When Pros are Cons and Cons are Pros: GOP VP Pick Paul Ryan

Mitt Romney was so overcome with emotion while introducing Paul Ryan as his running mate to challenge President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in November, that he bellowed, “the next President of the United States!”  Once the snark cleared, this foot-in-your-mouth slip revealed what conservatives are calling a “bold move.”  Why?  This choice is seen as a play to fire up the conservative base of the Republican party.

But the congressman from Janesville, Wisconsin may alienate Latino or independent voters who believe that Ryan’s vision laid out in his House of Representatives budget plan is too extreme.  It sets out to balance the budget and bring our more than $15 trillion dollar national debt under control.  But at what cost?  He proposes radical changes to popular programs such as partially privatizing social security or deep cuts to education funding.


Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney Courtesy: Getty Images

Simply put, Romney’s VP pick frames the election for voters not just as a referendum on the President’s record on the economy and job creation but as a choice on the size and role of the federal government.  Do you think it should have a strong hand in helping us care for our health and educate our kids?  Or does that hand control, even strangle our decisions and progress?

We decided to look at Ryan’s record organized around points, depending on your view, that can equally be argued as “pros” or “cons.”

  • Conservative Ideologue: Feared by some establishment Republicans, Ryan is revered by hardcore fiscal conservatives for his budget proposal I just described which defines the government’s ability to spend and its reach.  Any praise has been met by fierce criticism of the Wisconsin Congressman’s economic and social beliefs, energizing the liberal base.  Since the Saturday announcement, @BarackObama’s Twitter feed has almost exclusively focused on Romney’s running mate, for example: “FACT: Paul Ryan would ban all abortions, even in cases of rape or incest.”
  • Geography: Paul Ryan is from the midwestern state of Wisconsin, where last year its Republican governor survived a recall election backed by public employee unions that accused him of balancing the state budget on their backs by requiring greater pension and health insurance contributions.  Although ahead in the polls, President Obama is most vulnerable in the “heartland,” including Wisconsin, Michigan, and perhaps Minnesota, according to ABC News.  If he is able to help Romney “hold” the Midwest, how does Ryan play in Florida where 29 coveted electoral votes are at stake, which is also home to a powerful bloc of senior voters protective of their social security?
  • Religion: The Wisconsin Congressman is Catholic, which is an important “swing vote.”  The Romney campaign may be betting that the President’s health care law recently upheld by the Supreme Court (which would require religious hospitals and universities to offer contraception) will galvanize Catholics who feel their religious freedoms are being trampled by the government.  But these Christians, who are “reliable” voters, are themselves a diverse bunch.  Will they cast ballots based more on hot-button cultural issues like reproductive rights, or be galvanized by principles of social equality and poverty?
  • Age: At 42 years of age, Ryan is the same age as Mitt Romney’s oldest son, injecting a “youthfulness” to the Republican ticket and seen by some political watchers as a play for the 18-29 year old set, considered “Obama territory.”  As I write in Election 2012: Forever Young, or Not, an opening exists among young people who are disillusioned with the President because of the high unemployment rate.

This post appears in Latina Magazine where I am a weekly politics columnist as Election 2012: What You Need to Know About GOP VP Pick Paul Ryan.

To read more of Viviana’s Election 2012 columns in Latina, click here.

How does the GOP VP pick influence your vote in November?



  1. says

    KEEPING IT THOUGHTFULLY HONEST: The reference of Mr. Ryan as “intellectual? Please do not insult our intelligence! Remember last month on National Sunday TV he made your party’s position perfectly clear for the next election! Let’s see! It’s back to the future with more G.W Bush depression economic Policy! Based on Senator Sander’s assessment, Ryan proposed republican budget will destroy the safety net for middle class Americans by slashing social security and making Medicare into an “insufficient” long term voucher program! He cuts federal critical spending for our youth college Pell grants to attend college (which he used), less food stamps for the increasing poor as well as for unemployed or underemployed Americans to create increase hunger like the third world. Meanwhile, he wants to continue his defense spending record of waste even though Wars are ending, we continue foreign nation building! His positions that violated a Woman reproductive right and anti Lilly Ledbetter equal pay right are clear! And, of course, his big favorite enchilada is for his 1% wealthiest of the “have it all’s” to continue to lower caps on individual and corporate tax rates to benefit disproportionately for the Billionaires and Millionaires with more tax cuts, as well as to continue voting for the tax breaks for outsourcing of American jobs to China and India! THE INCONVENIENT TRUTH: Mr. “intellectual” Ryan reminds me of a high school kid that always raised his hand first and had an answer, unfortunately he answers were mostly a wrong!

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