Does Ryan show the Real Romney? Or is he just for show?

I always wonder which is the real Romney — the Governor of Massachusetts who supported gun control and developed a mandate-driven health care system, or the Candidate who leans toward Tea Party anti-government policies and plans to repeal Obama’s health care act and shower tax-cut largess on ultra-high earners?

If Romney’s choice for his running mate, Paul Ryan, is a choice from the heart, then it’s clear the real Romney is the Tea-Party loving tax-cutting anti-welfare anti-government Candidate.  But it’s also possible that Ryan was a necessary choice to shore up Romney’s credit with the enthusiastic core of the Republican base, which is suspicious of ‘Governor Romney’s’ relatively moderate record.

There is no way to tell for certain.  But my take is that Ryan was forced on Romney, and will be a bad choice for the ticket.  Ryan may appeal to the Tea Party enthusiasts, but he has zero appeal to moderate Republicans and may repel independents, whose votes will be crucial in this election.  Ryan’s budget ideas are radical, scorched earth cuts in federal spending that made even Newt Gingrich cringe.  Ryan had no following even within the Republic party for his ideas until the 2010 election brought several dozen Tea-party driven freshmen Republicans to the House.

Ryan is right that the federal budget needs attention and must be brought into better long-term balance or the country’s fiscal strength will be undermined.  But his plan to do that by gutting medicare and social security will infuriate the baby-boomers and turn off most moderates and independents.

Romney’s choice may have made hard-core Republican’s happier; but I think it also made him even less likely to do well in the general election.



About jackgoldstone

Hazel Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University
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1 Response to Does Ryan show the Real Romney? Or is he just for show?

  1. Raja M. Ali Saleem says:

    Another VP choice inspired by a need to galvanize the base, after another moderate republican was selected to be the Presidential nominee. Four years ago, only social conservatives were happy, now only fiscal conservatives will be happy. Romney probably can only win, if US economy falters even more which doesnot say much because then any Republican would win.

    What is surprising is why Republicans always have to pull a rabbit out a hat? What was the problem with Jindal or Portman? Republican base probably would have as much inspired by a Romney-Portman/Jindal ticket as by a Romney-Ryan ticket. Stark choice on budget issues? Well, as you said, it is more backing oneself into a corner. Previously, they only had to show that Obama is wrong on economic issues which is not very difficult. Now they also have to show that they (Ryan’s plan) are right on economic issues which will not be easy. Independents will be vary of this ticket.

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