To me, Paul Ryan doesn’t make sense for a variety of reasons. Sure, he is a much better speaker than Mr. Romney. The Tea Party base likes him a lot more. But those two things do not make a good VP. So, I shall state my opinion with the following points:
- Foreign Policy. I know that the strategy this election is not to make foreign policy a focal issue. But, President Obama has the capture and killing of Osama Bin Laden, the US intervention in Syria, and a few other foreign policy nuggets under his belt. Vice President Biden is a long time Senator, and was on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee starting in 1997. Even before being on that committee he has a lot of Foreign Policy experience. He has had experience in arms control (starting during the Cold War meeting with Soviet leaders and working on the SALT treaties), traveled to the Balkans various times in the 1990s after becoming a prominent voice on the issues being faced there, and has always been a strong proponent of nuclear proliferation. Mitt Romney, on the other hand, has little to know actual foreign policy experience, only proposed ideas. His first trip overseas, however, was not a highlight as his campaign, and (in my opinion) casts doubt on his abilities to be a strong international leader. Paul Ryan does not have the foreign policy experience Romney needed to bring to his campaign, and this could be an attacking point for his opponents.
- Gaining votes. The Tea Party may not find Romney to be their favorite Republican. He doesn’t excite them, he hasn’t become a “Tea Party Darling” like so many other republican candidates were. That’s why the election season saw so many candidates rise and then quickly fall – the Tea Party was searching for it’s “Not Romney.” But not being a Tea Party favorite doesn’t mean the Tea Party wasn’t going to vote for him. Their alternative, after all, is President Obama, which for them is not an alternative at all. The Tea Party was already going to come out in huge numbers for Romney, because they really don’t like President Obama. That’s their rallying point. The voters Mr. Romney needs to win over are those who are more unsure. The independents and the moderates should be his target. He also needs to win over some minorities, since his numbers amongst them (especially Hispanic voters) are dismal, to say the least. I don’t believe Ryan appeals to any of these groups. With his radical budget plan and controversial Tea Party stance, the main voters he serves to win over are voters Mr. Romney already had.
- Wisconsin. Wisconsin has been a light blue state. It has gone democrat, but only with a 5-10 percentage point margin. Not a lot of votes. This year, it’s leaning light blue again. Many people say the failed recall of Scott Walker is a sign it’s going red in 2012. But, the actual reasons of the voters for voting in the recall are unknown. For all we know, some people voted down the recall because they disagree with the premise of recalling an elected official, not because they liked Scott Walker’s policy. And, I know it doesn’t mean much, but in the recall exit polls, Obama still beat out Romney. Historically, the VP pick adds 2-3 percentage points in favor of his ticket in his home state. Whether that margin is enough to win Wisconsin (providing it’s correct) is unknown.
In all, I don’t see Ryan as the best pick for Romney. Obviously, those more educated know more than me. I assume those in charge of the Romney campaign know more about Ryan’s benefits than I do. But from my uneducated viewpoint, Romney could have chosen better.