Saturday, August 11, 2012

Paul Ryan is the VP pick, quick reaction

As always, I fired up my twitter feed when I awoke this morning and saw that the mounting speculation in the last few days regarding Wisconsin Rep and Chair of the House Budget Committee Paul Ryan was indeed correct.  Time for a quick analysis.

This is what I posted three weeks ago about Paul Ryan's chances for selection. Yes, the same posting when I predicted that Bobby Jindahl would be the selection - more omelet on face please!

Paul Ryan - Representative from Wisconsin
Pros: Policy wonk, may help in WI, budget expertise
Cons: Lightening rod for Democrats over budget proposals, not well known
Likelihood: Medium

Time for a more detailed pro/con list...Romney truly went out of the box instead of a safe pick like Portman or Pawlenty. Bold decision by Romney, but would he do this if he felt comfortable in winning this November?

  • Fires up the Republican base big time! This adds to the notion of this being and election about turning out base voters and true believers.  On fiscal issues, Ryan is a the real deal with Tea Party voters who will now have much more motivation to come out and work for Romney's election.
  • See above - this solidifies Romney's conservative credentials and ought to quiet calls that he is too moderate or wishy-washy.
  • Ryan is as passionate with his speaking style as Romney is, uh... boring.  Additionally he has a folksy Midwestern persona which may help with connecting with working class whites.
  • Solid policy and intellectual chops.
  • Ryan is a way to focus the economic differences with the Obama administration and adds credibility to domestic policy under a Romney administration being a complete departure from that of President Obama.
  • WI is a swing state, will this be enough to swing it red this year?  Romney is betting that the Midwest goes his way, in fact it must if he is to win.  Ryan may help out by a point or two.
  • Mormon-Catholic ticket - a first indeed...

  • Ryan has proposed major reforms on the budget including a partial privatization of Medicare.  Target rich environment.  Ads showing vulnerable seniors are already being shot as I write...can he survive the third rail of politics? Democrats will try very hard to make this about Ryan and his "radical" policies that hurt the poor and vulnerable. 
  • See above: Feeds into the storyline that Romney is a robber-baron and the reincarnation of Gordon Gecko. Obama's attack ads have been eroding his support among key groups, especially women. Expect the negative ads to continue and redouble.
  • Ryan is 42, but looks 28.  Young and no strong foreign policy credentials - another line of attack.
  • This makes Ryan part of the campaign - does it distract from the campaign strategy that this is a referendum on the president?
  • Does this pick smack of worry (desperation) on Romney's part?   Going bold can be spun as desperation.

Pardon the football analogy, but the Prof is quite the New England Patriots fan. This is not the Hail Mary Pass (dropped and fumbled by Palin) of 2008, but certainly a tricky pass over the middle on 3rd and 8.  Into traffic.  Ryan better be able to pull moves like Wes Welker in the next 87 days.


The Prof