Paul Ryan Is a Good Choice For Romney’s VP

By YeOldeScribe ~ August 12th, 2012 @ 4:37 pm

At PoliticalProgressives, we’ve made some pretty bold (and very far-out, timewise) predictions about the 2012 Presidential Race. Many have been wrong, and we’ll fess up to it. But we definitely predicted (almost a year and a half ago!) that this race would come down to Romney and Obama – and that Obama would win. We didn’t predict that Romney would follow the same failed path that John McCain took in 2008 and try to go as hard to the right as possible (check back soon for a new post on that), but it’s not surprising. Money talks, and as much as we bash the Tea Party, right now they (and other right wing extremists) are pulling in cash hand over fist. Between the special interests groups, super PAC’s and the extreme candidates themselves, Romney needed to tap into this group somehow. But he also didn’t really want to associate with them – while we may not like Romney, he’s smart enough to know that those people are scary, and while their money would be nice, that association could be enough to dissuade some moderates from voting for him.

This is one of the reasons why selecting Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) was such a good idea for Romney. See, Ryan isn’t a Tea Party candidate. Never has been, never wants to be associated with them. But the Tea Party loves Ryan for his work on the budget. They’ve pseudo-adopted Ryan because of it. So this move is great, because it keeps the Tea Baggers on board (some were starting to jump off the S.S. Romney for his dubious tax and economic stances) while still appealing to more moderate Republicans too. See, the Ryan budget project was universally loved by Republicans, and for good reason. Moderate Republicans viewed it as a serious attempt to address key issues and fix major economic problems while still staying true to Republican ideals. Crazy Right Wing fringe Republicans because it appeared like the budget proposal meant that their calls for reform were being taken seriously. Bringing Ryan on helps the Romney campaign in most states except one – and we’ll get to that significant state in a second.

But since Ryan’s budget proposal was the main reason why he was selected as Romney’s VP, let’s take a closer look at it. Make no mistake about it, Romney’s pick of Ryan is tied 100% to the budget the House Budget Committee proposed, which Ryan chaired and led. Ryan was the face of the Republican budget, and that’s the main reason why he was selected. So if you haven’t taken a look at Ryan’s visual presentation of the budget, do so here. Ryan also had some pretty interesting videos about Medicare Reform and Tax Code Reform, which can be viewed by clicking on the corresponding links.

Before we go any further on the merits of this proposal, it should be noted that Ryan and his team did a fantastic job with the production. The video is narrated well, and the backgrounds are great. Nice music in the background really rounds things out. But the two amazing pieces are the script and the graphic overlays. Granted, Ryan probably didn’t have much to do with these things, but they should be noted nonetheless. Visually, this is a very impressive and impactful display. It really shows you how to use graphic overlays without overdoing them. And the fact that they flow naturally with the script is excellent – sometimes, you’d think the people who do the visuals and the people who do the script production are on different planets. But the script itself is great, too. Instead of an all-out attack on Obama (no video directly mentions him), Ryan attacks Washington, or sometimes just “the president”. This is very smart. Also, the presentation is good in that it has solid facts while forcing you to have an emotional response at the same time.

Many of you will probably be shocked by this, but for the most part, we at PoliticalProgressives support the main principles of the Ryan Budget. But the key words there are “main principles”. Since you can’t outline a 1,000 page budget in three minutes, all Ryan got to talk about were the main principles, and he did a great job of it. Medicare does need to be reformed. So does the Tax Code. So does government spending. It’s the way Ryan went about fixing those problems that we really disagree with (more on that in a later post). But the public at large doesn’t care about the specifics, they care about image, and Ryan has successfully portrayed himself as a deficit hawk – and a rather intelligent one at that.

You can’t underestimate image, and Ryan actually has a rather good one. For one, he’s young (by political terms) and handsome, and that wins more votes than you’d think. It’s not really a fair fight when your competition in the VP beauty pageant is Joe Biden, but a boyish charm and good looks can get you far in Washington, and more importantly in the hearts and minds of female voters in swing states. But his work with the budget does show he’s no dummy. As much as we disagree with his specific solutions, he attacks the problem in a very logical, straightforward manner without belaboring or belittling points. Of the many people who have interviewed him, most have been impressed with how knowledgeable and well-spoken he is. This makes him a fine candidate – especially if he’s going to be expected to campaign on his own.

The biggest knock against Ryan is that while he will probably secure Wisconsin for Romney (more later this week about why that’s huge), he’ll probably cost him Florida. The stereotype that Florida is full of tourists, rich celebrities, and old people is mostly true – and the elderly are the ones doing the voting. Oddly enough, the elderly are resistant to change – specifically changes to Medicare and Medicaid, which many in the 60-plus range will soon be depending on. Nevermind the fact that the Ryan plan doesn’t change Social Security and Medicare for those over the age of 55 – Ryan’s calls for reform apparently mean he’s going to be forcefully throwing grandmas off cliffs, according to some liberals. Sadly, once again, image is everything. And because the pundits call Ryan’s plan “The Death of Medicare As We Know It” (it’s not), Romney now faces an uphill battle in Florida. (Although it could be argued that unless Romney picked Rubio for VP, he wasn’t going to win the state anyway. After all, Obama won it in 2008, and Romney wasn’t doing much to try to take the Sunshine State away from Barack.)

So is the Ryan pick good? We think so. Later this week, we’ll outline some reasons why it’s good (for Republicans/Romney), and some reasons why we disagree with Ryan, too. Keep in mind that there is no perfect candidate. Even though we support the President and our writer will probably be voting for him in a few months, we’ve called him out where he’s erred. We’ll do the same for Ryan – praise him for what he’s done well, critique some of his mistakes, then offer our final verdict. But the fact is that overall, this is probably a good move for the Romney campaign. We think it injects new life into Romney’s campaign and gives him a better chance of winning in 2012 (even though we still don’t think he will). What more could you want from your VP?

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