The Paul Ryan game change
As probably many have already seen Gov. Mitt Romney will select Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) as his nominee for vice president, what many are viewing as a politically risky move for Romney, but not risky in the sense of McCain’s pick of former Gov. Sarah Palin. The pick of Paul Ryan forces the Romney campaign into an area it might not have wanted to go, especially with regards to the Ryan Budget. It will create conflicts with several groups of voters, most specifically senior citizens, who will most likely take issue with Ryan’s proposal to overhaul Medicare and opt for more private insurance options. But it could also help motivate a conservative base who has, at times, questioned whether Romney was for them or against them.
That factor of support for Romney had been showing up in several polls, including a recent CNN/ORC poll, where, when asked about their opinion of the candidate, Obama has been leading Romney in the Favorable category, often by double digits. In that poll, Ryan polled third among the pack, behind Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). Looking at some voter groups and their regard for Ryan, he polls about middle of the pack among Latino voters, but not a definitive drag on the party that a strong anti-illegal immigrant candidate might have. However, it’s not the boost that someone like a Sen. Marco Rubio might give to a campaign that is polling poorly among Latinos, the fastest growing segment of the nation’s electorate.
Obama has been lagging among seniors, as seen in the poll, carrying only 39% of voters 65+ to Romney’s 58%. However, that number could change with the pick of Ryan as seniors might have concern on Ryan’s views on Medicare and how he would propose reforming it. Interestingly, Ryan’s budget plan which includes the Medicare reform plan and has been embraced by strong conservatives and tea party supporters, could prove to be a challenge to the campaign when comparing to Obamacare. As seen in the the Politico comparison, while there are differences, there are also similarities between the two plans, giving the Obama campaign plenty of material to work with in attacking the Republican candidates.
But having Paul Ryan on the ticket will force the discussion on many issues that have been lingering with both campaigns about how to address some of the challenges Washington has been facing up to this point. With Congress in continual deadlock, a series of debates on the issues contained within the Ryan Budget plan will create a discussion that has been long needed and possibly give voters a clearer perspective on how either party would handle breaking the gridlock that has long permeated our government.
Ryan looks like the pick and Romney has a certain comfort with his pick, especially from a personal perspective. It could prove a dynamic for the campaign to help give Romney much needed character and voter connection. Now the VP debate will have substance so lacking in the 2008 presidential campaign.