In choosing Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as his running mate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney not only surprised the political world late Friday night, but he has become a different candidate for president over night.
He is suddenly someone willing to take a risk, someone offering specifics instead of generalities, and someone willing to sell his own agenda to the voters instead of trying to bash his way into the Oval Office. And by embracing Ryan, and the controversial policy heft he brings to the ticket, Romney is now a serious candidate who has displayed true leadership — the willingness to do something politically dangerous because he believes it is the right thing to do…
Romney has shown now he doesn’t plan to try and win by default. He has chosen the best person, likely the only person, who can convince an anxious electorate of the need to swallow some dreadful medicine. If Ryan can’t do it, then it’s likely nobody can.
Many close aides had been lobbying for the low-risk, non-objectionable Pawlenty, arguing that the two could run as outsiders, taking on Washington…
Instead, Romney went for one of the most prominent faces in Washington. “Do no harm,” the campaign’s longtime philosophy about choosing a ticket mate, had suddenly become: “Let’s take a chance.” For several weeks, top aides had seen that Romney was learning toward bold over safe.
“Chemistry, seriousness, bigness,” said one of Romney’s closest advisers, when asked what sealed the deal for Ryan. “Win with a mandate to fix what needed to be fixed.”
Romney is rolling the dice on a bet that voters crave “substance” — in this case, a deep debate about the deficit and entitlement cuts that Romney himself has mostly dodged up to this point…
For the GOP’s conservative base, Ryan’s entry holds the tantalizing promise of elevating Romney’s game, inciting a debate on the familiar and friendly battlefield of the tea party-dominated 2010 midterms.
The 42-year-old Wisconsin congressman “knows the game — he knows math — he knows exactly what the country needs,” said Alan Simpson, the former Republican senator from Wyoming Obama tapped to co-chair his deficit commission.
“There will be an adult conversation, therefore the children will throw emotion, fear, guilt, and racism on him,” he added. “They will bomb him, bomb him, shell him coastline and bunker, and he will survive. He has facts. He uses math. He’s damn good. He’s excellent.”
Three years ago, the Tea Party movement emerged as a way of protesting Mr. Obama’s health care legislation. Members followed up with a wave of political victories in the 2010 midterm elections that gave the movement a strong — if not always organized and coherent — voice in the Congress.
Now, Mr. Ryan’s place on the national ticket testifies to the staying power of the Tea Party ideology and provides a single person around which the movement can coalesce. When he delivers his remarks at the Republican National Convention in Tampa later this month, Mr. Ryan will be speaking for the Tea Party as much as anyone else…
[E]very movement needs someone to help it focus. For the Tea Party, Mr. Ryan appears to be that man.
Romney embraced Ryan after the sociopathic — indifferent to the truth — ad for Barack Obama that is meretricious about every important particular of the death from cancer of the wife of steelworker Joe Soptic. Obama’s desperate flailing about to justify four more years has sunk into such unhinged smarminess that Romney may have concluded: There is nothing Obama won’t say about me, because he has nothing to say for himself, so I will chose a running mate whose seriousness about large problems and ideas underscores what the president has become — silly and small…
When Ryan said in Norfolk, “We won’t replace our Founding principles, we will reapply them,” he effectively challenged Obama to say what Obama believes, which is: Madison was an extremist in enunciating the principles of limited government — the enumeration and separation of powers. And Jefferson was an extremist in asserting that government exists not to grant rights but to “secure” natural rights that pre-exist government.
Romney’s selection of a running mate was, in method and outcome, presidential. It underscores how little in the last four years merits that adjective.
Beneath Messina’s distortions lies a real and important debate. Is our welfare state basically healthy, just in need of a few tweaks to restore its fiscal health? Democrats believe, or claim to believe, that if we just raised taxes on the rich and let experts redirect Medicare spending, we could keep the open- ended entitlement programs on which we have come to rely.
Republicans, on the other hand, tend to think that our entitlement programs are structurally flawed in a way that neither tax increases nor better management can solve. Republicans do not want to abolish these entitlements. Their view is that they should be limited, and made to work with rather than against markets.
The Democratic view has a strong base of support among voters. Even those who share the Republican view, as I do, cannot be sure it will win in the court of public opinion. If Romney and Ryan do prevail in November, it will mean that voters accept the need to modernize the welfare state — and this election will end up having been the most important one since 1980.
[B]y making this choice, Mitt Romney is declaring war. There will be no evasion, no triangulation, no attempt to mask what is at stake in this election. Instead, Romney and Ryan will directly confront Barack Obama and call him to account for putting us on a ruinous course.
This will alter radically the dynamics of the race. The money spent by Obama trying to demonize Governor Romney will prove to be money entirely wasted. The election is not going to be about Mitt Romney. It is not going to be about the sexual revolution. It is not going to be about Bain Capital. It is going to be about the failed policies of Barack Obama, about their dangerous character, and about the sober, sound alternative the Republicans represent.
This will help the Republicans in Senate and House races immeasurably, for it will give Romney and Ryan coattails — now, without a doubt, the candidates in these other races have something concrete on which to run: repeal Obamacare, pare back the entitlements state, reform our system of taxation, and put our fiscal house in order. No one will doubt the capacity of the Republicans to rule.
I have predicted that Romney will win by a landslide. The choice of Paul Ryan means that Romney has chosen the path that will maximize the significance of his victory and its impact on the races for seats in the House and Senate.
“The race is now framed exactly as we want it,” said Kevin Madden, a senior Romney adviser. “Voters are going to judge our current struggling economy and President Obama’s lack of leadership on that issue very harshly, and then look at a Romney-Ryan ticket as an opportunity to take the country in a bold new direction towards a better future.”…
What Mr. Obama found appealing, the notion of a man of ideas willing to make tough choices, is what he now will need to devalue him. While Democrats openly crowed that Mr. Ryan was the choice they had hoped for because of the sharp contrast, they acknowledged he is a young, attractive, well-spoken politician who explains his plan better than his fellow Republicans do. If he makes the issue the national debt that has risen so much under Mr. Obama, rather than his solution for it, Mr. Ryan could pose a serious challenge to the president.
In other words, to put the bull’s-eye on Mr. Ryan’s back, Mr. Obama will first have to get it off his own.
“There’s only one president that I know of in history that robbed Medicare, $716 billion to pay for a new risky program of his own that we call Obamacare,” Romney said.
“What Paul Ryan and I have talked about is saving Medicare, is providing people greater choice in Medicare, making sure it’s there for current seniors. No changes, by the way, for current seniors, or those nearing retirement. But looking for young people down the road and saying, “We’re going to give you a bigger choice.” In America, the nature of this country has been giving people more freedom, more choices. That’s how we make Medicare work down the road.”