Paul Ryan: A Swing For The Fences Or A Well-Crafted Choice?
Pundits will tell you that the vice presidential pick doesn’t affect the outcome of presidential elections because people vote for the top of the ticket; this year could well change that notion.
Mitt Romney telegraphed his choice for vice president earlier this week when he said that his choice would set the tone for national politics for the future, starting a barrage of speculation that Paul Ryan might have rocketed to Romney’s VP shortlist.
The guess-work reached critical mass Friday night, on the eve of a Romney bus trip to toss-up states, when word leaked that the odds-on favorites for VP had been called to notify them they would not be chosen as Romney’s running mate; at the same time the campaign announced the candidate would reveal his choice in Norfolk, Virginia, standing beside the USS Wisconsin, made Paul Ryan the clear selection.
Recent polling has shown that Romney is trailing Barack Obama, though many have argued that these polls have been biased toward Democrat voters; a confirming Fox News poll released later this week changed the Republican chatter from dismissive to concern. Could Romney’s choice be a result of panic in the campaign making a bold choice, such as Paul Ryan, a necessity?
Paul Ryan may be the perfect teammate for Romney. Known as a no-nonsense leader in the House of Representatives, economic powerhouse and budget hawk, Paul Ryan provides a needed boost for Romney with his base and Independents. Looked upon favorably by both the Tea Party and Independents, both groups that have not shown much excitement over Romney’s candidacy, Paul Ryan at least blunts some of the Romney indifference.
All is not hearts and roses for the GOP though. While Paul Ryan is a Conservative favorite, he’s also a Democrat’s perfect target. Paul Ryan, as the House Budget Committee chairman, has authored several budgets over the past few years that provide fertile ground for the Democrat’s demagoguery. The Democrats have even used an actor representing Paul Ryan that wheels an elderly woman off a cliff, intimating that Paul Ryan’s budgets will hurt senior citizens; expect Ryan’s budgets to be a focus of Democratic attacks.
Paul Ryan doesn’t bolster Mitt Romney’s weak foreign policy experience, but in an election where the economy is first and foremost on every voter’s mind it won’t hurt him either.
Many Conservative analysts, including the author of this story, were certain that Romney would pick Rob Portman or perhaps Tim Pawlenty, so either the polls caused a major shift in the Romney campaign or Mr. Romney was playing with the pundits and the blogosphere.
The effect of the Paul Ryan choice won’t be known for a few more months, but it’s clear that Conservatives are pleased and the Paul Ryan’s selection brings a new level of excitement to the 2012 election. The attacks upon the Wisconsin Representative have already begun and with the Obama Administration’s penchant for dishonest and personal attacks one has to hope that this good and decent man and his family can weather the blitzkrieg that’s coming their way.
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