House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan has submitted paperwork to the Romney campaign, according to National Review’s Robert Costa. You know what that means: The campaign is officially vetting the mild-mannered-but-consistently-controversial rock star from Wisconsin for the VP slot.
(Let’s hope Costa’s report is more reliable than the ABC report that came out earlier this week suggesting the Romney campaign isn’t vetting Marco Rubio — another favorite potential veep. I’m betting it is — especially because it comes as no surprise that Ryan is on Romney’s shortlist.)
The president’s languid summer attempts to revive pride in him among the gay-marriage-friendly community and to woo those sympathetic to illegal immigrants stuck in the shadows haven’t changed the essential nature of the impending election. It will, for better or worse, decide the fiscal future of the country. It’s impossible to talk about jobs and the economy — especially in the shadow of the European crisis — without turning at least tangentially to entitlement programs. If we really want a healthy economy that supports work for all of us, then we have to reform the programs that are bankrupting the country. Paul Ryan has a plan to do that — which is more than I can say for President Obama. No better way to expose the president’s lack of leadership in that area than to put Ryan on the ticket.
Sure, a reliable Republican governor would make a decent running mate for Romney — and wouldn’t take any dearly-needed man or woman out of the House or Senate — but, on this particular presidential ticket, we need more than another reliable Republican governor. Romney can still sell the “extreme competence” angle with Ryan, but, by selecting the Budget Chairman, he’d also inject supreme meaning into his campaign — the meaning it’s been conspicuously lacking lately, at least according to Peggy Noonan.
By picking Ryan as his VP, Romney would send this message to all of us: “I’m prepared not just to execute as a businessman, but to lead as your president.”
Self-improvement gurus insist that individual weaknesses and strengths are often two sides of the same coin. I suggest the same is true for political movements. If it’s supposedly a political weakness that conservatives are willing to touch entitlement programs, it’s also a strength. Entitlement programs will end as we know them if we do nothing. Relentlessly, Romney/Ryan should ask the president: Will you let that happen, sir? No? Then, where’s your plan?