Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney announced his vice presidential running mate over the weekend, causing a stir on all sides of the political fence.
Romney's choice: Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, who is best known on Capitol Hill for a controversial budget proposal that would turn Medicaid and food stamps into block grants and make recipients work for certain benefits.
What do Lehigh University experts have to say about Romney's choice and the future of the Republican presidential campaign?
History is not on Romney/Ryan's side. "A vice presidential pick hasn't made a critical difference in a presidential election since 1960 when JFK chose LBJ," said Saladin Ambar, assistant professor of political science at Lehigh and author of "How Governors Built the Modern American Presidency."
Ryan was a safe choice. "(Ryan) is white and he makes Mitt (Romney) look like he has some soul," said Brian Pinaire, associate professor of political science at Lehigh, who tweets his thoughts at @impoliticker. "The GOP had a chance to at least pretend to be more than white people but Mitt is too cautious and spineless to take a chance and truly have a big tent. This will help with the Tea Party types, plus fiscally conservative independents."
Significant changes in Medicare can't be sold right now. "The recent Supreme Court decision has made it a Republican priority to scale back or eliminate ObamaCare," said Matthew Melone, Lehigh professor of finance and law. "We're operating from a different baseline now and just getting back to the status quo in 2010 will be tough enough without trying to sell major structural changes."
Most House members are off limits unless they've been speaker. "Romney's acid test did not include someone who is prepared to take office in the event of an unforeseen event or tragedy. Even Dan Quayle had some foreign policy experience," Ambar said. "I think it simply says, Romney is putting winning first, playing the odds. It is nowhere near the irresponsible pick Palin was. But it came from the same place - fear of losing."
Ryan's a better spokesperson than Romney. "I think much of the electorate understands that we cannot continue on the path that we are on but are not comfortable with the current Republican leadership," Melone said. "Ryan appears to be a straight shooter. He needs to convince people that the scaling back of government will apply with great force to rein in crony capitalism and not just middle class entitlements."
Story by Sally Gilotti
Posted on Monday, August 13, 2012