Karen Ocamb

Game Changer? Romney Picks Ryan as VP

Filed By Karen Ocamb | August 13, 2012 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Game Change, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Tammy Baldwin, Tommy Thompson, vice president, vice presidential pick

Breaking into NBC's Olympic coverage Friday night, Chuck Todd reported that his good sources say that Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney will choose Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan for his vice-presidential running mate.

paul-ryan-mitt.jpeg(Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan emphasizes a point at presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney watches the man he would pick for VP)

Huffington Post immediately called the expected decision a "game change" - inviting comparison to the book and movie Game Change about how John McCain's pick of Sarah Palin significantly altered his run for the president in 2008. Unlike Palin, Ryan has read a few newspapers and will probably work in concert with Romney, not try to upstage him.

Except Romney's so stiff and verbally vacuous and Ryan's not. The organization eQualitygiving recently posted a tally of Romney's positions on LGBT issues - indicating that he would be very conservative right wing, if elected president. The Advocate notes that Ryan's positions basically lineup with his new boss, including having voted twice in favor of the failed Federal Marriage Amendment in 2004 and 2006.

Much more after the break.

Here's an excerpt from The Advocate:

"Marriage is not simply a legal arrangement between individuals," he said in a statement after casting his vote. "The institution of marriage is an integral part of our civil society and its significance goes well beyond eligibility for benefits and similar considerations. Its future should not be left to a few overreaching judges or local officials to decide."

Also, as a U.S. representative for Wisconsin's first congressional district, Ryan was more recently faced with a ballot question in his home state on whether to ban marriage equality. He again lined up against marriage equality when asked about the initiative during a February appearance on Meet the Press. At the time, he pointed to President Obama's former opposition to same-sex marriage to help justify his own view, and he cited President Clinton as having signed the Defense of Marriage Act, which the former president no longer supports.

In 2003, Ryan voted in favor of the Marriage Protection Act, which would have prevented federal courts from considering and possibly overturning the Defense of Marriage Act. Romney also backs DOMA.....

One area where the two might differ is on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Ryan voted in 2007 in favor of the law, which would prohibit workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation. Romney was once also in favor of ENDA but appeared to change his mind.

Romney told the Log Cabin Republicans, in 1994, that he would sponsor ENDA if elected to the U.S. Senate. Recently, however, he said ENDA would "open a litigation floodgate and unfairly penalize employers at the hands of activist judges."

Already pundits are essentially giving Ryan a pass on social issues, with Meet The Press' Dick Gregory noting that Ryan didn't want to discuss gay marriage during an appearance and is expected to continue to try to skirt social issues. That's not going to fly as the VP candidate, though. But Ryan will do his best to focus on his budget proposal for 2013. Openly gay Democratic Wisconsin Rep. Tammy Baldwin - who is running for the US Senate, has an analysis of the Ryan budget on her website. Here's an excerpt:

On March 29, 2012, I voted for a budget plan focused on job creation, economic growth, and a balanced approach to deficit reduction. The Democratic Budget was offered as an alternative to the Ryan Budget which would end the guarantee of Medicare and undermine job creation initiatives.

Our nation's budget is a statement of our priorities and values. My test for a budget proposal is whether it is good for middle class Wisconsin families. The Ryan Budget fails that test. In these challenging economic times, our highest priority must be job creation and economic growth. I support a balanced approach to meet our nation's fiscal challenges. We must preserve the Medicare guarantee, provide tax relief for working families, and make the investments necessary to keep our country moving forward.

The Ryan Budget ends the guarantee of Medicare and replaces it with a plan that would provide vouchers for the purchase of insurance that would not keep pace with rising medical costs. It would also make deep cuts to non-defense spending. His plan calls for cuts of $879 billion, but does not specify where those cuts would be made. If made across the board, it would require deep cuts in student loans and slash investments in scientific and medical research.

Baldwin is running unopposed in the Aug. 14 primary - but there are three GOP contenders - including former governor Tommy Thompson. A recent Real Clear Politics average of several recent poll matchups have Baldwin slightly ahead or tied with Thompson. It will be interesting to see how each reacts to the Ryan pick.

tammy-baldwin-on-drought.jpeg

One additional interesting tidbit: neither current representative Paul Ryan nor senate candidate Tommy Thompson has any information or expresses concern on their websites about how the severe drought is impacting the important corn crop in the agricultural state of Wisconsin. Tammy Baldwin, on the other hand, has a bold front page graphic and story. The perception and reality of economics is key to the November elections. I can't help but wonder if Ryan - who talks about limited government and the culture of dependency - might pull a Romney-like flip-flop to ask for federal aid for his home state.


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