Grumbling from conservatives about Paul Ryan’s muted presence in the White House race could be a positive development for the Wisconsin congressman’s long-term political prospects. But it’s also possible that Ryan will end up ruing the day he accepted the offer to team up with Mitt Romney.
When Ryan was picked, many on the right hoped that the GOP ticket would run on Ryan’s budget blueprint, which calls for radial tax cuts for the wealthy, sweeping reductions in the federal social safety net, and the transformation of Medicare into a quasi-voucher program.
Instead, Ryan has been forced to present himself as a generic vice presidential candidate, disowning his own program and running on Romney’s intentionally non-specific platform. This puts him in line with the Romney brain trust’s conviction that the weak economy will ultimately prompt swing voters to turn on Obama and that Romney will best be positioned to capture their votes if he’s seen as a competent but inoffensive protest vehicle.
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