Tomorrow morning, it will have been two weeks since Paul Ryan was selected as the GOP Vice Presidential nominee.
The question is whether or not it has been a positive for Mitt Romney and the Republican Party.
The answer is both yes and no, but with the no side more obvious!
In a positive way, Paul Ryan has come across as a photogenic candidate, a man who is intelligent, bright, and an outstanding speaker at political events, and in the latter area, far outdistancing Mitt Romney, his running mate.
But on the negative side, the political focus has been on issues that harm him and the Republican Party, going into their convention in Tampa next Monday to Thursday.
The first week was dominated by his proposal to make Medicare a voucher program for future Medicare recipients, and while many observers give Ryan credit for his courage in pushing the idea in his Ryan budget, it is clearly a negative on the campaign trail, scaring many seniors who, theoretically, will not be affected by the plan, since it only affects those under 55. It also antagonizes many who are a bit younger than 55, and do not appreciate that what they are paying for in payroll taxes may lead to a system far less supportive of them when they are seniors, than their older brothers and sisters or parents are entitled to.
The fact that Paul Ryan supported every spending program of the Bush Administration, and wishes to avoid any spending cuts for defense, although he originally supported such cuts, also hurts.
As bad as the Medicare and spending issues have been, the abortion, rape and Todd Akin controversy this past week has done a tremendous amount of damage among a majority of women, particularly since Ryan had the same view on the subject as Akin, while the GOP was throwing Akin “under the bus”, so to speak. And since Akin refused to leave the Missouri Senate race, he is an albatross around Ryan’s and Romney’s neck for the remainder of the campaign.
So in antagonizing senior citizens, and those near senior citizen status, in the not so distant future, and women who have a sense of dignity and pride about the control of their own bodies, Paul Ryan has been much more a negative factor than a positive one.
And the ultimate irony is that he has provided, basically, no “bump” for Mitt Romney, far less than Sarah Palin did in the beginning for John McCain four years ago!