Mitt Romney Picks Paul Ryan for Vice President
August 11, 2012
Romney announced his running mate this morning: Congressman Paul Ryan.
A few days ago, when everyone was speculating about who it would be, I read National Review editor Rich Lowry in Politico arguing that, contrary to what some critics were saying, Paul Ryan could be a great choice, not least because he is the face of the desperate effort to save America from “the most predictable crisis in history”:
Ryan tops the Democratic target list for the offense of proposing serious reform of Medicare, as part of a budget that puts federal obligations on a sustainable path. It’s been a cardinal rule of Republican politics that it’s OK to talk about balancing the budget, so long as no one talks about touching the entitlements that drive the long-term debt. Ryan broke the rule.
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Ryan is an ideologue in the best sense of the term. He is motivated by ideas and knows what he believes and why. But he’s not blinkered. He is an explainer and a persuader.
Before there was a House-passed Ryan budget, there was Ryan meeting with Republican freshmen, walking them through the numbers and convincing them that true fiscal restraint was impossible without addressing entitlements. When the House took up and passed his budget, there was Ryan plugging for it — as comfortable with Charlie Rose as Rush Limbaugh.
. . . He is invariably civil, sure-footed and good-natured. He never loses his cool, even under extreme provocation. If anything, he is over-earnest.
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Romney is, at bottom, a data-driven technocrat. The question has always been whether he wants to bring that skill to managing the federal government — or transforming it. If he chooses Ryan, the answer is inarguably transforming it.
He says, “The country will not accept a permanent class of technocrats that will diminish freedom, enhance crony capitalism, and allow the economy to enter some sort of managed decline.”
The National Review editors call Ryan “an inspired choice”, one that guarantees this campaign will be about ideas.
Romney could have decided to run a vague and vacuous campaign based on the idea that the public would default to the out party in a bad economy. By selecting Ryan, he has ensured that the campaign will instead to a significant degree be about a conservative governing agenda.
. . . Romney has . . . selected as his running mate the Republican most identified with replacing Obamacare with a free-market alternative.
. . . One strength he brings to the ticket is a grounding in the social teaching of the Catholic Church, to which he belongs, and a willingness to engage with those who thoughtlessly equate this teaching with support for an ever-expanding welfare state. These traits could have more than parochial interest this year, because a disproportionate number of Catholic voters are up for grabs.
Mark Steyn suggests, “This election represents the last exit ramp before the death spiral.” With Paul Ryan part of the alternative to President Obama, at least we have a choice.
Update (August 11th, 2012): Hot Air writers weigh in:
Erika Johnsen: “Could free enterprise get its groove back?”
Paul Ryan is one of the few politicians who has dared to suggest comprehensive, viable solutions to our dramatically unsustainable national spending habits. That is a good thing, and if we can frame it simply and correctly (ay, there’s the rub!), I think people will respond in the positive.
Democrats tried to proactively damage Ryan’s standing with voters by depicting him pushing an elderly woman off of a cliff in May 2011, when Ryan first proposed his comprehensive, long-term budget reform package in May 2011.
. . . Among unaffiliated voters, Ryan scores a 36/22 favorability, compared to 31/29 for Bobby Jindal, 26/28 for Tim Pawlenty, and a dismal 15/16 for Rob Portman. (Rice was 63/19 among indies.) Ryan also scores best among women, albeit with a narrow 29/25 edge.
. . . Despite the attacks on Ryan over his budget plan, he’s easily the most liked of the short-listers among likely voters 65 years of age and over, with a 52/29 favorability rating. .. . Jindal did well, too, with a 44/28, as did Pawlenty with a 40/30 and Portman at 37/26, but Ryan’s draw among seniors outpaced all of them. Ryan has plenty of room to be defined in either direction with 35% of voters overall not having an opinion, but that’s only true of 20% of seniors — and Ryan already has a majority of them on his side.
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Update: Commenter Florah Duh reminds me that seniors actually liked Ryan’s plan best, according to a Gallup poll in 2011 . . . .
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