From a purely strategic point of view, I think the Paul Ryan pick makes sense for the Republicans. If they can get the public to buy in to Paul Ryan being the ‘man with a plan’ and contrast it with the image of a do nothing congress, it might energize swing voters / Reagan democrats. He also helps bring the Tea Party back into the game.
Paul Ryan’s big claim to fame is his ‘Path to Prosperity’. The keystone of this plan is to eliminate Medicare starting in 2022. Paul Ryan’s plan keeps Medicare unchanged for existing participants – which may encourage anybody over 65 to vote for the plan if they vote based on entitlements. Maybe the assumption is the under 55 year old demographic will vote based on other issues, and not think about the on looming benefit cuts that will cost them thousands in years to come.
So if I read it right, the Republicans are going to put the Democrats on the defensive – make the Democrats get the American voters to stand up for their entitlements. This is something the Democrats have done a poor job of. It puts the focus of the campaign back on the economy, again putting the democrats on the defensive. Interestingly, this could add fuel to the fire regarding Romney’s 100 million dollar IRA. If the political discussion is about entitlements – it seems fair to focus on those who don’t need entitlements because they cheat the system.
I think this is the best strategic move the Republicans can make given all the political liabilities they have. I still don’t think they have a chance to win the election – but it does define a strategy for them to move forward with. For those of us who focus on political strategy, this is going to be a very interesting presidential campaign.