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
ROMNEY TO ANNOUNCE RUNNING MATE
SATURDAY IN VA.
— 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
Mitt Romney picks Paul Ryan as running mate
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:
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:
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: 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.