There were speculations recently as to whom Mitt Romney will eventually pick to be his running mate for the 2012 presidential race. Well, the guess is over. On Saturday morning, August 11th 2012, the presumptive GOP nominee officially announced his VP choice, Paul Ryan, the 42-year-old congressman from Wisconsin. The youthful congressman inevitably sparks interests among many, who is Paul Ryan anyway?
For those active in the political circle, Ryan is by no means a new face. Despite his youthful look, Ryan is a seven-term congressman, who started his political career on the hill at the age of 28. By the way, he also has an impressive resume. Ryan currently chairs the House Budget committee and he is most known for putting forth an alternative GOP “deficit-reducing” budget proposal against that of President Barack Obama’s.
It is fair to say, that Paul Ryan is a fiscal conservative. But, why Ryan? What could Mitt Romney gain from this particular VP choice over against other equally or arguably more qualified candidates?
Certainly, there were several possible candidates in the GOP camp that had significant executive experiences. For example, Tim Pawlenty, the former governor of Minnesota and one of Romney’s former presidential contenders, who happened to be an evangelical; or New Jersey Governor Chris Christie; or the Governor Bob McDonnell from one of the battle-ground states, Virginia; or even the 41-year-old popular first Indian-American Governor in U.S. history, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.
If the executive experience isn’t something Romney is looking for in his VP, he might as well consider a couple of law makers from key battle-ground states, Mark Rubio of Florida, or Rob Portman of Ohio. Mark Rubio especially, being a senator from Florida, his youthfulness and his Cuban origin could potentially help Romney garner young voters, and some Latino voters who are a crucial voting bloc in this election.
Out of these highly qualified candidates, why did Romney pick the relatively lesser-known Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan as the running mate? Like any good businessmen, the former business executive of Bain capital definitely did his calculations. The 2012 presidential election is less about the war, the crime problem, the immigration issues, or U.S. foreign policy, so on and so forth. These issues are by no means unimportant. They are. However, the 2012 presidential race is more about something that is closer to home, namely the economy and employment. This is what Americans care about the most for this presidential race.
Perhaps, the pick of Ryan makes sense. By having Paul Ryan as the running mate, Romney is trying to make a point, that: Obama’s economic policies of the past 4 years are a failure that resulted in the situation we are in today, and Romney has a radically different solution to the economic problem. Romney’s VP pick signals to American voters that his economic policy will be radically different from Obama’s. Romney’s message is simple: “Vote for me, and I will bring us out of this economic woe we are facing today.” Romney is trying convey a message, that his campaign is about the American economy, the job market, and putting food on the table for all American families.
I guess, perhaps Paul Ryan is not a bad choice after all.
Romney’s choice of VP is a calculated decision. Let’s also keep in mind that, like any businessmen, running a business and making investments for future profits involve risks that one cannot foresee. So is Romney’s choice for his VP. (Remember John McCain’s disastrous choice of Sarah Palin as his VP 4 years ago?) It is difficult to say at this point, how Romney’s VP choice would eventually impact his campaign for the White House. Could Romney be better off with Pawlenty who may attract evangelical voters whom Romney happens to alienate due to the fact that he’s a Mormon;? Or Mark Rubio and Portman who could help Romney win some crucial Latino votes and battle-ground-state votes?
Unfortunately, there is not a certain answer to these hypothetical questions. But what can be certain is that, instead of choosing a VP with strategic calculations based on demographic and religious concerns that would help Romney win certain voter blocs, Romney has chosen to pick Ryan to send a strong and yet somewhat generic message to all Americans across the United States, “This race is about the economy, it is about the job market, it’s about whether you will be able to put food on the table. So if you do not want another 4 years of failed Obama economic policies, vote for me!”
Let’s wait and see, very soon in due time, how Romney’s VP decision will pay off in three months.