Paul Ryan offers the conservative credibility that the Romney campaign felt it needed. It brings a youthful face and excitement to a campaign that wants to earn the trust of the middle class, particularly those in the political center. They wanted an active campaigner and they got one.
The most important thing they got was Wisconsin.
Regardless of what people believe a Vice President does, they are first and foremost campaign assets. In the first term, they are supposed to help win re-election. In the second term, they are either going to get their own shot at the presidency or help the future nominee get solid backing. They don’t do a whole lot while in office.
With that said, Ryan is a risky move. He offers more points for the left to attack as his philosophies are the exact opposite of liberals, particularly from an economic perspective. He is weak on foreign policy and inexperienced at diplomacy. His true value will be in allowing the campaign to mark off one of the battleground states and redirect their efforts and spending on the others, most notably Florida, Ohio, and Colorado. Without those, the ticket loses.
Here’s what I wrote on Conservative Haven:
Regardless of what people believe a Vice Presidential nominee really means to a ticket, it comes down to three things:
- Can they bring in a different demographic than the Presidential nominee?
- Will they handle the media and campaigning well enough to not cost any votes?
- Can they deliver a state?
For Mitt Romney, the selection of Paul Ryan as his VP running mate tells a lot about the strategy of the campaign. First, it was assumed that he would try to cover the first point and use Ryan’s stark budget and deficit perspectives to energize the conservative base of the Republican party that had not been convinced that Romney was much more than a moderate.