In Picking Ryan, Romney Makes an All-In Move
The past five Republican vice-presidential candidates have all been quite conservative. But the four who preceded Representative Paul D. Ryan also had other strengths — and they were usually chosen in the hope of balancing out some perceived deficiency at the top of the ticket.
Dick Cheney was supposed to give gravitas and foreign policy experience to George W. Bush. Dan Quayle and Sarah Palin were supposed to provide youthful energy to the campaigns of George H. W. Bush and John McCain. (Mitt Romney has rarely been questioned for being “too old,” perhaps because he looks much younger than his 65 years.)
Bob Dole’s choice of Representative Jack Kemp of New York might be more closely comparable to Mr. Romney’s selection of Mr. Ryan, but it is not a perfect one. Mr. Kemp, who was one of Mr. Ryan’s mentors, was conservative on fiscal policy, like Mr. Ryan. But he was moderate on social policy, which Mr. Ryan is not. With Bill Clinton, Mr. Dole’s opponent that year, performing unusually well for a Democrat in rural areas, Mr. Kemp had the potential to advance Republicans’ standing in the cities.
Mr. Ryan seems to have been chosen specifically because of his conservative policy views and the way he articulates them. Mr. Romney could have done more to push his edge with independent voters by picking Gov. Chris Christie, who has won over moderates in New Jersey. He could have chosen Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, seeking to make headway with Hispanic voters, a critical demographic group.
There were candidates with a longer list of accomplishments, like Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana. There were those with more blue-collar appeal, like former Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota.
And there were candidates who could have had more impact on the electoral math. Mr. Ryan has some value to the ticket here — he could put Democratic-leaning Wisconsin into play. But he does not have as much potential to shift the balance as someone from a true tossup state with more electoral votes — like Senator Rob Portman of Ohio or Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia.
Most of these other contenders
You can read the rest of this article at:: http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/19/in-picking-ryan-romney-makes-an-all-in-move/
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