Paul Ryan is the representative from Wisconsin’s first congressional district and Republican Presidential candidate, Mitt Romney’s, Vice Presidential running mate. On November 6, 2012, US voters will decide between the Romney/Ryan ticket and incumbent Democrat President Barack Obama and his Vice President, Joe Biden. Representative Ryan has served in Congress since since 1998 but it is only recently that Ryan has emerged into the national political limelight, recognized both for his clarion call for more fiscal responsibility and as the chairman of the House Budget Committee. Ryan’s traditionally conservative views helped him achieve a national audience in the past few years with the rise of the Tea Party movement. Paul Ryan’s views will be explored further in the remainder of this article.
Over the past two years Paul Ryan has called for privatizing Medicare for individuals under fiftyfive as well as turning the regional Medicaid program and Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps) into block grant programs. Block grant programs basically entail the federal government allotting funds to the states to spend on their citizens, with some federal provisions attached to those funds. Ryan also expressed an interest for turning Medicare over to private corporations, presumably for profit-making purposes, while serving as House Budget Committee Chair. Collectively these strategies, crafted over the 2011 and 2012 political years, constitute Paul Ryan’s House federal budget proposal and spending plans.
Some pundits have commented that Paul Ryan does an inadequate job of filling in Mitt Romney’s knowledge and experience gap on foreign policy. Indeed these claims are well-grounded as Paul Ryan’s congressional activities have mainly focused on federal budget matters. In 2007 Paul Ryan was selected as a Republican member for the House Budget Committee. Four years later Paul Ryan was selected to provide the Republican response to to President Obama’s State of the Union speech, as well as to serve as chair of the House Budget Committee. Some critics, however, like Timothy Roemer have told US news outlets that Paul Ryan is inexperienced when it comes to foreign policy background. Other critics argue that Ryan’s position as member and chair of the House Budget Committee gives Ryan unique insight into defense spending and other federal economic initiatives. Another rather snarky counterpoint has been made by conservative critics who point out that Paul Ryan has been in Congress for fourteen years, a far longer period than that of Barack Obama when he decided to run for president of the United States.
Ryan’s Bona Fides
In spite of Ryan’s lack of substantive foreign policy experience, at least in the eyes of many political commentators, Ryan has made some efforts to accrue some foreign policy experience. During Ryan’s tenure in Congress he has participated in seven overseas congressional delegations. Despite this evidence of foreign policy acumen, political pundit Jonathan Bernstein has claimed that the Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan ticket is perhaps the least abreast of foreign policy of any US presidential duo since 1948 or maybe 1912! Admittedly Mitt Romney could use any foreign policy assistance available, especially after his recent trip to Europe and a few gaffes later, but is Paul Ryan the optimal candidate to fill that political Achilles heel?
This article has given an overview of Paul Ryan, Ryan’s presumed ability to function as Mitt Romney’s running mate from this date until the November presidential election, and Ryan’s chances of helping Mitt Romney achieve a US presidential victory. According to some polls the inclusion of Paul Ryan into the Mitt Romney presidential ticket has actually hurt Mitt Romney. For Mitt Romney’s sake, let’s hope that turns around soon.
Justin Probst is a political activist and enjoys sharing his knowledge of today’s political issues. He reminds people to investigate before they vote to make informed decisions. He also shares his political knowledge about the healthcare issues at www.grouphealthinsurance.org.
Photo credit: Majordomo2012: http://www.flickr.com/photos/84867722@N03/