After the last balloon fell at the Republican convention in Tampa, Fla., last night, German media delivered their verdict on the now-official Romney-Ryan ticket. Despite the fact that the convention focused on the crowning of Mitt Romney, it was really his sidekick, Paul Ryan, that grabbed German attention.
As Mr. Romney has been campaigning for years to get his shot at the White House, he is a well-known name in Germany. His big acceptance speech, however, still hit the news, given that he is the one challenging President Obama, who is still highly popular overseas.
The Munich based Sueddeutsche Zeitung gave Romney credit for a solid speech, but summed up its take with its headline: "Romney wants to take America back to the past." The weekly Die Zeit was less polite, wondering in its online election blog: "who the hell has written that speech for Romney?" It gave him only 5 out of 10 possible points for his performance.
But much of the comment was about Ryan. Germany is still trying to figure out who that 42-year-old politician with the college boy look is – and what influence he would have in a potential Romney administration.
The daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung stated what many thought: that Paul Ryan is a far better speaker than Romney. Spiegel Online comments in its editorial that Ryan is "more dangerous than Sarah Palin" because his ideas would be a declaration of war on America's social welfare. The Hamburg-based online publication showed concern that Ryan could lead the Republican party more to the right for years to come, even if team Romney-Ryan fails at winning the White House.
'Ryan is the real king'
The business paper Handelsblatt made an even stronger statement, suggesting that once in the White House, the Romney/Ryan administration could become more of a "Ryan/Romney presidency." The Berlin daily Der Tagesspiegel drew a similar conclusion, saying that Ryan could become the next president in 2016 if Obama wins over Romney: "Ryan is the real king."
Concerns about Ryan's ideas aside, he is regarded as a smart politician and is given credit for at least having a plan for solving the economic crisis (even if it's not well received) – which German commentators so far don't see in the Romney campaign.