Analysis: Radical choice forced on Romney by cost-cutting party core
MITT Romney’s gamble on the square-jawed Paul Ryan as his vice-presidential candidate should help the Republican nominee silence those in the party’s Tea Party movement who doubt his tax-cutting credentials.
The 42-year-old fitness fanatic is a darling of the radical Right who has proposed slashing more than $5 trillion from US public spending in a decade.
One commentator yesterday suggested that Ryan was the riskiest VP candidate of modern times. Given the record of Sarah Palin alongside John McCain four years ago, this is surely an exaggeration. For while Ryan’s appointment is sure to give Democrats plenty to attack, given his tax-cutting rhetoric, that will be outweighed by his good looks, genial demeanour and ability to explain these radical policies in terms the man on the street can understand.
A father of three young children, he regularly explains how American’s debt needs to be cut in order to ensure they can have a prosperous future. All of this will help to add some shine to Mitt Romney’s plodding campaign. For this reason, the choice was being seen as a smart move among commentators in America yesterday, even if there are rumours that Romney had to be forced to choose him. Perhaps he was worried about befalling the same fate of McCain four years ago and being over-shadowed by a more outspoken and more charismatic personality.
Ryan’s appointment means that the increasingly influential radical Right in the Republican movement now has a standard-bearer within reach of the highest of offices. Not just in America either, for Ryan’s brand of morally-driven, no-compromise tax cutting is sure to fire up right-wingers on this side of the pond, too. Ryan’s certainty, the Right will note, is in marked contrast to the caution of the coalition Con-Lib government which, despite having put a lid on spending, is still actually increasing the cash that government gobbles up. Prime Minister David Cameron and his Chancellor George Osborne can now expect to be pointed to the path he should be taking.
The Right has been waiting for a frontman to explain its radicalism in reasonable-sounding prose. The influence of vice-presidents and vice-presidential nominees can be easily exaggerated, but with his new-found platform, Ryan may be able to make a mark on the global stage every bit as strong as that of Palin before him – but this time with skill. Still only 42, even if Romney fails to beat Obama this autumn, the Wisconsin congressman can expect to be at the front of the Republican pack come 2016 when next the party comes to pick a frontman. Ryan is outsider to gain office this time round. But, as of yesterday, his path to the top has begun in earnest.
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Thursday 23 May 2013
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