It is now official. Choosing Ryan solidifies the Republican ticket among rich, healthy, male voters who don’t give a damn about anyone else, including their children and future generations–not that Romney has any problem with that demographic. Falling in the polls, Romney found that he cannot win by doing nothing but telling lies about Obama and twisting quotations. Initially Romney wanted the election to be purely a referendum on Obama, trying to avoid saying anything specific and hoping that anyone unhappy with the state of the economy would vote for Romney by default. Apparently too many people realize that the problem is Republican policies, not Barack Obama. Besides, despite the best efforts of Republicans to prevent this, there are signs the economy may be recovering. Choosing Ryan now means that Obama gets what he wanted–an election based upon a choice between two competing policies
Romney had hoped to keep his taxes and business experience off the table, but making such demands only makes him look like a cry baby. This might be a fair deal provided that Romney stop making stuff up and stop trying to place the blame for the Bush Recession and Bush Deficit (which Ryan voted for) on Obama. Announcing the choice of Ryan (even if calling him the next president in error) will change the topic of discussion briefly. Unfortunately for Romney it might change the conversation in ways which do not help him. With the announcement of Romney/Ryan, Goldwater/Miller is no longer the most far right ticket in Republican history–and may they suffer the same fate. This ticket is also unique in not having a candidate with military or foreign policy experience, and in not having a Protestant.
As is usual for Romney, he has both backed the Ryan budget on several dates and has tried to distance himself from it. Now there will be no more successful shaking of the Etch-A-Sketch. Romney is attached to the Ryan budget and plans to destroy Medicare as we know it, regardless of his campaign talking points. Ryan’s earlier attempts to privatize Social Security, which went beyond those of George W. Bush, may further harm the ticket. Florida, which has only been leaning slightly to Obama n recent polls, might wind up to be out of reach for the anti-Medicare boys.
Choosing Ryan calls into question any claims of having a running mate who is qualified to take over from day one. It also makes it difficult for Romney to continue to attack Obama for a lack of experience in the private sector. Ryan’s private sector experience is limited to summer jobs such as driving the Weinermobile as an Oscar Mayer salesman. He does have experience working as a Congressional aide, including for Sam Brownback. He also shares many of Brownback’s reactionary views.
Choosing Ryan might help Romney keep the election about the economy as opposed to other issues. There are even some on the left who, while disagreeing with Ryan, do say he is serious. James Fallows explained just how unserious Ryan’s economic proposals really are. While Romney would prefer to keep the election centered on the economy, Ryan’s far right views will further alienate the ticket from women, as well as with reasonable individuals regardless of gender. For example, Ryan co-sponsored the Sanctity of Human Life Act, which declares that a fertilized egg “shall have all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood,” effectively banning abortion and some forms of contraception. While in theory this should shore up the vote from the religious right, the ticket could also have problems with them. Ryan is a strong follower of Ayn Rand, an ashiest who has written many things which would greatly offend the religious right.
Ryan’s major strength is that he does have the ability to make very bad ideas sound palatable. Democrats will be forced to respond with ideas of their own, defending what is necessary from government without the out-of-control spending which Republicans accuse them of. This could be an exercise which is good for the Democratic Party.