Presumptive Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney is expected to announced his Vice Presidential pick any day now — some analysts believe it could come today. And did he drop a hint that it’s going to be Rep. Paul Ryan, the Wisconsiner highly popular with conservatives but also highly controversial, someone Democrats dream Romney will name?
Mitt Romney remained tight-lipped about his vice presidential pick in a taped interview with NBC, part of which was aired Thursday on Nightly News with Brian Williams. But he did drop one small hint.
“I don’t think I have anything for you on the VP running mate,” Romney said. “Other than I certainly expect to have a person that has a strength of character, a vision for the country that adds something to the political discourse about the direction of the country.”
Though it’s not much, Romney’s answer could point to Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., whose budget plan has become a rallying cry for conservative intellectuals and has greatly influenced the fiscal side of his party’s platform.
I’ll say it again: a)I can’t understand why GOPers feel Ryan will have any appeal beyond the party’s conservative base, but that may be what Romney has decided the election will be all about (to worry about independents who he is starting to lose bigtime and get out every single Republican he can) b)Ryan will never appeal to a chunk of independent voters and will be a virtual pinata for Democrats and greatly aid the party, Obama and the the party’s Super PACs to — inaccurately or accurately — label Ryan as someone who’d redistribute wealth to those on top and end social security. He is political demonization “high concept” waiting to happen.
The biggest risk for Romney is this: Ryan has not run a national campaign. Running for Congress isn’t the same, nor is the degree of vetting and the degree to which candidates are called to task to answer the results of media and op research vetting. If Romney picks some of the others on the list the argument can be made that he has a degree of independence from pressures from the party’s most conservative members. If he picks Ryan it will suggest the process is complete. Ryan will have zero appeal to many non-liberal Democrats and little to a big chunk of independents.
And I haven’t even added how he’d be received by seniors yet.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.