On Saturday, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney officially announced his running mate choice: Paul Ryan, the US Representative from Wisconsin. Romney passed up vice-presidential hopefuls such as Rob Portman of Ohio and Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, and now sites like Politico claim Romney wanted Ryan all along. Instead of looking to capture votes from individual states, Romney has focused on finding a partner whose policy-wonk, data-oriented personality fit in with his own. Here are six ways Paul Ryan could help Romney’s chances for office.
1. He’s young. At age 42 and the same age as Romney’s oldest son, Ryan has the ability to influence Republicans who fear Romney is losing touch with the demands of suburban families. He isn’t afraid to take risks that older politicians, like Romney, would falter at. At times, he’s defended viewpoints and ideas even if he was the only one defending them. His budget proposals, for instance, are considered bold for the Republican Party.
2. His proposals make him and Romney a team to support – more than a team to vote for so Obama won’t get re-elected. He has clear plans to reform Medicare, Medicaid, and food stamps. The programs would not be completely phased out, but would be diminished so it would be harder to obtain entitlements. For example, Medicare would be privatized to a point that seniors can opt into the program, but wouldn’t automatically be enrolled.
3. Ryan can direct the presidential debate towards the most pressing issue today: the recession. His plan, so dubbed the Ryan Plan, will cut $5tn in national spending throughout the next decade. It will also balance the $16tn federal debt in 20-30 years. Instead of seeing campaigns based on slandering candidates, Americans can be exposed to both GOP and Democratic beliefs on fixing the economy before making an informed choice.
4. He was already a household name, thanks to the Democratic Party. Obama’s camp made Ryan the poster child for the quintessential Republican, hoping it would make voters turn to the Democrats. It’s still three months too soon to find out if the plan backfired, but even before the announcement Ryan was known among conservatives as one to watch.
5. While Romney is known for doing business in the private sector, Ryan has spent most of his life dedicated to working in Washington, having been elected to Congress at age 28. Though Democrats look at his fiscal-responsibility selling point skeptically because of his lack of business experience, Ryan is familiar with the budget process and Congress’ inner workings. He has also made allies who would help Mitt Romney’s plans come to fruition, if elected.
6. Ryan is personable – and that means more donors. Unlike Romney, whom the Democrats have painted as too-rich-to-understand-the-middle-class, Ryan was raised in a small Wisconsin town. He has worked blue-collar jobs and has an even temper that invites intelligent debate. His nice-guy personality could win over the Midwest and devout Catholics who feel alienated by Obama’s contraception mandate. Additionally, his charisma could bring in more money to the Republican fundraising effort, which has famously languished in the wake of the Democrats’.