Give Ryan His Head And The Choice Should Be Good
I’ve been relatively sparse recently. But as sometimes happens, my comments have been piling up in the last few days. However, I was compelled to react to the Paul Ryan selection to be Romney’s VP running-mate, hopefully as briefly as possible. I looked at Fernando Trevino’s post on the selection. And like Fernando, I was not exceptionally excited about Mitt Romney as the Republican nominee, which is something of an understatement. I opposed him throughout the primary season. I’m an ideologue about the justice and social virtues of liberty, as Romney has clearly not been in the past. Not for the first time, I lost. But, Romney is a pragmatist and an experienced executive. Also like Fernando, I take the Ryan selection as an indication that Romney might tackle the nation’s severely troubled status aggressively rather than with political trepidation.
Wisconsin is not exactly a critical “swing” state. But frankly, Rob Portman wouldn’t proffer the “goose” to the campaign that Ryan might. He might help the ticket approximately as much in Ohio as Portman. And listen, if Rubio and Jeb Bush don’t campaign hard and help the Republican ticket to be sure to win Florida, we’ve lost the election anyway. Wisconsin isn’t an electoral vote bonanza, and Ryan isn’t even a statewide Wisconsin representative. But with him and in light of Governor Scott Walker’s recent recall election and his help, Wisconsin is an outside shot.
But here’s how Romney is “going long” with Ryan. Did you see the wild criticism of Romney in recent weeks, supposedly paying no taxes and helping to kill a supposedly (but not) insurance-less woman with cancer? Ryan is the one individual with the acuity and intestinal fortitude to actually put an absolutely critical long-term budget plan on the table. I would have added “responsible,” but Congressional Democrats have proposed no budget at all for 3 years! Anyway, Ryan’s plan includes the necessary entitlement reform for saving both the fiscal situation and entitlement programs themselves. It’s really about as modest a plan as could be, that could gradually pull us out of this fiscal mess if nothing interferes, like wars or terrorist attacks. Nothing less would be adequate. But, if there’s anything Democrats are practiced and vicious at, it’s attacking any entitlement changes other than upping the payroll rates and maybe means-testing, which is easy reneging on promises. Be assured, Ryan will be savaged, as he was when he announced the plan, with a commercial showing a Ryan-like figure dumping a grandma figure from a wheelchair off a cliff. But the good news is that no one is equipped like Ryan to confront the attacks. And if frank, Ryan is never angry or harsh.
After going to the 1998 Texas Republican Convention armed with flyers with John McCain at the top of a list of conservative heretics, in 2008 I blogged Independently for him after he secured The Republican nomination. Though saturated with Washington culture, I recognized that McCain had always been a warrior for what he really believed in. He was always a spending hawk and in all his years, had never voted for a tax-rate increase. But I was very cheered when he chose Sarah Palin as his running-mate. Though not deeply studied on the national situation like Ryan, Palin had philosophical clarity and courage to burn. But I think her critics were aided by McCain’ s political “experts” muzzling her and entangling her with what she should and should not say and do. Ryan can argue the experts under the table. As a white male, obviously he won’t pull any easy identity-politics votes. But, he must help them win the confidence of the debt and deficit concerned Independents Romney should muzzle the political experts and let Ryan be Ryan.