The Joel-Hansen Report: Romney picks Ryan as his running mate


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Paul Ryan (left) and Mitt Romney
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Michael Joel-Hansen
Guest Blogger

Soon-to-be Republican Party nominee for President of the United States Mitt Romney made waves Saturday morning in the 2012 Presidential race by selecting Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin to be his running mate and candidate for vice-president.

To many who have been following the very closely contested race for the Republican Party nomination, this is not a real surprise, in that in Representative Ryan, Mitt Romney is selecting one the Tea Party movement’s favourite politicians. Representative Ryan, the chairman of the House budget committee, exploded onto the national political scene when in 2010 he introduced his budget bill that would have drastically cut taxes for those in upper income tax brackets as well as ended Medicare as it is known, in that government would no longer pay for the health care of seniors, but would rather send out government vouchers that would then be used to purchase private health insurance. Also in his budget bill, Ryan proposed privatizing, in part, Social Security. The budget plan, while not very popular across the board, was quite popular in Tea Party circles where lower taxes, as well as less government spending and a smaller federal government, are key goals.

"The addition of Ryan does indicate that the Tea Party is very much at the controls of the Republican Party."

On the other hand, Mitt Romney is seen more as a moderate in the Republican Party of today in that as the Governor of Massachusetts he introduce a health care bill with a health insurance mandate, a bill very similar to that which was introduced by President Obama and that is in turn loathed by the Tea Party – thus, making Romney a very difficult candidate for the now powerful movement to rally around. However, with the addition of Paul Ryan to the ticket, many in the movement may now feel that they are at least somewhat represented in the campaign.

The addition of Ryan does indicate that the Tea Party is very much at the controls of the Republican Party in that instead of attempting to go with a safer, possibly more moderate pick who may be help to win over independent voters as well as swing voters, the campaign is instead hoping that the Tea Party will propel them into the White House come November. On paper, as well as considering recent history, this idea is not that farfetched in that in the 2010 midterm elections, the Tea Party was in large part able to put the House Representatives back in Republican hands. As well, the Tea Party tends to be made up of older as well as more affluent citizens who are statistically more likely to go out and vote. This is especially important, considering that, for the most part, voter turnout is very low and could drop even lower considering the stagnant economy. It is somewhat a cynical bet, but it could very easily be the correct bet especially in the current US polictical climate.

Overall, Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan is a big gamble in that in doing so he is clearly putting his eggs in the Tea Party basket, which means his campaign will rise or fall depending on how he is received by Tea Party members.

Either way, this pick shows that the Tea Party, while not completely driving the bus, is clearly playing a role in guiding it.

The Joel-Hansen Report focuses on US politics, while also covering current events and sports. Michael Joel-Hansen is an undergraduate in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Regina majoring in history and minoring in political science.

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