Paul_Ryan,_official_portrait,_112th_Congress
American Proscenium

It's Ryan

Mitt Romney is not known as a gambler, but he took a gamble when he selected Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) to be his running mate.  Congressmen lack the high profile of senators, governors, and generals, all reputed to be on Romney’s short list for vice president.  Indeed, no congressman has been elected vice president since FDR’s 1932 landslide swept John Nance Garner into the office, and Garner was not an ordinary member, but the speaker of the House.  To the extent the general public knew of Ryan before his selection, he was recognized as an advocate for radically restructuring Medicare and cutting other popular federal programs.  Ryan’s budget plans will certainly provide a target for the Obama campaign, which will try to take the focus off the dismal economy and stoke fears about what a Republican presidency would mean for those dependent on federal spending.  Ryan is also the first Catholic on the Republican ticket since Barry Goldwater picked Rep. William Miller (R-NY) to be his running mate in 1964.  Since Romney is a Mormon, this means that the Republican ticket will not feature a white Protestant, even though white Protestants are the backbone of the Republican Party.  Still, there are reasons to think that Romney’s gamble is a wise one, whether or not it ultimately pays off.

To be sure, Ryan’s record is far from ideal.  There...

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