Paul Ryan as Running Mate, Mistake or Deceptively Clever?

Paul RyanIt’s been a week since Mitt Romney announced Paul Ryan as his running mate, and in this past week we’ve seen Ryan running away from the two big things that he is known for. If it wasn’t for the “Ryan budget” or his love-affair with Ayn Rand, Paul Ryan would just be another congressman. And if that was the case, it’s probably safe to say he would not have been on Romney’s VP short-list. So why is Paul Ryan running away from the very things that got him on that list to begin with? Did Mitt Romney make a mistake or is this a deceptively clever plan to win the White House?

It seems unlikely to me that a presidential candidate in 2012 would make such a colossal mistake. That leads me to assume Paul Ryan was chosen because the Romney campaign believes having Ryan on the ticket will solidify the conservative base and bring them out to the polls in November while at the same time winning over swing voters. I think they are taking a well calculated risk that having Ryan rollback some of his previous stances on things like his budget and Medicare, and his belief system build on the admiration of Ayn Rand and her novel Atlas Shrugged, will not alienate him from the conservative base.

It appears the Romney campaign believes it can both position Ryan as a wholesome, middle America, average guy who can appeal to the few remaining undecided voters while at the same time the conservative base will see him as a tough, no-nonsense fiscal conservative who is willing to go after the freeloaders and the welfare state. The Romney campaign is counting on the conservative base to already have a well formulated opinion of Paul Ryan that will remain unchanged while they market Ryan as a reasonable and average guy who simply disagrees with President Barack Obama.

If this is a plan of deception by the Romney campaign, it will take another 79 days to find out if it is also clever. / photo by Speaker John Boehner

Election 2012Politics

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