Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan won the big prize, chosen by former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney to be his running mate in the 2012 election battle. Oddly enough, Ryan is already disappearing on the campaign trail, skipping a Florida stop expected to be a little bristly for the man credited with trying to kill Medicare. Romney, meanwhile, is distancing himself from the key attribute Ryan offers to the GOP–a budget plan that decimates the social safety net.
The uncomfortable dynamic of the ticket leaves many scratching their heads and wondering, “If this was the best match, what was wrong with the others?” Well, here is what we know so far about the “might have beens.”
Perhaps the biggest shocker is the passing over of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. But could it have been Christie who turned down Romney, and not the other way around? According to the New York Post, the deal soured when Christie refused to give up his governor’s gig in order to secure his spot on the ticket.
Romney didn’t have to worry about that issue with Ryan, it seems. Ryan gets to double dip, the New York Times reports, with a double shot on the election ballot. If he loses his White House bid, he can still keep his House seat. If he wins, and he wins reelection, too, then they will hold a special election to replace him.
Ryan also made enough tax returns available to hedge off any potential criticism (how much is “enough?” Well, more than Romney has been willing to provide to the public.).
Former Minnesota Governor Tom Pawlenty had the tax returns to run, too, and no job to speak of, so why did he get blown off? That may have had less to do with the campaign than Romney himself, who is said to have made the final decision when it came to who he wanted. According to Buzzfeed:
“Romney’s aides have stressed publicly in the 24 hours since Romney electrified conservatives with his choice that the pick was the governor’s alone. They have been less forthcoming on the flip side: That much of his staff opposed the choice for the same reason that many pundits considered it unlikely — that Ryan’s appealingly wonky public image and a personality Romney finds copasetic will matter far less than two different budget plans whose details the campaign now effectively owns.”
Pawlenty once again has lost out to an extreme conservative that gets the base roaring. Always a bridesmaid, Tim, always a bridesmaid.