Romney has finally picked his running mate and it is none other than Paul Ryan. It wasn’t the most surprising move, but at the same time it is playing to a base of the Republican Party that Romney has largely avoided this far along in the race. And in doing so the question remains if it is a move that will help or hurt him.
Ryan appeals to a group of Republican voters who might have leaned towards another candidate, but may be enough to scare away many a potentially Republican-voting former Democrat.
Romney has been a candidate that has the opportunity to appeal to left wing voters who aren’t happy with the Obama administration. With his history leading Massachusetts and establishing health care there, his record isn’t completely unrelatable for a lot of dissatisfied voters.
Ryan, on the other hand, represents that part of the Republican Party that most left leaning voters have virtually no understanding for. He walks that strange line of wanting government regulation out of pretty much everything except the female body.
His budget called for a dismantling of social security and Medicare while at the same time he personally champions the Personhood bill, which would declare that human life begins at conception and thus many forms of birth control and all forms of abortion would automatically become illegal.
This background may appeal to some libertarians, but will it frighten away retirees in Florida when you threaten to take away their social security and their health care?
During the last election, the selection of Sarah Palin as McCain’s running mate was seen by many as the turning point. As she shot upon the public state it became more and more obvious that she wouldn’t be able to handle the stresses of public office (as she later proved by resigning from her own position of public office two years before her term was over). She managed to push away many uncertain left leaning voters pretty quickly.
While on the surface Ryan, like Palin, is very likeable TV-wise, the question remains if what Americans really want is to get rid of the tiny social net they have and replace it by being totally reliant on some of the worst labor protections in the first world.
In the end I think that the selection of Ryan is not the worst Romney could have made, strategy wise, but it certainly does scare me into becoming more active.
(Photo: U.S. Department of Defense)