Conventional wisdom has always dictated that a presidential candidate strives to bring a certain balance (either geographic or ideological) to the ticket in selecting a running mate. Striking an ideological balance in Mitt Romney’s case would be next to impossible, given his numerous flip flops and somersaults on virtually every major issue. How do you propose to balance anything when Mitt’s in perpetual mid-flight? Geographically, it’s a stretch to say that Wisconsin offers balance to Massachusetts—though there are certainly plenty of folks on the right who’d maintain that anything provides balance to Massachusetts.
So, that leaves one possible explanation for Mr. Romney’s selection of Mr. Ryan: pandering to the far right. Mitt has never recovered from the trauma of arguably being the most moderate of all the Republican presidential candidates (again, it’s actually hard to tell but that seemed to be the consensus). Mitt cannot abide being unpopular, and the Tea Partiers and other lost souls of the far right said some harsh things about him. Even some of his fellow candidates for the nomination offered some tough criticism. Of course neither Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry or Ron Paul will have any significant role at the Republican National Convention later this month, and one can safely assume Rick Santorum will be speaking in anything but prime time. Summus ultio,eh Mitt?
It’s possible Romney may have succeeded in finally solidifying his conservative base, but where does the selection of Ryan leave him with the moderates and independents who will likely decide the election’s outcome? One close look at Mr. Ryan’s track record and recent proposals and you’d have to assume these folks will be breaking for President Obama, whether they really want to or not.
Like his new boss, Ryan will only release two years worth of his tax records. He is an ardent opponent of Romneycare, er… Obamacare. He has previously advocated for the privatization of social security and favors morphing medicare into a voucher system. He is fiercely anti-union (pro Scott Walker), anti-choice, and pro guns. It’s his budget proposals that engender the most fear amongst the thinking public, however. In addition to extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, Ryan favors further massive tax breaks for billionaires and millionaires, which he theoretically intends to pay for (though in fact he won’t even come close) by increasing taxes on the middle class and implementing massive cuts to education, health care, energy and medical & scientific research. In his wildest Romneyhood dreams Mitt can’t even begin to come close to redistributing the wealth to the wealthy like this guy proposes to do. Paul Ryan may well be the answer to Donald Trump’s prayers, but he does nothing for America.