Mitt Romney is set to announce Paul Ryan as his choice for Vice President. While I certainly don’t think this is a big surprise, given that Romney was going to find someone that is well-known and liked amongst the GOP base, avoiding a poor choice like John McCain made in 2008, I don’t think it does anything to help him. The idea of Romney is setting the election up to be specifically about the economy and what better way than picking the Budget Committee Chairman, who has a budget in place to fundamentally change the economic future of this country. However, it’s a very controversial pick and not one that helps Romney with anything.
The first problem with Paul Ryan is probably his only strength: the Paul Ryan Budget. This is a budget that fundamentally ends Social Security as we know it by privatizing it and investing it in stocks and bonds and turns Medicare into a voucher program, leaving seniors to pay more out-of-pocket for what their vouchers won’t cover. The program will not place caps on health care to help ensure costs are kept low for seniors. He’s also convert Medicaid into a state block grant program that drops millions of people from coverage. The budget has been called the “single largest transfer of wealth from middle- and low-income earners to millionaires and billionaires in our country’s history.” On a more personal level for me, it would eliminate Pell Grants for more than 1 million Americans. Obviously, given that Mitt Romney already has the knack of being labeled an elitist, picking a VP that wants to pass a budget that gives him tax breaks while raising taxes on middle and low-class Americans is not going to make him be seen in a different light.
The second problem with Paul Ryan is that he’s a Congressman. We’re talking about the Congress that has been labeled as one of the most useless classes in Congressional history. They’ve done nothing but try and block any and every thing that President Obama has tried to do since he took office. The citizens aren’t dumb to this and realize that the Congress has failed to act and is fed up with them. While President Obama’s approval rating has slowly began to climb with economic improvements, the only steady factor that remains in the basement is the Congressional approval rating. Paul Ryan will be seen as another Washington insider.
Another reason that Paul Ryan is a poor pick is because he has zero real life experience. He was elected to Congress at 27, nearly right out of college. He has no experience with foreign policy. He has no experience with the private sector. He wanted to go into economics out of school and gained a job as a Congressional staffer before running for Congress. He has sat on the Ways and Means Committee and the House Budget Committee. He may be able to help with the budget, with spending decisions, with health care, but anything else he does nothing for Romney.
Mitt Romney wanted a guy that would energize the GOP base, help win over the far right that he’s out of touch with, and try and gain some support by the TEA Party arm of the GOP. Paul Ryan achieves all of these things. However, Romney needed a VP that would help in the election and would help win over independents and swing states and Paul Ryan just doesn’t do that. Given the other options, a man like Bob McDonnell would have been a much better choice by Romney. The choice was made by a man that really had no hopes of winning the presidential election in a few months and he made a pick that did zero to help improve those chances. The only thing that it does is create a clear and distinct divide for the American people to choose between. Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney are in favor of tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans (something Ryan got booed at by his own constituents at a town hall meeting seen here). They’re in favor of fundamentally changing Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Pell Grants, and so many other social programs that millions of Americans benefit from. They want to created an even larger plutocratic state than what already exists. Then you have President Obama who has fought to change the way Washington operates by tightening sanctions on Wall Street, raising taxes on millionaires and billionaires so he can lower taxes on middle and lower classes, and helping to expand Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security to help those who need it most. He’s increased the number of Pell Grant recipients and increased the amount of money that Pell recipients can receive. He’s brought America out of a horrific recession and has nearly reached the 2008 job levels, all while working with a Congress that worked more like a blockade and without wavering on his ideas of easing sanctions and allowing Wall Street to run wild and begin to put America back in the same position it was in a few years ago that led to the collapse. It’s a choice that is quite clear to me.