Mitt Romney’s decision to put Paul Ryan on the White House ticket has seemingly done that rarest of things in American politics: delighted both sides of the party divide in equal measure.
Republican grandees gushed over the youngish star of the GOP, even those – such as former House speaker Newt Gingrich – who had previously dismissed his tax plan as “right-wing social engineering”.
Meanwhile many Democrats were also whooping it up over the decision, in the belief that the pick would be unpopular with the public at large due to the swingeing spending cuts Ryan proposes.
Bill Burton, a former White House staffer and founder of leading Obama Super Pac Priorities USA, tweeted: “Romney picked one of the only people who could have had an impact in the race. But, not the way he wants.”
It was a view that many shared.
Over at the Washington Post, liberal-leaning columnist Ezra Klein suggested that the move could play into president Barack Obama’s hands.
He wrote: “Romney’s original intention was to make the 2012 election a referendum on President Obama’s management of the economy. Ryan makes it a choice between two competing plans for deficit reduction.
“This election increasingly resembles the Obama campaign’s strategy rather than the Romney campaign’s strategy.”
Meanwhile, Timothy Noah at the New Republic described the VP pick as a “fantastic stroke of luck” for Obama.
“Presidents presiding over the sort of economy we have right now don’t usually get re-elected. But a president handed the opportunity to run against a GOP ticket that’s unabashedly in favor of abolishing Medicare – something even the Tea Party opposes – would probably win in November,” Noah wrote.
There was no immediate reaction from the White House. But Jim Messina, Obama’s campaign manager, took little time before he went on the offensive.
“As a member of Congress, Ryan rubber-stamped the reckless Bush economic policies that exploded our deficit and crashed our economy. Now the Romney-Ryan ticket would take us back by repeating the same, catastrophic mistakes,” he said
Many commentators have suggested that plumping for Ryan was a ‘high risk, high reward’ strategy.