Monday, August 13, 2012

Two Thoughts on Paul Ryan's Selection

So Paul Ryan is Mitt Romney's running mate. What does that mean?

In mulling this over, a couple thoughts have come to mind:

First, with a hard core fiscal and social conservative Ryan joining Romney and the Republicans (the RRR team), this race is now very clearly a choice between contrasting ideas. 

RRR believe in these things on the economy...

  • Big tax cuts for the rich - above and beyond the Bush cuts
  • More tax cuts and credits for corporations
  • Deregulation of key industries such as finance, housing and energy
  • Massive cuts in popular programs everyday people rely on like Social Security and Medicare 
  • Big increases in defense spending
  • Massive scale back on educational loans, grants and scholarships

U.S. history is crystal clear on what happens when our nation puts those ideals into practice as the prevailing economic program...huge deficits, massive profits for a very few and economic devastation for most. It happened in the 1920s (Great Depression), the 1980s (deep recessions in the early and late 80s) and the 2000s (2008-now).

Throw in the RRR's conservatism on social issues such as....

  • Anti gay rights - to the the degree of banning same sex marriage
  • Anti-choice - very anti-abortion and anti-women's reproductive health
  • Very pro gun 
  • Anti-immigrant - against the "Dream Act"
If all that stuff is your bag, then you'll vote for RRR. To me, these set of priorities are not only proven failures, but they represent a minority of voters values and offer a clear contrast to Obama and Biden. So I guess that's good any way you look at it.

Second, why would Romney go for Ryan? Elections are about winning. You do what you think you need to in order to win. What is the political calculation Romney is making in which he thinks Ryan can help produce a win in November? 

On the surface, you would think it's pretty clear that by picking the very conservative Ryan, it's a move to solidify the base of the Republican party. But, is that what you do when you're trying to appeal to independent, moderates and a broad swath of society? Not really. I would have expected someone like Pawlenty, Christie or a Latino such as Rubio (even though Rubio is not a moderate). 

No, I have to agree with Catherine Crier on CNN today when she said that perhaps the Ryan pick was only part of a larger calculation by Republicans to win the election by: 1) Energizing their base to turn out, 2) reducing the number of voters coming to the polls through the many "voter fraud" efforts they've been running since the early 2000s, and 3) rely to some degree on voter apathy on the Democratic side after a mixed-result first term by Obama. 

Add those three things up and you might get a narrow Romney win...and it starts with energizing the core base. Hence Ryan. To me, that makes sense. Hey...Romney ain't winning the women or minority vote. His going to win white men and the uneducated of both genders. This approach gives him a slim chance. 

No comments: