Paul Ryan is Weak on Foreign Policy and Comes With His Own Baggage

After denying pleas from his followers for a presidential bid, Republican Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin has found himself  as Mitt Romney’s vice presidential candidate. How does Ryan size up against the other contenders in the vice presidential race?

1. Pro: He would ignite the youth vote within the Republican Party:  Public opinion polls show that in battleground states such as Wisconsin, putting Ryan on the ticket would close the gap between Romney and Obama. Currently, the president holds a commanding 6 point lead over Romney in Wisconsin. Adding Ryan to the tickets completely flips the statistic for the 18-29 age categories to a 7 point lead for the Romney-Ryan ticket, and overall giving the Obama-Biden ticket only a 1 point lead in the state. Adding Ryan to the Romney ticket could have a similar impact in other battleground and Midwestern states, tipping the balance in Romney’s favor.

2. Pro: Adding Ryan would show Romney is serious about budget talks: Ryan has shown much audacity on divisive issues such as Obamacare, the budget, and debt throughout the Obama presidency. Ryan’s Path to Prosperity budget proposed radical cuts to social programs like Medicare and Medicaid, and a drastic change to the current tax code. While the proposal had many up in arms, it proved that Ryan was ready to balance the budget by any means necessary. 

Ryan was also one of the only Republicans willing to take a stand against Obamacare and write his own manifesto on health care. His market-driven proposal was not well received and died in the Senate. However, according to a September 2011  Fortune article, these attempts at reform show that Ryan has a “willingness to take unpopular positions backed by strong intellectual arguments.” 

Adding Ryan to his ticket would show that Romney is just as willing to make difficult decisions to put our mangled economy back in order, and straighten our health care system.

1. Con: Ryan lacks foreign policy experience: Critics of the Romney frequently argue that one of his greatest deficiencies is his lack of foreign policy experience. According to former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, regarding Romney’s foreign policy stance, “If we take seriously what he has been saying in the course of the campaign, we have every reason to be very worried.” 

Taking this in mind, Romney needs a right-hand man who can make up for his foreign policy deficiencies. Ryan’s famed budget plan made serious cuts to defense spending that showed a lack of understanding for the typical conservative stances on foreign policy and defense spending.

2. Con: Ryan’s lacks the private sector experience Romney touts: From the get go of the election cycle, Romney argued that his private sector experience gives him an edge that Obama lacks. Romney has asserted multiple times that a politician needs experience “running something.”

Winning his first election to the House of Representatives at the tender age of 28 gave Ryan little time to garner experience, and prior to being elected he worked as a staffer on Capitol Hill. Ryan has spent his career in the politics, and Romney could be portrayed as a hypocrite by putting Ryan on the ticket.

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Becky Luft

2009 University of Wisconsin -Madison graduate with a BA in Political Science currently working in the financial sector.

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