Palin: Ryan pick makes this an election of competing visions

posted at 5:01 pm on August 12, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Yesterday, after some attempt to stir trouble between the Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan campaign and Sarah Palin, Palin herself wrote a lengthy congratulations to Team Romney over the addition of Paul Ryan to the GOP ticket.  The selection of the Republican Party’s best thinker on fiscal policy and entitlement reform makes it clear that the election will give voters a clear choice between competing visions for the nation.  Palin focused mostly on the vision presented by the Obama/Biden ticket, which she accurately describes as “California, minus the beautiful scenery and warm weather”:

Obama’s America is today’s California – complete with $100 billion taxpayer funded bullet trains to nowhere; out of control environmental extremists who have destroyed family farms and left some of the most fertile farm land in America fallow in order to protect a three inch fish; permanent high unemployment; government policies hostile to small business job creators; crippling high taxes; an abysmal real estate market; bloated government that wastes taxpayer money; endless budget shortfalls due to massive unfunded liabilities; city after city declaring bankruptcy; and a state government run by, in the words of one Wall Street Journal writer, “a brothel of environmentalists, lawyers, public-sector unions and legislative bums.”

We can’t afford Obama’s vision. Our children can’t afford it. Today we are over $15 trillion in debt and running up trillion dollar budget deficits year after year for as far as the eye can see. And our “leaders” have no plan to stop it! President Obama and this Congress don’t even have the fundamental blueprint—a budget!—to outline where they intend to take us as they merrily roll along with their out of control spending and constant increases of our debt “limit.” Our debt to China alone is more than we can ever hope to pay off in multiple generations. Such debt and dependence on foreign nations weakens us in countless ways. And yet our government keeps on spending despite the risks and despite conscientious, hardworking citizens telling them to just stop it. Our debt is growing by $3 million per minute. This debt, in conjunction with Obama’s massive government over-reaches like Obamacare, has strangled the private sector, which in turn has stifled job growth and slowed all economic growth. The only way to get our country moving again is to get back to basics like normal people do with our home and small business budgets! That means we must live within our means, get government out of the way of our job creators, develop the God-given natural resources we have been blessed with to provide real jobs and real energy security, and stop growing government and wasting taxpayer money on D.C. cronyism and useless stimulus kick-backs for favored donors.

Barack Obama’s record is one of dismal failure, which is why he isn’t talking about it. He would rather spend his time demonizing his opponents. The simple fact remains that Mitt Romney is not responsible for the dire state of our economy or the corruption and incompetence of the current administration.

This is, I believe, why Romney chose Ryan as his running mate: to refocus the election on substance and issues.  Already we’re seeing Obama’s surrogates fanning out on the morning talk shows to paint Ryan as anti-woman and anti-working class, but that will change when the debate shifts to Ryan’s proposals for entitlement reform.  To attack those, Obama and his campaign have to talk specifics, and Ryan will be well prepared for that — and as we’ve seen in the past, more prepared than Obama or his team.

As I wrote for CNN in a column published last night, Romney has declared an end to silly season, and will force Obama to start defending his own record:

Democrats may be licking their chops, believing that Ryan’s unpopular budget plan will be a millstone around Romney’s neck. However, Democrats would have hung the Ryan plan on Romney no matter who got the VP nod, and no one explains the need for budgetary reform better than Ryan himself. In fact, hardly anyone will talk specifically about how to accomplish budgetary reform. Ryan is one of the few who have risked proposing a roadmap for entitlement reform. Ryan’s plan looks far past the “Taxmageddon” or “fiscal cliff” at the end of this year, to the “fiscal gap” facing the United States over the next 75 years, where our current path puts us on a trajectory to have $222 trillion more in liabilities than revenue.

Barack Obama and the Democratic Party have no serious proposal to deal with long-term debt. The plan Obama has to “pay down the debt” in a “balanced” way would add $6.4 trillion in deficits between 2013 and 2022, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Democrats’ idea of budgetary reform is to demand an increase in taxes on people making more than $250,000 a year — a policy that the Tax Foundation, a research group that favors lower taxes, says would produce $40 billon a year in new revenue, in budgets with trillion-dollar annual deficits. …

And speaking of seriousness, let’s not forget that the Democratic-controlled Senate has gone more than 1,200 days without passing its own budget. Ryan, who chairs the House Budget Committee, has at least fulfilled the legal obligation for annual budget resolutions in the lower chamber, but he’s gone far beyond that to provide leadership on the long-term fiscal crisis facing the nation.

That contrast led to a confrontation last February between Ryan and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner over the lack of long-term solutions coming from the White House, in which Geithner finally told Ryan, “We don’t have a definitive solution to the long term problem. What we do know is, we don’t like yours…”

More than anything else, the pick of the GOP’s top thinker on fiscal policy demonstrates leadership, while Geithner’s vacuous response in February demonstrates the lack of leadership in the Obama administration.  They’re out of ideas.  Romney and Ryan aren’t.  If the campaign comes down to Broad Ideas for Fiscal Reform vs Look A Squirrel, Democrats won’t be licking their chops for long.

John Tamny at Forbes wrote this weekend that Ryan was the only choice Romney had if he wants to make this election about the economy, and the safest as well:

Media accounts will suggest that the Ryan pick had a bold, go-for-broke quality to it, but in truth Ryan was the safest selection of all.

He was the safest because in an election all about the U.S. economy, Ryan is the most suited among the names floated to make a strong case for removing the barriers to economic growth erected by Republican (George W. Bush) and Democratic (Barack Obama) administrations over the last 12 years. Romney himself, though a smashing success as a businessman, has struggled to make a coherent economic argument; his 59 point economic plan all the evidence one needs that the GOP presidential nominee needs help tightening up what should be a very simple economic message.

Paul Ryan could make the above arguments in his sleep, and for being able to, he was the only – and once again the safest – choice for Romney. This column for quite some time has said President Obama’s time in the White House will amount to four years, and the pick of Ryan makes that even more certain.

And Timothy Dalrymple makes the case that Romney chose the best man for the actual job, and not just for the campaign:

George W. Bush did not choose Dick Cheney because he was a brilliant campaigner; he was not.  He chose Dick Cheney because he believed that Cheney would help him govern well.  Similarly, Mitt Romney has an eye not only toward winning the power of the presidency, but toward leveraging that power to put American back on a sound financial footing.

It always frustrates me when people speak of the calculus of the VP pick solely in terms of electability.  The choice of a Vice President ought to be about more than winning.  It ought to be about putting together the best possible team for the good of the country.  It ought to be less about doing yourself a favor and more about doing right by the country.  With Romney’s experience in business and the governor’s office, and Ryan’s experience in legislation and budget, they do make a compelling “Comeback Team” for America as it weathers some of the worst economic storms in generations.

Silly season is over.  It’s time to get back to the serious work of reforming the federal government, and the first reform is making Barack Obama a one-term President.


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