April 1, 2012

Paul Ryan for VP

  9:55 pm

This past week, my colleagues Matthew Miller and Dave Gaultier respectively made compelling cases for Bobby Jindal and Marco Rubio as the next Vice Presidential nominee of the United States. Few subjects in politics interest me more than Veep discussion, so I decided to follow their lead and stump for my preferred running mate for Gov. Romney: the esteemed Congressman from the Badger State and visionary House Budget Committee Chairman, Paul Ryan.

I’ll begin by addressing the commonly cited downsides of Ryan-as-VP. First, some, such as Mr. Miller himself, have argued that putting Ryan on the bottom of the ticket would divert attention away from the top and essentially make the election a referendum on the Path to Prosperity (and if I have misrepresented Matthew’s position, I’ll stand corrected). I used to agree with this. However, in recent times, it has become obvious that Mitt’s healthcare – and, by extension, deficit – proposals largely mirror Ryan’s. Therefore, when considering the harsh scrutiny Republican presidential nominees receive during general election campaigns no matter what, I submit to you that having Ryan on the ticket wouldn’t make much of a difference. And in fact, if Mitt seeks to turn this election into a choice between two noticeably different visions for America’s future – a possibility I will examine later, his campaign may actually welcome the added attention, as it would reinforce the notion that they endeavor to offer the American public serious solutions to serious problems.

Along these lines, many have fretted the possibility that Romney’s running mate could eventually overshadow him, a la Sarah Palin and John McCain. However, when we consider the other “dream” running mates Republicans have most often cited for the Governor – Rubio, Jindal, Chris Christie, and Ryan – it becomes rather clear that the Chairman appears far less likely than the others to outshine Mitt in personality, charisma, or background. Ryan obviously brings extraordinary strengths to the table, but he doesn’t provide Christie’s edge-of-your-seat excitement, Rubio’s inspiring oratory, or Jindal’s jaw-dropping record of achievement and competence. This may provide more of a good match than a conflict with Romney’s seemingly risk-averse nature.

I’ve made it no secret that I harbor a fondness for the Cheney/Biden VP model – of a Washington insider (excuse the dirty word) with an intimate knowledge of political and legislative dynamics and the ability to spearhead the president’s agenda through Congress. More so than the other oft-mentioned top choices, Ryan fits this profile. While he has taken great pains to preserve his reluctant citizen-politician image, the fact remains that Ryan keeps an ear firmly to the ground when it comes to political sentiment. Consequently, he could serve as a key policy adviser to a President Romney and help him shape his agenda to best adapt to political realities. He could also utilize his sterling reputation and extensive connections in Washington to win over key support on crucial legislation. The president (thankfully) only has so much unilateral power, so all the executive experience in the world will not amount to enough for Romney if he can’t get Congress to work with him.

Above all, Romney should tap Ryan if he seeks to make this election the aforementioned choice between two competing visions for America’s future – between the government-driven corporatism Obama offers and the private sector-driven opportunity society that Romney professes to desire. More than any alternative, Paul Ryan would help center the focus of the fall campaign on the most important issue facing the country: our debt and deficit.

I suppose we can look at it this way: if Mitt cares most about political considerations, he should go with Sen. Rubio. If he cares most about executive competence and nuts-and-bolts governing, he should opt for Gov. Jindal. But if he cares most about addressing the biggest of the big issues of the day, he should select Chmn. Ryan.

Photo h/t to talkingpointsmemo.com



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That about sums it up. Good case to make.

Good distinctions about what we're looking for with Jindal, Ryan, and Rubio. You nailed those ones.

If the economy keeps improving, Mitt's going to need to change the subject a little bit. The debt may be the one he shifts to. If that's the case, Ryan's the pick. But going to the debt the major campaign theme is risky because it's so hard to explain to average folks. But if he wins on it, he will have such a mandate from the public to fix the problem, that our republic might be saved after all.


Hey, I wouldn't be unhappy about any of these guys. And, if turns out that this is Romney's short-list, Race will be proven once again prescient.

