After a week marred by a not-ready-for-prime-time staffer who had movement conservatives questioning Team Romney’s competence, sanity, and willingness to fight the brass-knuckles White House and Chicago thug operatives, the Romney campaign made the right decision.
And the Right decision…
Paul Ryan is fresh, young, energetic, smart, courageous, and ready for prime time.
Paul Ryan is a policy wonk AND a front-line warrior whose budget and long-term entitlement reforms have the entire Dem-Soros-lapdog media machine unhinged…
Paul Ryan won’t cut and run when the going gets tough.
Romney-Ryan are firmly offering to complete the Reagan Revolution by a) modernizing the social safety net so that it is fiscally sustainable and increases economic mobility and true economic security, and b) reforming the tax code so that it boosts economic growth and reduces crony capitalism. The 21st century would be the American Century, led by a growing, prosperous, confident nation whose government enables the private sector to innovate rather than crowding it out. The American Experiment would be revitalized, fueled by the spirit of democratic capitalism.
As Ryan said earlier today when announced as Romney’s pick, “We can turn this thing around. We can.”
Ryan refutes the Democratic Party’s bogus arguments. He knows that our domestic spending trajectory is unsustainable and that liberals who fail to get it under control are leading their constituents over a cliff, just like in Europe. Eventually, you can’t borrow enough money to make good on your promises, and everyone’s screwed. Ryan understands that the longer we ignore the debt crisis and postpone serious budget cuts—the liberal equivalent of denying global warming—the more painful the reckoning will be. There’s nothing compassionate about that kind of irresponsibility…
Screw the polls. Republicans will be on the right side of the spending debate. They’ll be on the right side of the substance debate, too. Instead of bickering about Romney’s tax returns and repeating the obvious but unhelpful observation that the unemployment rate sucks, we’ll actually have to debate serious problems and solutions. That’s great for the country…
It speaks enormously well for Romney that he made this choice. It tells me he’d run the country the same way he ran Massachusetts: as a prudent, numbers-oriented businessman.
Romney’s decision to tap Ryan, the idea man of the Republican Party, is a challenge to President Obama.
In 2008, the central component of Obama’s meteoric rise was that politics had become too cynical and small, and that it was important to have a more substantive debate on the pressing issues facing the nation. His appeal to independents was rooted in this very idea. In the current campaign, Obama has decided that in the face of a weak economy and tepid approval ratings, his path to victory rests on destroying Romney. But with the Ryan pick, Obama has been given a chance to have a substantive debate. After all, it was Obama that helped elevate Ryan in January 2010, when he picked him out of the crowd to acknowledge the congressman had produced a “serious proposal” to address entitlements, even though he disagreed with it.
It is true that Democrats are licking their chops. And that they will claim a vote for them is a vote to save Medicare. But that’s misguided.
Put another way: Because Obamacare already messes with entitlements, there is greater urgency for reforming the entitlement system. That is, Obama and Biden are the ones who touched entitlements, and Romney and Ryan are coming in to fix them…
Romney has been hinting at this message for some time: Under the presidency of Barack Obama, the United States has fallen into decline. The entitlement problem hasn’t just remained the same; the problems have been exacerbated.
The country needs real changes to restore American greatness. A vote for Obama-Biden is a vote for unsustainability. A vote for Romney-Ryan is a vote for change, and therefore hope that America’s best days are ahead. Or, we might say, Team Romney is all about hope and change — a campaign theme that is known to work rather well!
Ryan will help Romney govern. If the Republican ticket triumphs in November, having Ryan on-side will help Romney, a non-Washingtonian, navigate the complexities of Capitol Hill. But here it’s important to keep in mind that Ryan is an ideologue and a Beltway wheeler-dealer, attuned to both the possibilities for bipartisanship (recall that his latest Medicare proposal is co-sponsored with a Senate Democrat) and the need to sometimes swallow hard and take one for the team (hence those Bush-era votes for TARP and Medicare Part D). Thus if Romney wants to push an aggressive agenda in his first hundred days or year in office, Ryan will be a natural point person — but if the Romney White House then needs to compromise well short of conservative objectives, Ryan will be capable of negotiating the deal and ready and willing to sell it to a reluctant base. What’s more, having Ryan as a loyal administration foot soldier (whose own presidential ambitions are bound up in Romney’s success) will prevent the Wisconsin congressman from setting up a rival center of power within the party, or becoming a locus of conservative dissent. Some conservatives may think that the Ryan choice brought Romney permanently on-side for their ambitions. But it’s also possible that the choice will ultimately be remembered as the moment when Romney co-opted conservatives instead.
