I would just say, we shouldn’t be surprised — and not just because the Ryan Plan — whatever you think of the substance — is pretty terrible politics when it really sees the light of day. Republicans have generally shied away from it at election time. But because these states shouldn’t surprise us either. Denny Rehberg, who’s now narrowly leading incumbent Sen. John Tester (D) in Montana, was one of the first Republicans to resist President Bush’s push to privatize Social Security back in 2005. And there were similar movements in West Virginia.
Not surprising. These are states with disproportionately large older populations. And they are ones that have trended Republican far more on social and cultural issues than economic issues.
The key here for the broader 2012 cycle is that Mitt Romney has signed on to the Ryan Plan with a vengeance and the whole House GOP has done the same. If and when that gets engaged as a real part of the 2012 campaign, which it simply hasn’t yet, it could move the election in a very unexpected direction.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.