You didn't exactly misrepresent my position. I've said that if Romney wants to pick Ryan, he's going to have to make a calculated decision- nowish- to shift focus to entitlement reform and away from the economy. Like if the economy is 80% of what Romney talks about and entitlements/debt are like 10%, he'll have to change the ratio to something closer to 60-30. Because Democrats are going to be running against Ryan all summer and, if Romney's just whispering about entitlement reform, the Congressman will probably be too toxic by the time the Veep selection comes up. Romney will have to spend the next few months convincing the American public that reforming entitlements is not, in fact, throwing grandmother over the cliff.

I just can't see him doing that. It's a high-risk proposition and, if he doesn't end up selecting Ryan- if he ends up going with someone less notably connected to the debt issue- it'll probably end up being a net negative. If Romney wants Ryan, he's going to have to decide long before he actually picks him.


I completely agree Anthony. Ryan is the best fit for Romney, not just for the election but for actually governing. Ryan can help steer the Romney agenda through Congress, because he knows how the legislative sausage making is done.

Additionally I think that he really does help with the ticket. He can bring upper-class suburban whites back into the Republican Party while not losing any of the groups we already have. He can help more in the key battleground Midwestern states than the other folks being mentioned. In short, Ryan's positives far outweigh the negatives.

Romney/Ryan is the winning ticket.


Sorry for the thread jack, but in a WA state county caucus to pick delegates to go to the state caucus yesterday, the Ron Paul camps and Santorum camps came together for some BS and most likely delegate fraud, filling out multiple ballots. 30% increase in ballots turned in then there were actually delegates in attendance.

This is in Clark County, where Romney dominated by about 20%.

The caucus system is totally corrupt and easily manipulated.

Here is one of the videos.


Romney/Ryan - dead cat bounce.


Ryan's district in Wisconsin is pretty solidly Democratic at the presidential level. If he can bring home the bacon there, we could conceivably win Wisconsin in the Fall. We'll have to see how Scott Walker's recall goes first. If I were on Mitt's team, I'd send a message on over to Scott, or have a meeting with him, and explain not to screw up this election with any more big ideological bills until election day. We could possibly poach WI with Ryan. We'll know if it's possible after the recall election.


Here's the thing about Ryan: he's very much like Jack Kemp inasmuch as he has the right message but may in fact be the wrong messenger. Kemp and Ryan have completely different temperaments, but both are essentially playing the same role in their respective periods, which is the role of the young, eager champion of economic freedom that never seems to make it to the lead role. There's a reason why Reagan was able to sell policies to the general public that Kemp could not. Reagan had the ability to connect at a personal level with each and every American watching and say, almost via telekinesis, "I'm one of you. I'm not here to screw you over. Trust me, this stuff will work." Most politicians don't have that gift. I don't think Ryan does either. If we were putting Ryan on the ticket with someone who naturally feels people's pain, then I'd say go for it. But I am skeptical that we can put Ryan on the ticket with Romney.


Sorry disagree i wouldn't even submit ryan's name and postman's for that matter a final vetting in the veep stakes.


that would be postman's name...good post 7


Ryan made more sense as President than as Vice-President. He probably needs an extended campaign and an enormous platform to sell his ideas to the public.



Ryan's good at telling us why we should believe in what we already believe in.

But is he good at telling others why they should believe in what we do? I'm not sure. I think in that regard, Rubio is easily the best pick. But I have concerns about him that we all have. I think I'm still leaning Jindal, with Rubio and Ryan close behind, in that order.


Political considerations = winning?

Then yes, Mitt will pick Rubio.

At this point, Mitt needs a solid Win! Not a respectable loss.


Ryan would be an excellent pick, and I think it's VERY likely he would carry WI with him. If Walker survives the recall (very likely at this point) Wisconsin becomes a very winnable swing state for Romney.

My only fear with Ryan is you have to be VERY careful how you approach mediCare. Even though it's going broke and changes have to be made if you want to save it, people don't like hearing the truth and it's a very easy issue to demagogue.


7, Put another way in order to sell economic conservatism we need to find a VP that doesn't look like he'd fit into this picture:




What are Paul Ryan's ideas? He talks like the debt and out of control spending are the only things on his mind, yet his proposed budget cuts only $94 billion in the first year, which is the only year that matters as Paul Ryan proves himself by eliminating the defense sequestration. His budget will cut spending to 19.8% of GDP in 2022. How is that a serious proposal when Romney wants to cut spending to 20% of GDP in half the time.