“Going big has risks, but fewer than going small,” a top Romney adviser told POLITICO early Saturday, after news of the decision broke. “Now this is a race about what the future’s going to look like. … This was all Mitt’s decision. These are two guys who love data, and have a similar way of looking at the world. … Mitt isn’t thinking about Ohio or the Hispanic vote. He’s thinking: ‘I’m gonna be president. Who’s going to help me succeed?’”…
Perhaps so, but Romney and his aides have a lot of questions to answer: If being ready to govern on Day One was the chief criteria, how did Romney, who has scant foreign policy and national security experience himself, overcome the objection that his vice president would have even less? If the basis of Romney’s campaign is that he is a business-minded Washington outsider, what attracted him to someone like Ryan, who has been in Washington since his twenties and has no business or executive experience?
One Obama backer privately said — not the least bit in jest — that the campaign could now siphon off cash donations for margarita machines, because there was so much to celebrate between now and Election Day.
Another Democratic operative declared the election effectively over — that Ryan was the self-hammered nail in Romney’s own coffin.
“They chose a candidate who is 42, but looks 22, and is a professional Washington politician,” said Democratic strategist Chris Kofinis, a top adviser to John Edwards’ 2008 campaign and former chief of staff to Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. “He helps Romney with not a single state, not a single demographic and he won’t turn a single undecided vote around. He also destroys Romney’s argument that professional Washington insiders and politicians aren’t qualified to govern. He’s a disastrous pick that proves the Romney and Republicans are stuck in some kind of time capsule where they think they can win elections by debating obscure conservative theory.”
This probably improves Obama’s chances of winning. The Ryan plan doesn’t exactly have a great track record winning elections: It played a large role in the Republicans’ defeat in a special election in upstate New York in early 2011. Romney’s path to victory involves winning an outsized share of downscale white voters, and this plan presumably makes that task more difficult. Again, maybe the focus-group testing shows that opposition to the president is so strong among these voters that it just doesn’t matter, but I don’t think I’d bet the farm on this.
In fact, it opens up an Obama landslide scenario for the first time. I’ve always thought that Obama wouldn’t be able to win more than a two-to-three-point re-election victory, mainly because a president almost never wins the votes of people who disapprove of the job that he is doing, and Obama’s approval rating is unlikely to be much above 50 percent on Election Day. But, while I don’t think it’s guaranteed, this really does give Democrats an opportunity to make Romney so radioactive that people who don’t like the president nevertheless vote for him. If the white working class revolts at the prospect of the Ryan plan, Obama really could match, or even exceed, his 2008 showing.
These types of picks rarely end well. When we think back on the “bold” or “unexpected” picks in history, they rarely have good outcomes.
Democrats will have to be smart. They should show respect for Ryan for being a serious guy, but then just explain to people, urgently but not over-heatedly, what he’s proposed. It’s just very hard to imagine that middle-of-the-road voters want harsh future cuts to Medicare, massive tax cuts for the rich, and huge reductions to domestic programs that most swing voters really don’t hate. Does this choice work in Florida, with all those old people? If Romney just sacrificed Florida, he’s lost the election already.
And why? To placate a party that doesn’t even want him as its nominee anyway. It’s psycho-weird. But at least it will carry the benefit, if this ticket loses, of keeping conservatives from griping that they lost because their ticket was too moderate. Conservatism will share — will own — this loss.
Is all that “daring”? Well, Thelma and Louise were “daring” too, but they ended up at the bottom of a canyon. If the Democrats handle this situation properly, that’s where this ticket will end up too, and then the rest of us—the people who don’t want federal policy to be based on Atlas Shrugged—can finally and fully press the case to the right that America is not behind you, and please grow up.
Romney has all but put a neon sign above his campaign headquarters saying, “We are terrified.” There is no other reason for Mr. Play-it-Safe to take such a risk, unless the campaign was desperate. He clearly felt pressed to make a “bold” choice that would be a game changer, and he fell under the sway of the conservative intelligentsia who are in love with Ryan. In short: He got rolled. Conservatives persuaded him to choose their man, a choice that is great for the conservative movement and for Ryan, who will now be set up for a future presidential run, but terrible for Romney…
Ryan’s boosters say he is a great pick because he excites the base. Who cares? Obama has more than taken care of that. Conservatives are voting for Romney not because they love him, but because they hate Obama. Romney’s strongest appeal was that he is really a pretty moderate governor from Massachusetts who could appeal to swing voters who are unhappy with Obama. No more: Moderate voters in focus groups have been repelled by the Ryan plan.
Many pundits are claiming this choice is going to make the election about “big ideas.” If only. Perhaps the political class will continue to argue about how to deal with the fiscal calamity that is our country, but the campaign will be fought mostly through vicious micro-targeted advertising, which hasn’t generally been known for fostering rich debates among the electorate.
So long, Mitt. We hardly knew ye.