Sunday, August 12, 2012 at 11:04 PM
Republican Mitt Romney and the man he tapped to be his running mate, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, wind up their initial barn-storming tour tomorrow (Tuesday) in Ohio. ideastream's Bill Rice spent the weekend canvassing Ohio Republicans, and finds them energized by the surprise pick, as are Ohio Democrats - but for different reasons.
Republican Mitt Romney and the man he tapped to be his running mate, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, wind up their initial barn-storming tour in tomorrow (Tuesday) in Ohio. ideastream’s Bill Rice spent the weekend canvassing Ohio Republicans, and found them energized by the surprise pick, as are Ohio Democrats - but for different reasons.
Senior citizen Patti Francis of Parma, like a few hundred other party faithful, spent her Sunday afternoon at the Cuyahoga County Republican Party’s annual picnic and found it to be a beautiful day. She was referring not only to the sunshine and cooler weather but to the news that came out of the Romney for President campaign. She’s heard of Paul Ryan and his proposals to scale back entitlement programs that benefit her, but that doesn’t bother her.
Francis: I realize even though I am a senior that things have to change for Medicare and Social Security to survive. And I am excited by the changes that he has proposed - at least the ones that I know about. And he is a policy wonk, but a friendly one. (ha ha ha.)
Ryan’s personal charisma is a winning force for this crowd, but it’s his focus on fiscal issues that gets the most attention. Dan Monroe of Brunswick thinks Romney made a good call in picking Ryan as his running mate, although he does have one concern - that Ryan’s conservatism could pull some middle of the road voters… to the democratic side.
Monroe: “I’m not ultraconservative, but I think we need some conservative fiscal policies put in place. he put forth some budget proposals that Congress has not acted upon and hopefully we can turn that around and start lowering our deficit and start lowering our deficit and getting some fiscal responsibility.”
Jim Trakas, a former Chairman of the Cuyahoga County Republican party, likewise is enthusiastic about Ryan’s joining the ticket. And he’s unfazed that Ohio Senator Rob Portman, who for weeks was thought to be on Romney’s short list of possible running mates, was passed over.
“Obviously as an Ohioan it would have been nice to have Rob Portman, our Senator on there, but I think Ryan brings a new dynamic, I think he’s a younger face. he’s Roman catholic and I think traditional catholics would appreciate his presence on the ticket. He’s an ethnic guy from a state LIKE Ohio, so I think he’ll connect with Ohio voters very well.”
University of Akron Political Science Professor John Green echoes what many political pundits are saying - that Ryan’s addition to the ticket sharpens the debate that will play out between now and November 6th.
Green: “I think what Congressman Ryan does on the ticket is allow the Republicans to present a very crisp alternative to President Obama’s perspective. It may persuade a lot of people in Ohio. It’s unclear right now though that it will persuade a majority.”
Green agrees with Trakas that Ryan’s religious and social positions will benefit Romney among evangelicals, may even persuade some Catholic voters who see attractive qualities in both Democratic and Republican philosophies to vote for Romney.
Democrats see opportunity too in the Ryan choice and they are seizing on the stark economic contrast that Ryan brings to the race. Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur points out Ryan’s well known affinity for Ayn Rand novels that celebrate capitalism and individualism above all.
KAPTUR: “There is a real distinction here. He believes that the middle class should pay more in taxes while those who earn millions and billions should get 250 thousand dollars more in tax refunds. He’s really for the one percent.”
Ryan frames the contrasts with Democrats differently. For him the choice is about saving everyone from a landslide of deficit spending and debt. Prepare for those proposals to get parsed, disected and intensely debated in the coming weeks in Ohio and across the country. SOC
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