COMMENTARY | When Mitt Romney accidentally announced that Paul Ryan would be the next president, it produced several good natured laughs. Romney covered it well by admitting he’d make a mistake or two, but not with picking Ryan. The crowd loved it.
But the Republican team of Romney and Ryan made several early blunders that show perhaps more effort was put into making the pick a surprise than handling how Ryan would be introduced to the public.
5) Paul Ryan in the ill-fitting suit, without a tie. Far be it from me to be the fashion police, but even conservative publications like the Boston Herald noted with disdain the clothing choices Ryan made when stepping out from the USS Wisconsin to join Romney. In her article “Paul brings charm, skips the tie” Jill Radsken writes “the 42-year-old was also a man in search of a tailor. His suit jacked was so big it looked like a kid who’d borrowed it from his dad.” She cited a stylist who said of the lack of a tie and bulky jacket “…could turn some people off, make them feel that maybe he is not taking this seriously or that he is a little cocky, so sure they’ve already won this election.”
4) Paul Ryan cried at the Wisconsin rally after being picked. At a rally in Waukesha, Ryan got visibly choked up about being added to the ticket. Most Americans don’t mind a candidate who gets a little teary-eyed, but the ones who don’t like it are the ones Ryan was put on the ticket to impress: conservatives. And ask Edmund Muskie how crying can hurt you.
3) Paul Ryan says he’ll release only two years of taxes. Even though Ryan provided several years of tax returns that Romney demanded, he’ll only release two years of tax information to the public. This is probably because he doesn’t want to show up Romney by providing more, but folks will begin to wonder how much a former campaign staffer elected to Congress made on a representative’s pay.
2) Paul Ryan is still running for his House seat. Wisconsin law allows Ryan to run for both, so there’s nothing illegal. But this looks like Ryan is hedging his bets, like Lloyd Bentsen running as Dukakis’ VP, and for the Texas Senate at the same time. It’s not a move showing confidence in Team Romney’s chances.
1) Mitt is already distancing himself from Ryan’s budget. The article title “Romney seeks distance from Ryan’s budget plans,” by Kasie Hunt and Ken Thomas of the Associate Press says it all. Romney has stated his budget ideas will rule, not Ryan’s, and he’s already talked of saving Medicare, a different tack from Ryan. If you didn’t pick Ryan for the thing he’s most famous for, a budget plan, then why did you add him? Was he chosen for his ability to deliver Wisconsin votes, his youth or his looks? I thought Romney was running on the Ryan plan that would shore up conservative support (which would make it a good choice), but now I’m not so sure. Ryan is being made more of a prop than a co-decider.
John A. Tures is an associate professor of political science at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Ga.