Paul Ryan voted for No Child Left Behind, for Sarbanes-Oxley, for Medicare Part D, for raising the debt ceiling multiple times, etc. Before Paul Ryan can be anointed as our visionary, he needs to admit that those votes were mistakes. If he doesn't believe those were mistakes, then he needs to defense those programs like how Romney has defended RomneyCare. Either make an argument for those programs or admit they were mistakes. People want to bash Santorum for being a team player but at least Santorum has admitted that those votes were mistakes.


Mass Con,

That's a reasonable point. I'd say Ryan is very good at convincing non-partisan hacks that he's sincere, acting in good faith, trying to solve problems, etc. In a really long campaign, where he was the chief draw (i.e, running for the Senate or Governor or President) that would probably be enough to get him elected. People in the center would vote for him because they trust him to act honestly and fairly. But that doesn't say much about whether he's particularly good at convincing them his ideas are right. In a shortened campaign, where he's not the main draw, but where he is the chief villain, the latter skill is likely much more handy than the former. He's not going to have time to build up the "unimpeachable public servant" image while Democrats are demagoguing the hell out of him.

Kentucky Wildcats 2012

Mitt has gotten better on the stump and the crowds are definitely responding. So I don't think he needs someone to sell his message or to inspire voters.


would Ryan carry WI? probably

would Ryan carry IA, MI, OH, PA? not likely

would WI's 10 electoral votes change much? not really

would his selection still matter in late oct? not like other selections (5.-dead cat bounce)

would he hurt the ticket? probably not, but why risk it w/ senior citizens

how much would he help the ticket? not much

if Romney/Ryan win WI, IA, NH, VA, NC, FL do they get to 270? no they lose a squeaker w/ 268 ev's

bottom line: just like in a close 2004 election. He who wins OH, wins the Presidency

Jack Bauer's Dad (finally on board with Mitt)

#10: MEM, weird you would say that as I was just thinking it. Ryan was my first choice as Prez and I strongly wanted him to run, but I'm not sure he should be Romney's veep. Having read all three posts, I'm feeling Rubio (so far)

Kentucky Wildcats 2012

Optics also matter and Ryan looks like he could be one of Romney's sons. Media will say Romney is "reaching" with such a pick.

What exactly has Rubio done? What is his signature achievement? I'm not saying he's a lightweight, but he's not a known figure.



We've been over this. I confess you have a reasonable case. Except. The concrete budgets which are bolder than Ryan's can scarcely get half the GOP caucus to sign on (the RSC budget got like 130 votes). And "bolder" agendas of the Presidential candidates are just aspirational, with little meat on the bones. Romney wants to cut spending to 20% of the GDP in his first-term? Yet he hasn't proposed any substantial discretionary spending cuts. His big deficit cutting ideas are pretty much the same as Ryan's- and they're long-term. So forgive me for not giving Romney more credit for saying he's "going to go through the budget line-by-line and determine which functions are duplicative, which can be combined" and yadda yadda yadda. It's also true, of course, that Romney's not bound to CBO's revenue assumptions. Romney can propose to get spending to 20% of the GDP in his first-term. And if his policies make the GDP grow beyond CBO projections, well, the same level of revenue is a smaller percentage of the GDP. There, promise fulfilled. There are games Presidential candidates can play which budget committee chairs can't. But you're right, as I've conceded before: there are actual budget proposals out there which cut more. Wake me up when one of them can even command 90% of the Republican conference.



Because of census moving electoral votes to south, carrying WI would be very nice, if you carry it, then there could be many scenarios where you don't need OH/PA/MI.

Give Iowa, Nevada and Ohio to Dems, Romney still wins with Wisconsin



#4 jaaron

The Paul and Santorum people are sure playing dirty here in WA. We have our county convention over in Spokane on the 14th, and we're hoping to be ready for any of those shenanigans. It's happening all over the state, though. I wouldn't be shocked if Paul and Santorum got more delegates than Romney here in WA based solely on the crap they're pulling in the county conventions.


Or Ohio and Virginia to Dems (I think though Ryan would help with white collar vote so unlikely because scenario because of sub urbs cost Republicans VA and NC last time), with Wisconsin Romney wins.



