawlenty is with Rice, but apparently Paul Ryan’s 16% outranks Petraeus’) as seen on the screen capture at right.
Now I can’t figure out which one of these scenarios is the most proper way to characterize the course of events described above. I guess I want to keep with the whole “fall in line” meme because it seems to be what has happened, but then I am also aware of the fact, especially now that I have seen the nominee-apparent in action over the past few weeks, that there is this irresistible pull toward the desire to change history.
I guess I need to stay tuned and see how the vote eventually settles out. Will Paul Ryan eventually outpoll Marco Rubio? Will Fort Bend County conservatives be the “retroactive bellwether" of the Republican Party?
UPDATE: As of this morning, 7 days after Mitt Romney made his VP announcement, Paul Ryan's surge in the Republican poll has continued. This morning Ryan has gained his place permanently at the top of the poll, outstripping his nearest rival, former front-runner Marco Rubio by 5 points. It is now Ryan 27%, Rubio 22%. More fun in Red Red Texas where, contrary to popular belief, the politics of falling in line is alive and well.