The GoP challenge

Ryan believes in cutting taxes for the rich.

The contours of the Republican challenge to President Barrack Obama have become clearer with Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as his vice-presidential nominee. Ryan is young, bright and dynamic and belongs to the right end of the Republican Party.  He has considerable political and legislative experience, having been a member of the House of Representatives  seven times. In the US presidential race, vice-presidential nominees are used to define the candidates’ positions better, cover his shortcomings and appeal to sections in the party or the electorate which call for special attention. It is with the vice-presidential candidate that the party nominee makes a full ticket, and Presidential candidates’ fortunes have floundered in the past because of the wrong choice of the running mate. Mittney seems to have made a careful and calculated choice.


Ryan will be liked by the extreme Republicans who have doubts about the policy credentials of Mitt Romney. Romney’s opposition to Obama has not always been convincing to many, as in the case of health care.  Romney had himself introduced health  care reforms in Massachusetts which were similar to the Obamacare plan, while the party had stoutly opposed it. Ryan strongly believes in cutting taxes for the rich, in reducing public expenditure and minimising the government’s role in business and life. He has a radical tax reform plan and a budget blueprint which will be liked by conservatives. Romney’s Mormon faith is a negative for the religious right but Ryan’s strong Catholic background will comfort them. All in all, the Romney-Ryan combination will unite the Republicans and give them more confidence and aggression.   

With a hawkish ideological mate on his side the Romney campaign will take the fight to Obama’s economic policies. In spite of the credit Obama claims for eliminating Osama bin Laden, the main electoral issue will be economic, with revival not in sight and unemployment running high.  Romney has till now felt that Obama will be the natural fall guy for the economic pain. He will now join the policy debate from a clear economic platform. Ironically, the Democrats will also like the Ryan ticket because it gives them a good target for attack. They will also expect that Ryan will scare away many voters from the lower ranks, especially the potential beneficiaries of the Obama healthcare plan.  Both candidates are running neck and neck now, with a slight edge for Obama. The Ryan factor may tilt the scales either way.

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