I personally love Ryan but he looks like a Romney mini-me.

My top pick is Jindal and Romney/Jindal has been ticket since '08.



CBO didn't calculate any revenue projections on Ryan's budget. Ryan provided the CBO with all the numbers.

"The amounts of revenues and spending to be used in these calculations for 2012 through 2022 were provided by Chairman Ryan and his staff. The amounts for 2023 through 2050 were calculated by CBO on the basis of growth rates, percentages of gross domestic product (GDP), or other formulas specified by Chairman Ryan and his staff."




What's the purpose of coming here to attack Paul Ryan all the time? Are you proposing someone else for VP? Please, feel free to make his/her case.



I'm trying to understand why there is so much love for politicians who haven't adhered to Republican principles. It's not just Paul Ryan. There's Rick Santorum, Rob Portman, Bobby Jindal, etc. Someone made a point in another thread that Romney needs to pick a Tea Party aligned Republican to fire up the base and I can't agree more. Romney doesn't need to worry about Independents because he appeals to moderates. He also doesn't need these establishment type Republicans (ie, those who played the team sport like Santorum said) not only because they haven't adhered to Republican principles but also because of their past support for the wars that almost the entire country is getting leery of.

I think executive experience is overrated as long as you understand the fundamental principles of liberty and free markets. I think some of the recent Tea Party elected Senators (Pat Toomey, Rand Paul, etc.) would be excellent choices.


How much of a loss would it be to no longer have Ryan in the House? Can a VP also be a Cabinet member (OMB)? The Cabinet isn't a Constitutional creation, so why not? How many Southern states will not flip to Romney without a Southern VP? Would the alernative of DeMint or McDonnel flip more states? VOILA LES VARIABLES...


22. teemu

So you are considering Ryan because if he carries his home state, and if he doesnt hurt with seniors in Florida and if Mitt can counter the large black populations in VA & NC without a southerner on the ticket where Mitt has proven to be weak in the primaries. And still win NH & flip CO which voted for Obama by 8.6%. And after all that the GOP win by 4 EV's (if NH goes Dem btw the GOP lose in your map). You are comforitable with that gameplan? I dont think anyone who wants to win is. The GOP is going to need a knock out punch and Ryan isn't it. Cant wait for the articles on the women VP candidates because they are the majority of voters & Mitt can't win with a 10% deficit in that catergory.



Whoops, didn't realize it was you that responded to me. I'm not really attacking him as I am pointing out the facts. If he can't be defended then that's his problem. Look, we know Santorum voted for No Child Left Behind, but he has gone on record of saying it was a misatke. I can kind of accept that but Paul Ryan hasn't talked about any of his past votes. It would make a huge difference to know whether Ryan still to this day defends No Child Left Behind and Medicare Part D or whether he admits they were mistakes. People want Romney to admit RomneyCare was a mistake but at least he's defended it. I want to know where Paul Ryan stands on past issues to know if he's just being a typical politician or whether he finally supports Republican principles.


I'm not attacking Ryan, but I doubt he can deliver Wisconsin. Given any decent sized population, a Congressman can't deliver a state. But, while Ryan offers a lot, and I would be happy with it, I'd prefer Jeb.....or Portman.....or McDonnell. I've backed off from Christie for it, although he would offer as much as Ryan.

The three I named offer states that are larger than Wisconsin, and more realistic. Too bad Marco isn't available, but Jeb will do.


32. Dave

Interesting, so you think Christie could carry NJ? I have heard some speculate that he may even flip PA. Christie really is an electoral college wild card; so hard to predict. But I remember in 2004, Kerry needed OH and blue collar voters so he picked Edwards because of his working class roots. Not only did he not deliver OH, he didn't even deliver his home state. But then again, Christie is a larger than life figure (no pun intended), would campaign hard & the MSM would eat it up.

Ozzy(Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan 2012)

"Political considerations = winning?

Then yes, Mitt will pick Rubio.

At this point, Mitt needs a solid Win! Not a respectable loss."

Explain to me how Rubio guarantees a win for Mitt and Ryan doesn't. Plus, the goal here isn't just winning, it's governing. And with governing, it means fixing the economy, creating jobs, balancing the budget, etc. Ryan delivers that moreso than Rubio.



