Once the euphoria and media hype wear off, here is the stark reality for Mitt Romney: he just made a big mistake in picking Paul Ryan as his running mate.
As a fiscal conservative, Ryan brings a rock-solid resume to the table, with firm and well-known beliefs on deficit reduction, government spending, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security (in simple terms, he wants to slash and burn pretty much everything in sight), and by virtue of that he will no doubt bolster Romney's position within the Republican party.
But Romney's staunch support of tax cuts for the wealthy, government subsidies for major corporations, loosening of regulations for Wall Street, and the cutting of public sector spending despite high unemployment and a recession, have already established his conservative credentials in spades. Also, as far as most Republicans, including those who identify themselves as Tea Partiers, are concerned, President Obama is at best a socialist and at worst a Nazi, so Romney already has those votes in the bag. He does not need Ryan's help in that sphere.
Where he does need help are with minorities, women, moderates, and independents, and with all those voters Paul Ryan is unlikely to score anything better than a "D", which means that by adding Ryan to the ticket, Romney has just lost the opportunity to win those demographics over. Of course, there is electoral math, swing state dynamics, behind-the-scenes politics, and many other factors that can affect the outcome, but on a macro-level, Ryan drags Romney down instead of pulling him up.
Romney is already in trouble with most level-headed voters due to his lack of empathy for anyone but the rich, his extreme stances on economic issues, and his lack of transparency on his personal finances, and the last thing he needs is to compound the perception that he is disconnected from average Americans and wants to take away their Social Security. Yet, in choosing someone more or less like himself for Vice President, he has done exactly that. As if the offshore bank accounts imbroglio and the tax returns fiasco were not enough, Romney has doubled down on Romney and, in the process, just handed the Democrats a major advantage.
The one area in which Ryan's presence will help Romney is in energizing the conservative base to bring out the vote. In that respect the ticket is a smart play. The more fiscally conservative Romney appears, the more likely he is to inspire action from Republican foot-soldiers. How far that will go in determining the next President of the United States is anyone's guess, but my personal opinion is that it will not be far enough for Romney - not if he loses the votes of moderates and independents in the process.
Paul Ryan is pretty far right when it comes to economic and budgetary matters, and Romney is the ultimate capitalist. Together the two might seem like a dream team, but only if your idea of a dream is a nightmarish Darwinian jungle where you are the easiest prey in the food chain. Romney probably thinks that he has just "Rambo-ed" up by picking Ryan as his running mate, but in truth he has just fired a round into his own foot. The Democrats should thank him.
Sanjay Sanghoee is a former banker and the author of two thriller novels. Please visit www.sanghoee.com for more details and updates.
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