There are some weeks when I wonder who are the best choices for winners and losers in the political world for the week, and then there are weeks like this one. There is no question who the top choices for each last week have to be.
Love him or hate him, no politician’s stock rose more in the last week than that of Paul Ryan’s. The long Romney veepstakes was finally called to a halt on August 11th, when the presumptive Republican nominee announced his selection for running mate. After months of speculation and commentary by media and pundits alike, as well as several days of a “process of elimination” game with convention speakers being announced, Mitt Romney chose the 42-year-old representative from Wisconsin.
Ryan is best known for his ideas in favor of privatizing aspects of Medicare and Medicaid, as well as his drive to balance the budget over a thirty-year period. In 2004 and 2005, he tried to press the Bush administration to drive toward social security privatization, but the White House did not follow suit. Ryan is the House Budget Committee Chairman, and is currently serving his sixth term in the House of Representatives, having first been elected in 1998, becoming the second-youngest serving member of that legislative body.
Paul Ryan has won in all of his electoral contests for the House, never earning less than 56% of the vote. In 2008, Barack Obama won Wisconsin 56-42% over John McCain. It remains to be seen if Ryan’s popularity in his own state, which tends to lean Democratic, can help Romney win that state’s ten electoral votes.
Joe Biden seemed to fall into a one-two punch of blunders this week, making himself look bad as well as the president. First, he performed an exaggerated mimicry of a sign language interpreter during a speech. This in itself might be considered just a one-off event that is bound to happen occasionally to anyone who does a lot of public speaking. However, on Tuesday, August 14th, Vice-President Biden told a largely African-American audience of around 800 people that the election of Mitt Romney would put them all “back in chains.” The comment was immediately rebuked by the Republican campaign, and President Obama attempted to clarify the Vice-President’s remarks, comparing Biden’s comments to Republican calls to “unshackle business.”
With the Republican convention coming up, we should see some major attacks by the Republicans on the Obama camp, as they attempt to unify their party under the Romney/Ryan banner. The president’s re-election campaign is certain to strike back, creating fodder for the news cycle for the weeks ahead. The most interesting possible development could be what becomes of the hundreds of delegates at the RNC convention who are supporters of Ron Paul, the last official holdout against Romney’s coronation as the Republican nominee.
What happens when Ron Paul’s delegation attempts to press forward with their agenda could make next week’s selection for political winner of the week more difficult to choose.
(White House photo)