Most of the political pundits seem to think that the pick of Paul Ryan is an attempt by Romney to shore up his right flank, and there is validity to that. He’s pretty solidly conservative on most issues, whether the question is fiscal, military or social.
Ryan, like most Republicans in the House, got a failing grade from the Secular Coalition for America. And he has an almost perfect record of being anti-gay in every possible respect. He voted twice for the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would have banned same-sex marriage on a national level. He voted for a bill that would have prohibited gay people from adopting children in Washington, DC. And he voted against allowing LGBT soldiers to serve openly in the military.
The one vote in the other direction is that he did once vote for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, but he’s also contradicted that stance many times. In 1994 he apparently even promised that he would sponsor ENDA if he were elected to the Senate, but in the last few years he has said that the law would open up a floodgate of lawsuits and said that he didn’t think the law was needed.
On questions of spending, he is viewed as perhaps the leading fiscal conservative in Congress. But even there, his record is hardly perfect. He seems to suddenly discover “fiscal responsibility” when a Democrat is in the White House. When Bush was in office, he voted for the Medicare Part D proposal, with hundreds of billions in unfunded mandates that increased the debt, and he also voted in favor of TARP, which is the law that sparked the entire Tea Party movement.
Bottom line: there’s a lot for the right to like, even with some diversions from orthodoxy. But there’s a lot for those of us who want a secular country that fosters equality to hate.