I didn't say in #32 that Christie can deliver anything. Portman can get us Ohio....McDonnell can guarantee Virginia.....Jeb, and Marco, if he was available, nails down Florida.

But, it's very possible that Christie could get us New Jersey, and he would be very valuable in Pennsylvania, which is currently close in polls. There are a lot of Philadelphia suburbs in New Jersey, and Christie is a guy who would campaign great across the border.

I think this likelihood is at least as great as Ryan delivering Wisconsin.


I highly doubt Romney's going to pick anyone based on the idea that they're going to deliver a particular state. In my opinion, you should measure everyone else against Chris Christie. Romney's going to favor potential VP's who have executive experience, who are strong debaters, who are smart, who have supported him. Christie fits the bill, if it's going to be someone else (which it could easily be) there's got to be a good reason.


Though historically speaking, I'm not sure to what extent Florida needs nailing down.

Last time when Democrat candidate did better in Florida relative to the Republican candidate, than in national popular vote total, was 1976, when Jimmy Carter from a neighboring state swept the South.

In 2000, which was the year Democrats came closest to performing as well in Florida as in national polls, they had a ticket that fit Florida better than any other swing state, a southerner presidential nominee, Jewish vice presidential nominee, they still did 0.52 points worse than they did in national popular vote, relative to the Republican ticket.

Obama's 2.81 point Florida victory was pretty bad compared to the 7.27 point national popular vote victory, Democrat ticket did 4.46 points worse in Florida than nationwide.

My prediction: If Romney loses the national popular vote by 1% or less, or wins it, he wins Florida. If Romney loses the national popular vote by more than 1%, he will likely lose so many other swing states, that Florida wouldn't be enough to save him anyway.


37. Dave

Sorry about that, the three states you said were FL, VA, OH, I misread. You seem to be like me & consider the electoral college right along side competency, which is definitly the way to go imo. The saying 'a bird in the hand' comes to mind with these all important states. I'm sure you guys have heard this before but Mitt is likely to win FL without Rubio, and Obama could win early if he gets OH & VA. Luckily there are many more months (well over four to be exact) for the base to sort this out and get over some of their crushes & figure out how to win. Just like the talk from 2011 of Cain or Bachmann as VP's has died down, so will the hype & hope of many of the current top ten.


It's going to be Christie.


Would Ryan accept?


His hair reminds me to Reagans - omen?

Vladimir Putin

By his rhetoric, Romney wants and probably now has to select a governor or someone with executive experience. He has built his whole campaign around that theme. One may also argue some business background would be preferable. That narrows the field considerably.

I would not be surprised if Romney double-downed on business experience and chose someone like Meg Whitman, who he clearly admires.


Ho hum. Why would Mitt go for someone with only limited executive experience after making that his main selling point all primary? In either Ryan or Rubio, his Veep pick would be tossed back in his face with the question, "I thought you were all about executive experience?"


I'll bet it's going to be Paul Ryan.


I hope the far EXTREME STUBBORN RIGHT, Santorum (ah..a complete fake!), Limbaugh, Palin, Fox News may have screwed the Republicans with their Women's Issues. Romney tried to stay clear as possible as long as he could. The smart man governed MA...he knows what he needs to do..unlike these dimwits who THINK they are conservative and Christian. When all they do is judge, act holier-than-thou, and drive people away. If they could only read the Bible and see how they should really act toward others. Different beliefs don't drive people away...trying to cram them down others throats does!



You make a strong case. I'm a big fan of Ryan's.

But there is one major objection I didn't see you address.

What would a Romney/Ryan loss do to Ryan's career? Does Wisconsin law allow him to run for Congress too? I think this varies by state (Delaware let Biden run for Senate, but I think some states don't allow it).

This would be an awfully big risk if we had to push his House seat into the pot.



"Why would Mitt go for someone with only limited executive experience after making that his main selling point all primary? In either Ryan or Rubio, his Veep pick would be tossed back in his face with the question, “I thought you were all about executive experience?”

Because Romney/Ryan would be like a mullet. Business in the front, party in the back.

Ozzy(Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan 2012)


Yes, Wisconsin law does allow Ryan to run for VP and his congress seat at the same time.


