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Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney took his efforts to move away from his moderate past and prove he is the embodiment of the new political right one step further with his selection of U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc. as his running mate on Saturday.
Romney’s selection, which was announced via a mobile phone application, is an attempt to make his ticket a little bit sexier for conservative voters that have questioned his right-wing candor.
Ryan, in many ways, is the antithesis of the presumptive Republican nominee.
He is a career politician with a consistently conservative track record, compared to Romney, who is renowned for his work as the CEO of private equity firm, Bain Capital, and for flip-flopping on issues such as health care reform.
Ryan is known for his bold, sometimes radical austerity proposals as the chair of the House Budget Committee. Romney is known as the moderate-Republican governor of Massachusetts who laid the tracks for “Obamacare.”
Romney’s campaign trail has been riddled with laughable gaffes, one of which was delivered Saturday morning when he introduced Ryan as “the next president of the United States.”
Ryan is a strong and savvy public speaker, which he proved during his acceptance speech. Don’t expect him to put his foot in his mouth like current Vice President Joe Biden.
Let’s not forget the excitement factor. Last year, Barack Obama rode a wave of liberally charged enthusiasm into the White House. Ryan, a political spring chicken at 42 years old, brings an equally strong set of right-wing ideals that has many conservative voters excited.
The ever-crucial Tea Party faithful have been less than enthused by the Romney campaign so far, but Ryan’s fiscally conservative policies certainly add a little excitement.
The political atmosphere of the GOP has many party members in a full-on sprint toward the right end of the political spectrum, and Romney is following suite by adding Ryan to his ticket.
Whether it’s his Swiss bank account, his Olympic-caliber dressage horse, his immense personal wealth or his affiliation with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints, Romney is not someone the average voter can easily relate to.
Most voters aren’t going to want to grab a beer with Mitt.
A lifelong Midwesterner, Ryan comes from humble beginnings and is a figure that more voters can relate to.
Ryan also has the ultimate advantage in the political world: the look. He and Romney both share the distinctive presidential look. The duo’s collective hairlines rival the Clinton-Gore ticket of ‘92 and ‘96.
However, as Democratic strategist James Carville so eloquently stated, “It’s the economy, stupid.” The number one issue for the 2012 presidential election is the nation’s economic future, an issue Ryan is quite familiar with.
As chair of the House Budget Committee, Ryan has drafted two budget proposals that call for tax cuts and drastic spending cuts on so-called entitlement programs.
His dedication to traditional conservative ideals has many pundits touting him as the Republican Party’s golden boy.
However, the cheers from the political right are matched with jeers from moderates and liberals who consider Ryan to be an extremist and a radical.
At the top of Ryan’s to-do list is dismantling the Affordable Care Act, which includes allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ health care until age 26.
Ryan has not specifically addressed the issue, but one of the items that could be on the budgetary chopping block is federally subsidized student loans, something the Obama administration has increased during the past three-plus years.
Needless to say, Ryan’s selection probably won’t garner much support from independent voters.
Romney certainly knew what he was doing when he selected Ryan as his running mate — he was bolstering his reputation as a staunch conservative at the risk of alienating independent voters. Whether the strategy will work to his favor remains to be seen.
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