Over the weekend, presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney announced his pick for vice president: it’s Wisconsin representative Paul Ryan, 42, a seven-term congressman who started his career as a 19-year-old intern and rose to become a major architect of the GOP’s fiscal platform.
In choosing Ryan, Romney has put the nation’s debate about the role of the federal government front and center in the campaign. Ryan’s budget proposal last year called for an overhaul of Medicaid, allowing states to switch to a voucher system that many feel imperils seniors. It also advocated Social Security reform, allowing younger workers to allocate their contributions to the stock market instead.
Those squarely in Romney’s camp might cheer the selection of this young, charismatic self-made man who still lives in his hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin and talks farm bill on his cell phone while deer hunting. But is Romney effectively adopting Ryan’s fiscal proposals? And how will that play with seniors, especially in retiree-heavy states like Florida? A recent AARP survey shows for those nearing retirement, financial security and health care costs top the lists of worries. The number of swing voters – independents and those undeclared – is nearing a third of the electorate.
Will a Romney/Ryan ticket galvanize the GOP, as is obviously the hope? Or will it drive Romney’s less conservative supporters into the Obama camp? What could Ryan’s economic policies mean to you?
David Mark, Politix, Editor-in-Chief and author, Going Dirty: The Art of Negative Campaigning
Jonathan Wilcox, Republican Strategist; former speech writer for Governor Pete Wilson
Matt Rodriguez, Democratic strategist; former senior Obama advisor in 2008, who now runs the Los Angeles office for the Dewey Square Group
Dylan Roby, Assistant Professor of Health and Policy Management at UCLA
Joseph Antos, Health Economist for American Enterprise Institute; former assistant director for Health and Human Resources at the Congressional Budget Office (CBO)