The rule of thumb for choosing a Vice President is to do no harm. He or she is not supposed to be controversial, divisive, or someone you would fear having in the White House. Mitt Romney’s pick of Congressman Paul Ryan for his vice presidential nominee is all those things rolled into one and here are seven reasons why:
1. His Economic Ideas Are Not Popular
As Chairman of the House Budget Committee, Congressman Paul Ryan has been in charge of creating and introducing a budget that sets America’s priorities, but his ideas have not been popular with the majority of the American people.
Since 2008 the plan has not changed much, but in 2011, Newt Gingrich famously described it as “social engineering”. At the same time Gallup found in 2011 only 43 percent of Americans thought the plan would reduce America’s long term deficit.
2. It Gives Liberals A Reason To Vote
Liberal economists and Democrats in Congress have railed against Congressman Ryan’s proposals saying it puts a huge burden on the poor and raises the cost of living for senior citizens.
Some Democratic operatives have been worried that with the economy not picking up as fast as they would like, and with the inability to use “Hope” and “Change” as slogans again, it would be hard to appeal to the base of the party. But the ideas in Ryan’s budget could be used as a contrast and give liberals a reason to vote.
3. He Has Not Accomplished Anything
In today’s speech Paul Ryan said “I believe my record of getting things done in Congress will be a very helpful complement to Governor Romney’s executive and private sector success outside Washington”. Besides the budgets he introduced, which did pass the House, the Congressman has no major accomplishments to his name in the 14 years he has served in the House.
4. He’s A Member of the House
There’s nothing wrong with being a member of the House of Representatives, however, there’s a reason why President James Garfield in 1880 was the last person to go from the House directly to the White House.
Today, members of the House typically have not run state wide before and proved they can appeal to both Democrats and Republicans. Paul Ryan represents a swing district which voted for George W. Bush in 2004 and Barack Obama in 2008, and were already represented by a Republican Mark Neumann who lost a bid to become Wisconsin’s next Governor.
Ryan came from his district which always helps, but just because you appeal to a part of it does not mean you appeal to the rest of your state.
5. He Does Not Win Romney Any States
One of the major reasons Paul Ryan was picked was his appeal to the right wing of the Republican party. There’s no doubt that it is there, poll after poll proves the Tea Party like the budgets Ryan has introduced in Congress.
But besides Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, what other Senator has proudly declared him or herself a member of the Tea Party? A quick Google search shows Mr. Ryan never has.
Kentucky is also one of the reddest of red states and Senator Paul’s philosophy appeals to the vast majority of the people living there. It helps to have an organization like the Tea Party to knock on doors for you, but it’s not exactly the hardest thing to get those votes.
6. He’s A Republican Party Pick
Paul Ryan may say he’s just a hometown boy but it’s hard to stay in Washington for 14 years and not make some friends. Ryan was working in Washington before he decided to run for Congress and if you look on the American Enterprise Institutes website and search his name you will see how this conservative and highly influential think tank has glorified Ryan’s work and urged him to run for President.
The people who run think tanks have friends everywhere, including highly influential people in both major political parties. While theoretically the parties and think tanks are supposed to be separate entities, the lines blur and having friends who can talk to other elected officials for you increases your influence in Washington, and in this case it helped Paul Ryan get the Vice Presidential nod from Mitt Romney.
A version of this post also appeared on PolicyMic.