The big news this weekend was the Romney campaign’s announcement that he has chosen Paul Ryan as his Vice Presidential running mate for the 2012 elections. I can say that I was pleasantly surprised by Romney’s pick. I was expecting Romney to pick a very boring and uncontroversial guy as his running mate. Instead, he has doubled down and picked a running mate that is just as strong on the Republican economic plan as Romney himself.
Conservatives across the board have been jumping for joy all weekend long. They see the Ryan pick as a bold move from Romney that means he is serious about the big issues facing the nation today, which is the economy and entitlements. The bold pick is sure to turn up the turnout in the Republican base in November, which is vital if Republicans expect to win the White House.
At the same time, Democrats have been salivating at the Paul Ryan announcement. Ryan is somewhat of a celebrity among Democrats as a man willing to gut and cut medicare to its bones. Democrats were already working on pegging Mitt Romney to the Ryan plan, which they vehemently oppose. The Ryan VP pick makes that easy and has given Democrats plenty of ammo to lob at the Romney/Ryan campaign.
Even though Republicans have been giddy all weekend long, now that the weekend is over there are already mumblings of concern with the Ryan pick. The concern comes down to risk and reward. This pick was a huge risk for Mitt Romney. By doubling down on the economy he has shifted the argument away from a referendum against Obama to an argument about two different choices. The choice argument is risky because even though some may not like what Obama has done for the country over the past four years, they may not like or want to risk the choice that Romney/Ryan has planned for the country. The Romney/Ryan campaign will have to sell the American people on their vision, whereas before they only had to point towards Obama as a failure. Of course with greater risk comes greater reward. If the Romney/Ryan campaign does sell their vision to America, there is a distinct possibility that we could have 16 years of Republicans in the White House with Ryan following in Romney’s footsteps after 8 years.
So what do I think? I was pleased with the Paul Ryan pick because it does show that Mitt Romney will not shy away from the big and important issues that have to be addressed. In my opinion until we address the tax code and entitlements, our economy will be held in a stagnant growth standstill. Paul Ryan’s willingness to tackle these big issues with bold plans is a much needed first step in the right direction. With that said, there is without a doubt a lot of risk in this choice, which is why I did not expect it. Paul Ryan is hated just as much among Democrats as Nancy Pelosi is among Republicans. That deep seated hatred may backfire on the Romney campaign and secure Obama in the White House for another 4 years.
The election this November is now about a choice between two competing visions for America. Which will you choose?