Of course the spin this morning is that the Paul Ryan pick shows Romney is committed to serious fiscal reform and budgetary sanity. That spin is correct, but overlooks something just as important. Paul Ryan’s selection also appeals to perhaps the second most important constituency after fiscal hawks – Catholics in swing states.
Paul Ryan will be only the second Catholic ever to appear on the Republican Presidential ticket, and the first since William Miller almost a half century ago. Catholics in Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Florida and Iowa will decide this election, rightfully so given Obama’s attack on Catholic religious freedom.
Ryan’s pick broadly energizes all parts of the Republican Party in ways few could – not Bob McDonnell, not Chris Christie, not Condoleezza Rice. Ryan is strongly pro-life. He has fought against Obama’s infringement of religious liberty. He is willing to fight for Conservative principles, not rush to the comfortable center. He represents Tea Party values. He is the perfect pick.
Catholic voters will ultimately decide this election in those key swing states. Not only has Ryan championed the Church’s position on Obamacare, he can also speak to those Catholics still stuck in the leftist orthodoxy of the past that think the government is the best conduit for Christian charity. Democrats confident they can attack Ryan using the old playbook may wish Romney had chosen someone else before long.