I was out of the house all morning and didn’t have a chance until now to blog about Mitt Romney’s pick of Paul Ryan as a running mate. But now I have time, and I must say: Ryan is an excellent pick.
I have made a few mentions during the past couple of months about my enthusiasm for putting Bobby Jindal on the ticket, and I still think he would have made a good choice. But he and Ryan, who for a long time didn’t appear to be on Romney’s short list, are like a No. 1 and No. 1a for me.
Some people will say Ryan is a risky pick because he has laid out the most detailed plan of just about any elected official — from either of the two major parties — about how to put Washington’s fiscal house in order. That means he brings a lot of targets with him onto the ticket, about Medicare in particular. To those people I say: You are crazy if you think the Obama campaign wasn’t going to make Romney answer for Ryan’s plan anyway.
For one thing, Romney already had endorsed the biggest aspects of the Ryan road map. For another, it’s already abundantly clear that the Obama campaign, which has already suggested Romney is a felon and tried to pin a woman’s death on him, considers nothing off-limits in this race. Romney could have disavowed Ryan’s plan altogether, and there still would have been a TV ad at some point showing Romney helping Ryan push Granny off a cliff.
So, I don’t think the risk is as great as you might be led to believe. But the potential reward is all there.
Paul Ryan has been the face of the GOP on these issues for more than two years now, and he has proven unafraid of taking arguments about taxes, spending, deficits, debt and entitlements straight to President Obama. He will boost tea-party enthusiasm about the GOP ticket, and he might be just the edge Romney needs to win in key Midwestern swing states: not just his home state of Wisconsin, but also Ohio, Michigan and perhaps Minnesota and even Pennsylvania. Giving him a national platform to talk about these issues and his plans to address them, and putting the Romney stamp of approval on those plans, means Obama won’t have to answer only about his mediocre record in office. He’ll also, finally, have to tell us exactly how he would tackle these problems.
Sorry, Mr. President, but the Buffett Rule won’t be enough.
It’s incredible, really, that the man who has presided over three straight trillion-dollar budget deficits, and whose proposed budgets make no attempt to rein them in, has been allowed to skate by as easily as he has on this topic. Even Obama’s own party, which still controls the Senate, makes no attempt to work with his budget proposals, much less approve them. He is very vulnerable on this issue.
Mitt Romney is not going to win a popularity contest, and he’s not going to win a small-issues election. Michael Dukakis tried to win on “competence” and couldn’t even beat George “The Vision Thing” Bush. Even the stagnant economy is not enough to put Romney in the White House — although he must still keep hammering at that issue. Incumbent presidents lose when the public thinks the challenger has a better idea of where to take us, and how to get there. Putting Ryan on the ticket means Romney intends to fight a big-issues election, and that he has the running mate to help him lay out that vision.
– By Kyle Wingfield