"I'm as pro-life as a person gets. … I'm never going to not vote pro-life." —Paul Ryan
When Condoleezza Rice's name turned up in the Republican running mate rumor mill, I was disheartened. Her position on the issues matters, not her race. Rice is "mildly" pro-abortion, and she supports racial preferences, a practice in which our government treats individuals differently based on the color of their skin. Would Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney risk aliening social conservatives?
When Romney announced Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., as his running mate Saturday, I breathed the proverbial sigh of relief. The 42-year-old, married-with-children social conservative unequivocally opposes the redefinition of marriage. Ryan voted for the Federal Marriage Amendment, and he supports the Defense of Marriage Act (signed into law by President Bill Clinton). He also opposes homosexual couples adopting. Ryan backed his state's effort to amend the state constitution to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Opponents challenged Wisconsin's law, but the state's highest court ruled it constitutional in 2010.
Ryan believes unborn babies deserve protection. "I support the rights of the unborn child," he wrote in an article posted on his website. "Personally, I believe that life begins at conception, and it is for that reason that I feel we need to protect that life as we would protect other children."
Some sources, including President Obama via his Twitter account, report that Ryan opposes abortion even if the unborn baby was conceived during rape or incest, an "extreme" pro-life view I share. He co-sponsored the Sanctity of Life Act, which states that a fertilized egg "shall have all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood." He opposes using taxpayer funds to kill unborn babies.
Ryan is a fiscal conservative, a plus for Republicans who believe those issues are more important. He wants to reform Medicaid and Medicare to save money and to give recipients more choices. WORLD's Jamie Dean wrote:
"As the architect of a fiscally conservative national budget that would cut trillions from federal spending, and a champion of reforms to the bleeding Medicaid and Social Security programs, Ryan represented what some pundits considered the less safe choice for Romney—a candidate who Democrats could paint as extreme."
Liberals paint most Republicans as extreme. Anybody who wants lower taxes is extreme. Anybody who believes our government should be race-neutral is extreme. The name of the political game is to divide and conquer by any means necessary. If Romney had picked Rice, for instance, they'd use her race to divide and conquer. Instead, he picked an arguably safe, relatively young, photogenic, social and fiscal conservative man and steered clear of a risky or "history-making" selection.
Romney and Obama have been fairly even in the polls. According to the Politico-George Washington University Battleground Poll, Obama leads Romney 48 percent to 47 percent. Ryan stands in sharp contrast to the gaffe-prone Joe Biden. Will he give Romney the edge he needs for November?