Is Romney's VP Pick Paul Ryan Giving Up on Centrist Voters?

BlogHer Original Post

Romney has decided to take a sharp right turn with his campaign in choosing Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan for his running mate. After months of speculation that Republican VP nominee would be someone white, male and boring, it seems the pundits were mostly right: Ryan is white and male.

I have to admit, Ryan is not that boring. But not for Sarah Palin's rogue factor or Marco Rubio's ethnic appeal, but because of his drastic fiscal policy, which includes tax cuts for the extremely wealthy, slashing education, and gutting Medicare.

Feb 10, 2011 - Washington, District of Columbia, U.S. - House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. PAUL RYAN (R-WI) holds up the Congressional Budget Office's Budget and Economic Outlook Report during testimony from CBO Director Elmendorf on Thursday. (Credit Image: © Pete Marovich/ZUMAPRESS.com)

The Obama campaign has created a video highlighting Ryan's top-down ideology with many program cuts that would hurt middle class Americans.


While Ryan's youth and schoolboy demeanor may make a good first impression with a public that's largely unfamiliar with him, on Heartfeldt, Gloria Feldt characterizes Ryan as an extremist:

On its raw politics, picking Ryan is evil brilliance. On its utter disregard for America’s long term economic future and the American values of equal opportunity and justice, it’s just plain evil.

But Romney’s pick does sharpen the choice for voters. The question now is whether Obama will take the opportunity he has been given to define that choice clearly on his terms and to his advantage.

Need more substance about what Ryan stands for? A Think Progress headline reads Paul Ryan's Original Medicare Plan Ends Medicare, Period, which would essentially turn the federal program into a voucher system costing seniors $6000 more in healthcare costs each year.

The Ryan Plan that passed the House in 2011 is most famous, however, for its multiple step plan to phase out Medicare. Let us say that again so we are perfectly clear about what the Ryan Plan does to Medicare. It does not just “end Medicare as we know it” and it certainly does not “reform” Medicare.” The Ryan Plan simply ends Medicare, although it admittedly takes some time for it to achieve this goal.

Planned Parenthood released a statement pointing to Ryan's history as a clear opponent of women's healthcare:

  • his vote last year to end funding to Planned Parenthood, putting at risk the cancer screenings, birth control, STD testing and treatment, and other preventive care that nearly three million Americans rely on each year
  • his statement that he would end all safe and legal abortion with no exceptions for rape, incest, or the life of the woman
  • his budget plan to dismantle Medicaid, jeopardizing the basic health care millions of women rely on
  • his sponsorship of so-called “personhood” legislation, which would give full constitutional rights to fertilized eggs and could ban some forms of birth control and fertility treatments.

  • And after months of talking about the Latino vote, and Romney’s recent announcement of courting the women’s vote, why not Marco Rubio, Kelly Ayotte or Bobby Jindal? Or even Condoleeza Rice, as the Drudge Report recently reported? Adriana Maestas writes at Politic365 that Ryan's stances on healthcare, taxes and immigration will likely turn off Latino and Black voters:

    While the selection of Paul Ryan is most likely intended to solidify Romney’s conservative positioning especially considering that Romney created the template for “Obamacare” while serving as Governor of Massachusetts, this veep pick is probably not going to help Romney attract voters of color.

    By choosing Paul Ryan as their Vice Presidential candidate, it seems the Republicans have given up on courting the moderate, undecided voters in favor of appealing to their solid fan base. The one tactical advantage Ryan has going for him is that he’s from the battleground state of Wisconsin:

    The state’s recently concluded recall election — which Walker won — has boosted Republicans’ hopes of turning the state red at the presidential level. Republicans see common ground between the budget reform measures Walker instituted at the state level, and what Ryan is proposing at the federal level. In their view, Walker’s win means Ryan’s message has the potential to keep the GOP base fired up in the fall, in what is already a very polarized state.

    As we get closer to November, I can’t wait to ask, “How’s that working for you?”

    Are you an undecided voter? What do you think of the nomination of Paul Ryan to the GOP ticket?

    News and Politics Editor Grace Hwang Lynch blogs at HapaMama and A Year (Almost) Without Shopping.

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