It's not going to be Christie


Its going to be Christie.

Socons this year have really flushed their power down the toilet. Romney is winning without you. What makes you think he thinks he needs a socon VP to win swing states?

Romney respects Christie. He respects the power Christie has when he shouts down hecklers. He respects Christie's ability to win over the common man. And he's a lightning rod that will help deflect negative press away from Mitt.


Condi Rice for the win for the following reasons:

1. Romney's perceived strenght is domestic policy and the economy. He lacks foreign policy experience. The president is vulnerable on foreign policy. Adding someone with foreign policy cred is a must.

2. Romney trails badly among women, but is competitive with men. One way to address this is to add a female VP but as John McCain found out its not enough to pick a popular conservative woman; she has to appear ready for the job with sufficient experience and gravitas. Condi has it.

3. Romney needs to make amends with the strongly conservative wing of the party. He isn't going to pick a social conservative running mate (I think it would look schizo to do so and would be seen as pandering) but it seems beyond doubt that Romney is strongly conservative on foreign policy matters anyway so adding a popular foreign policy conservative like Rice would generate enthusiasm without alienating moderates, while maintaining the consistency of the message.

4. The move would generate excitement among other moderates who would be drawn to the historic possibility of the first woman VP.

5. She would destroy Biden in a debate.

6. Condi is very likeable, not just by conservatives (as Palin and Bachman are, for example) but among a larger audience. Whereas Palin and Bachman are portrayed as "dumb," no one could question Condi's intelligence. Also, I realize it is controversial to say, but it is true that Condi would be shielded from some measure of attacks because the MSM in leery of criticizing African Americans. (Of course the Al Sharptons on the left would attack non-stop, but that actually could backfire on the democrats).

7. To some extent, it would frustrate democrat efforts to make race an issue, or to cast this election as black v white.

8. Romney needs to broaden his national appeal - he runs well in the northeast and rocky mountains, adding a southerner like Rice will help in MO and GA, both of which are leaning Republican but not safe, and VA/NC, both of which are tossups. Helps in areas where national defense is seen as a key issue. May help in ethnically diverse areas (although we are going to get killed with minorities again).

9. Superficially (I list this last because it only matters to a small number of the stupidest voters, to whom "image" matters) we would have the most attractive ticket probably in the history of the country, to counter Obama's cultish coolness.

That said, I predict that (based on his past performance) Romney will pick a "safe" choice like Ryan or Christie. Ryan might help a little with the base, and we could pick up Wisconsin (although we are WAY behind there now). Christie won't help much; he doesn't add any states and frankly the social conservatives won't like him any better than Romney. He would just be doubling up on his strengths, and even his most ardent admirers would probably be thinking the ticket should be swapped with Christie in the first slot. I think it would be dumb for Christie to take it anyway. He has too much in his future to be saddled to Romney. Rubio would be better, he would energize the base but I think the larger audience would think he's not ready. The Mormon baptism, stupid to say, may also deter Mitt from picking him.


Okay, I have found a new way of looking at this. Think of who is going to be the finalist from each group/need & go from there. Now again, I think there are going be three finalists in August that will be widely known to the media & public. They will all have been vetted & be the top choice in their respective field.

First catergory: the 'make a splash pick'.

The two finalists in this catergory are Rubio & Christie.

I guess I am starting to fully support the 'Mitt will go with competency' meme & it just seems Christie would survive a thorough vet more than Rubio would.

Second catergory: the 'safe & competent pick'.

With my electoral college knowledge I just don't even see this catergory as being a competition. There is absolutly no reason to pick Pawlenty or Daniels over Mitt's close & reliable friend Senator Portman from one of the most important swing states in the country.

Third catergory: the 'make the base happy pick'.

I guess Demint & Huckabee fit into here well, but I just dont see them as likely as Mcdonnell. So, my guess is a final three short short list in mid-August of: Christie, Portman, & Mcdonnell.

All competent, all bring something electorally, all will work hard & be ready on day one. Maybe we should be looking at who will be the finalist from a specific catergory & not compare apples to oranges until the list is uber-short. And to complete the thought, after you have your final three by catergory, then you just need to think how Mitt will act & not necessarily who he will pick.

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