Paul Ryan Is A Good VP Choice…But Not The Best

The choice is in—Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has chosen Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan as his second-in-command as of late last night. Is this the right move? I like Ryan, and certainly don’t think it’s a bad pick, but I wonder if it’s really the best option Romney had at his disposal.

Paul Ryan is now the man of the hour on the Republican ticket

Ryan has built a national name for himself as the voice for Republican economic policies from his chairmanship of the House Budget Committee. His proposals, particularly with regards to Medicare, are innovative and in an ideal world they would be seen as a way to forge a new path to social justice, by taking the foundation of Democratic programs from FDR through LBJ and allowing them to progress into the 21st century through appropriate use of vouchers and market forces.

Of course the world we live in is less than ideal and instead of being seen as the middle-ground consensus policies they really are, the political Left, which thrives on group-think and a lack of independent thought, has chosen to characterize Ryan’s proposals as a “let them eat cake”.  It’s false, but it’s a falsehood that will be difficult to overcome between now and November.

That, in of itself, is not the biggest problem though. Ryan’s an articulate spokesman and it’s also possible that a chance to present himself on a national stage—especially in the coming debate with Vice-President Joe Biden might turn public opinion in his favor. The real problem is the political impact of Romney’s choice.

Florida senator Marco Rubio could have delivered the Sunshine State and appealed to the Hispanic vote

Ryan may come from Wisconsin, a key battleground state, but as a House member he’s never won a statewide race, so it’s up in the air as to whether he can help Romney overcome a persistent Obama lead here. And even if he can, Wisconsin is not Florida when it comes to electoral prospects. Florida senator Marco Rubio has won a statewide race in a more important locale and has the residual appeal of offering something to the Hispanic community, whose votes will be so important in this election.

So congratulations to Paul Ryan on his selection and on balance I do think he helps the ticket. But Rubio would have helped more.

Dan Flaherty is the author of Fulcrum, an Irish Catholic novel set in postwar Boston with a traditional Democratic mayoral campaign at its heart, and he is the editor-in-chief of



  • Mara

    So OK. Romney picks a running mate and Dan’s response is that he picked the wrong guy. What relevance does this have? Answer: none.

  • MLsouth

    At this crucial point in our country’s history, anyone is better than Obama. Just make sure to vote Obama out of office in November. :0)

  • willi

    Did you miss the part where the Bishops wrote Ryn that his budget was immoral and un-christian?

    Remember the nuns on the bus who organized a multi-state protest aginst him?

    Romney and now Ryan have so alienated people that the right to life efforts will probably lose this election.

    Right to life includes everyone, not just babies.

    • Julie T.

      Willi, your statement “…the Bishops wrote Ryn [sic] that his budget was immoral and unchristian?” is inaccurate. There was criticism from one bishop in particular, from a diocese in California, who took issue with *certain elements* of Paul Ryan’s budget proposal. However, the bishops as a group are not unanimous in sharing his criticism. As a group, the bishops prudentially realize that compromises and adjustments are made. They also know Paul Ryan is a *faithful and committed* Catholic who listens to his bishop, unlike the Pelosis and Bidens of the Beltway. As far as the “nuns”—and I use the designation loosely—of the bus stunt, why would you be concerned about a relatively small group of renegades who cannot even bring themselves to proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord even as they insist they are still Catholic? Their opinion is completely irrelevant.

    • Antonio A. Badilla

      Yes, and I wonder if the bishops would say the same thing about a Democratic plan. Apparently the bishops were not unanimous in their questioning of Ryan, the only real Catholic in comparison to Pelosi, Kathleen Sebelius, the Kennedys, Joe Biden, Kerry, the President of Notre Dame, and all those hypocrites who call themselves Catholics and are never excommunicated or even criticized by our bishops. Apparently Archbishop Lori diagrees with the rest of the bishops in his assessment of Ryan’s plan.
      Look Willi, either we continue to kick the can down the road and find oursevelves bankrupt in a few years or we continue to give food stamps to 1/4 of the America population. Is Ryan getting rid of the safety net a lot of people need? NO, but he is definitely together with Romney ready to reform the welfare system.
      BTW, one of the most prominent bishops reacting negatively to Ryan’s plan is the same bishop who wants to entertain the President with a dinner in New York, the same President who is willing to take our religious liberties.
      As for the unborn, they don’t have any voice, WE are their voice!
      As for the nuns, I have zero respect for nuns who are more social workers than nuns. Those are the same nuns who never come to the defense of the unborn. I am not impressed!

  • maryana

    My relatives and friends in Florida say Rubio would not deliver the state but Jeb Bush would.
    I’m all for Ryan. Has a past that doesn’t appear corrupt or confused.
    As a recipient of Medicare and Social Security, I am not afraid of losing benefits, I’m afraid there will be nothing for my children and grand children if we don’t act like a ‘strong’ generation and fix things. I believe that Ryan can do this along with Romney.
    The Mormonisn thing isn’t anymore important than Catholicism – but both men seem to be committed to Almighty God….
    The present administration acts like a group of Chicago thugs. Almost every dept eg, DOJ, is corrupt.

  • Joe M

    I agree with Dan. I think that Ryan has the best credentials to perform as VP. However, Rubio would have done more to help Romney get elected, imo.

    • Antonio A. Badilla


      “Rubio evidently calls himself a Catholic, but attends a Baptist Church.”

      Can you please tell me the source of this information because I have never heard of this.

  • Esther

    I disagree, Rubio’s confusion over his own religion could have divided the Catholic/Evangelical coalition that the Republican’s need. For those who don’t know, Rubio evidently calls himself a Catholic, but attends a Baptist Church. Ryan was the better choice IMHO.



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