First impressions of Paul Ryan

The vice-presidential candidate can often set the tone for a presidential election campaign. For John McCain it marked the shift from a moderate voice to an attempt to court the tea party. Likewise Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan as his presidential candidate running mate is revealing about his tactics — and is likely a very poor choice on his part.

From what first impression of Paul Ryan reveal he is very conservative — even more so than Mitt Romney in many ways — and a fan of Ayn Rand. (It should be noted that my general first impressions come from various centrist and left wing blogs). This choice shows that Romney cares more about attracting conservative and ultra-right wing votes — which he already has — than about attracting moderates. The VP is supposed to balance out a President’s weaknesses or cover different ground. Romney’s weaknesses lie with moderates, not hardliners. With Ryan as VP candidate Romney is doubling up on the same ground and losing the hearts of centrists and swing voters. The left wing bloggosphere has jumped on Ryan and started to churn out critiques and snappy info graphics — Obama’s Tumblr has a marvelous design department.

Romney is up against one of the best campaigners in history — regardless of what you think of Obama as a president his campaigning is the gold standard — and this move will not help him. We do not really know Paul Ryan yet. We just have first impressions amalgamated quickly by news outlets and blogs. So far it seems that Romney missed the mark. Ryan will only alienate swing voters and will help to secure a hold on voters that Romney had locked up by virtue of being a republican in the first place.

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