So now the battle is joined. Saturday morning Mitt Romney made what is being described as a bold choice for Vice President, Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
“Paul and I are beginning on a journey that will take us to every corner of America,” Romney told thousands of supporters gathered on a muggy morning here, shortly before introducing Ryan and embracing him. “We are offering a positive governing agenda that will lead to economic growth, to widespread and shared prosperity, and that will improve the lives of our fellow citizens. Our plan to strengthen the middle class will get America back to work and get our country back on track.”
The real question is was Paul Ryan the right choice?
From the standpoint of governing the United States, Paul Ryan is a brilliant choice. With the country on the precipice of an economic apocalypse, and the national debt threatening to drive the country into bankruptcy this country could use someone like Ryan as part of the White House decision-making team.
Paul Ryan is a budget geek (my son tells me a geek is a good thing). Even before he became Chairman of the House Budget Committee he was seen as someone who understands the budget backward and forward, and could explain it in a way that could be understood by the American voter.
Ryan is best known for his budget plan that includes
an overhaul of Medicare. Democrats have persistently tried to vilify
that plan as a scheme to “end Medicare as we know it”—a falsehood, but
that really doesn’t matter in politics.
As a politician Congressman Ryan is courageous he attacks the
issues, while important to the future of the country, few on either side
of the political aisle are willing to address.
Remember that famous scene in the movie “A Few Good Men?” The one where Jack Nicholson loses it and screams, “You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth!” Unlike most politicians, Paul Ryan makes the assumption that Americans want its leaders to tell the honest truth about the economic situation and can deal with anything that comes out of that truth.
For years Democrats and Republicans have refused to address our burgeoning entitlement obligations and other budget items that threaten the solvency of our federal government. Even the deals made by the Republican congress and the President over the past three years did not cut spending; they only cut the rate of increase.
With his choice of Ryan,
Romney left the campaign open to more negative attacks from the Obama’s
campaign attacks such as last week’s “Romney gave my wife cancer,”
which ignores issues and drags the political discourse into the gutter.
Romney’s VP pick does not believe in kicking the can down the road, which leaves the door open for attacks. When he introduced the Ryan budget plan, part of which revamps the failing Medicare system— rather than offering their own plan, Democrats countered with a TV commercial picturing a Ryan-look-alike wheeling his grandmother off a cliff.
The attack commercials designed to scare seniors ignored the truth. Ryan’s plan doesn’t affect any current Medicare recipients or those who will be old enough for Medicare during the next ten years. When those younger than 55 are old enough for the program they will be given a few choices (one of which will be the traditional Medicare plan). No Grandmas will be pushed off the cliff.
Romney has his own economic plan, which is different from Ryan’s. The President’s team has also attacked Romney plan without addressing its elements. Their strategy is to create untruths such as the plain raises taxes on the middle class to fund the rich.
Now the rush is on, the Obama camp will rush to define Paul Ryan to the national audience before Paul Ryan can define himself and his own beliefs. The Ryan budget plan, and its Medicare provision will likely to be new focus of Obama’s campaign as they try to get America to believe the Obama picture of the Congressman.
Get used to hearing the word “extremist,” the Democrats and their supporters in the mainstream media will use that word often. Romney and Ryan would have been foolish not have figured a way to blunt the vicious attacks before Saturday’s announcement.
So did Mitt Romney make the right choice in picking Paul Ryan as his vice president? In my humble opinion he did.
The Obama campaign and the mainstream media will unfairly vilify Paul Ryan, which may hurt the Romney effort initially , but the attacks will be offset by renewed enthusiasm by the conservative base of the party.
As the campaign continues Ryan will be able to win over the electorate with his vast knowledge of where the budget “bodies” are buried and his positive can-do attitude. My beltway friends tell me within the halls of Congress, Ryan is sometimes called “the happy warrior,” and his intelligence and work ethic are held in awe by colleges of both parties.
In the overall scheme of things the selection of a running mate only really matters if the choice is a disaster–remember what Senator Eagleton did to McGovern’s candidacy?
Looking at Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan some three plus months before the election, the Chairman of the House Budget Committee is the perfect VP choice for Romney precisely because he is a budget geek. His ability to translate budget issues into “real English” will help the campaign explain their economic policy. More importantly is should Romney win the election, Ryan will be an immensely valuable contributor to his administration in understanding the problems we face, coming up with “out of the box” solutions and creating the policy necessary to fix the American economy and get people back to work.