Ryan is a conservative Republican congressman representing Wisconsin’s 1st District. He’s been in office since 1999 and, as near as I can tell, hasn’t accomplished that much. On the other hand, he’s a darling among the Tea Party crowd, and apparently loves himself up some Ayn Rand. No accounting for taste, I guess.
One of the reasons to pick a particular person for vice-president is to help win the state they are from. Ryan is from Wisconsin, which is, at present, a swing state. It does vacillate somewhat between red and blue. They have an infamous Republican governor right now, but a strong legacy of Progressive governors. But frankly with the problems the governor there stirred up a couple years back…well, I don’t see it going red this time around. Plus unemployment is well under the national average, so I don’t see people voting for Romney out of economic concerns.
I think part of why Romney picked Ryan is to boost his standing with the conservatives who currently don’t trust Romney. Ryan may help with that, but at the cost of independent voters, who might very well be turned off by his conservative stances on many issues.
Ultimately I don’t think there’s anyone Romney could have really picked that would have helped much with this race. He seems to be doing worse and worse as time goes on, and as it stands right now, Obama would likely win in November. This could, of course, change, but I think Romney missed a real chance to pick someone different from the previous candidates. Instead we have the whitest man ever to run for the presidency picking another very white man to run alongside him.
And, for the record, that really goofy-looking picture is his official portrait. So, yeah.