The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

The Hashtag That Changed History

Posted on | August 11, 2012 | 59 Comments

“This is an emergency post. . . . Mitt Romney must choose Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his vice-presidential nominee, period.”
Robert Stacy McCain, Aug. 4, 2012

Who would have thunk it, huh? Friday night I went to bed early, and Ali Akbar kept calling to tell me the news, but my wife couldn’t get me to wake up. The headlines in the order they appeared at Memeorandum:

From Boston to Janesville
Robert Costa, National Review

Romney Prepares to Pick Ryan
Weekly Standard


Associated Press

Romney To Unveil Vice Presidential Pick On Saturday
Think Progress

The Angel and Devil in Paul Ryan
ABC News

Mitt Romney Set To Pick
Paul Ryan As Running Mate

Jon Ward, Huffington Post

BREAKING: Romney to announce
vice presidential pick Saturday


Mitt Romney picks Paul Ryan as running mate

Romney to announce running mate on Saturday morning
The Hill

NBC: 3 sources indicate
Romney will pick Ryan

NBC News

Everybody I talked to last Friday night at the Americans for Prosperity Summit — Aug. 3, at the terrace bar of the Washington Hilton — said it was going to be Tim Pawlenty.

That inspired a sort of panic: “Good Lord, not T-Paw!” When I heard that Marco Rubio had been eliminated due to “vetting” issues, I started an all-out push for Paul Ryan. One of the first people I spoke to was Suhail Khan of Americans for Tax Reform who told me, “Ryan vets. The worst thing they could come up with was that he worked as a bartender at Tortilla Coast when he first came to D.C.”

That clinched it. Driving home from the AFP Summit Saturday afternoon, I called Ali Akbar, who quickly minted the #GiveUsRyan hashtag, and I pulled off the highway to stop at a Burger King and write that “emergency” post, which was linked by Jackie Wellfonder, Daley Gator, Roderic Deane and Troglopundit, among others.

That was Saturday afternoon. In addition to pushing Ryan on Twitter, Ali was busy behind the scenes. After a long conversation with him on Tuesday, I reported the final three:

VP Tea Leaves: Is Mitt’s Short List Now
Down to Pawlenty, Portman or Ryan?

That post was linked by Jackie Wellfonder, Bob Belvedere, Andrew J. Patrick and others. By then, the conservative drumbeat for Ryan was getting loud enough that headlines were popping up left and right. When Alex Moe of NBC News reported that Ryan was planning a “vacation”? Yeah, that was a tea leaf. And by Thursday, the choice was clear:

Hey, @MittRomney: This #GiveUsRyan
Hashtag Is Becoming Kinda Popular

When I finally woke up and called Ali about 3 a.m. today, he was driving to Norfolk to attend the rally where Mitt Romney will announce this morning that Paul Ryan will be the next vice president of the United States. Did the #GiveUsRyan hashtag have as much influence as, say, Bill Kristol pleading on Ryan’s behalf? No, but it definitely had an impact: Ali has friends on the Romney staff and, when the word started leaking out Friday, the Romney staffers told him, “Good work, Ali.”

Your Tweets — and you know who you are — definitely made a difference. As I explained Thursday, Romney’s people pay attention to their online metrics. Every Tweet to @MittRomney with #GiveUsRyan was a signal that Ryan was the grassroots consensus.

So far, only Nice Deb has acknowledged the difference you made.

You may never get full credit, but as Ronald Reagan said, “You can accomplish much, if you don’t care who gets the credit.”

When your kids and grandkids ask someday, “How did Paul Ryan become vice president?” you can say, “I picked him!”


UPDATE: The Rio Norte Line reminds us of how Ryan defended his budget against Debbie Wasserman Schultz:

UPDATE: Instalanche! BTW, there are some retroactive hindsight claims by GOP “insiders” that Mitt picked Ryan before Aug. 4, but don’t believe it. That’s just the Establishment trying to deny credit to the conservative grassoots.

UPDATE II: Linked by William J. Hoge, Daley Gator, Jackie Wellfonder, The Lonely Conservative and Da Tech Guy.



  • Saul

    Your Tweets — and you know who you are — definitely made a difference. As I explained Thursday, Romney’s people pay attention to their online metrics.

    Hard to pay attention to measurements of things before those things happen. But thanks for sharing your intimate knowledge of “Romney’s people.”

    The same day Stacy was typing this nonsense, Romney person Beth Myers — who directed the campaign’s VP selection process — was giving a press briefing in which she laid out the real timeline. According to Myers, Romney told his staff on Aug. 1 that he had picked Ryan. The last time Romney discussed the VP choices with his staff was July 1.

    And there you have it, from the most knowledgeable source, save Romney himself: #GiveUsRyan was not a factor in any degree whatsoever.

    Shoulda gone to the press conference. Or at least gotten on the email list.

  • DaveO

    True enough!

  • DaveO

    ccoffer changed his name to Saul? Really?

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  • Bob Belvedere

    This is why that after November, we have to push Michele Bachmann and Allen West to Stage The Coup and overthrow the House Leadership, with someone like Jim Demint doing the same in the Senate.

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