Ryan: Romney’s Only Choice
The best objection I’ve heard to Mitt Romney’s nominating seven-term Wisconsin Representative/financial wunderkind Paul Ryan as his vice-presidential running mate is that Ryan could do more good for the country’s financial health as Chair of the House Budget Committee.
The 42-year-old Ryan has certainly done some amazing things in his dozen years in Congress—most notably rolling out his 2010/2012 “Path to Prosperity” proposals, which would cut trillions from the deficit, turn the Medicare program into a voucher system, and simplify the tax code.
But Romney can do even more to fix our budget woes as President than Ryan can in Congress. And Romney is most likely to end up President with Ryan on the ticket.
Ergo, Ryan must join Romney.
How formidable a Romney-Ryan ticket would be. Ryan has demonstrated a masterful ability to articulate budget and spending issues in such a way that everyday voters can understand just how thoroughly Democrats are screwing us over. He’s put serious entitlement reform proposals on the table for the first time in a decade. He’s resisted caving in to faux-conservative RINO-bait like temporary payroll tax cut extensions. He’s earned the deep respect of conservatives while getting under Obama’s thin skin and driving fear into the hearts of liberals, all wearing a smile.
True, Ryan has a long career ahead of him, and there would be plenty of time for him to serve as Vice-President or President if he chose. He can absolutely do more in concrete terms for the nation’s fiscal stability where he is now than as Vice President.
But consider last spring’s protracted Republican primary nomination fight. Everyone knew Romney was the candidate Democrats most dreaded Republicans would select—because they knew he had the best chance of winning. A party can generally deduce its most effective electoral strategy by doing what the opposite side most fears. I’d bet good money that in an election year in which the economy is not just one of the biggest issues but the only effective issue, liberals would be most terrified at Ryan being selected as Romney’s running mate. (Such a ticket would include not one, but two candidates with more knowledge of economics in their pinkies than Obama.)
Romney-Ryan 2012 would bring the perfect balance of capitalist vs. populist worldviews, seasoned vs. fresh governing approaches, outside vs. inside-the-Beltway experience, and private vs. public sector service. To pot-stirring liberals who cry that Romney’s private sector experience proves he cares nothing about the public sector, he can simply respond: Look who I saw fit to choose for my running mate.
No pairing—not Romney-Christie, not Romney-Rubio, not Romney-Daniels, all and many more of which would be fantastic—would cost liberals more sleep over the next three months than Romney-Ryan. I’m guessing the physical incarnation of David Axelrod’s nightmares right now is a hovering image of a smiling Romney and Ryan standing side-by-side. (Just think of the entertainment value of a Biden-Ryan Vice-Presidential debate!)
Some will object that Ryan’s Path to Prosperity proposals are too draconian and extreme for voters. By “some,” I mean confused Republicans who still haven’t learned that conservative principles win elections. (See Gingrich, Newt, “right-wing social engineering.”)
As Jonathan Karl notes, “[The] attacks will come anyway (Democrats already speak of the ‘Romney-Ryan Budget’). Picking Ryan for VP would put on the ticket the person best able to respond to those attacks.” While I believe Romney’s ability to articulate conservative economic principles is underappreciated, frankly Ryan can do it even better.
As for whether Ryan’s proposals will scare off voters: Remember last summer when Democrat Kathy Hochul beat Republican Jane Corwin in a special election in NY-26, a result supposedly due to the landscape-changing fallout from Ryan’s apocalyptic Medicare proposal? The Huffington Post was gloating about it for weeks. No? Don’t worry—no one else remembers, either.
In choosing between a candidate who excites millions of Americans or soothes John Boehner, I’ll take the former.
Romney and Ryan’s economic plans are utterly in sync; pairing up on the same ticket would be a natural fit for them. Ryan’s plan is more detailed and even more conservative than Romney’s—a boon for jaded conservatives who’ve learned that we have to have our facts perfectly straight to counter the lies of Democrats, and that we have to aim high to get even a fraction of what we want.
If it were a step down for this Badger State policy wonk and budget guru to hold the Vice-Presidency, I would suggest we urge Ryan to take one for the team. But Romney-Ryan 2012 would have the advantage to Ryan of setting him up to run for president in 2020.
Finally, the primary duty of the Vice-President is to step in if the President becomes incapacitated. Given that arguably more primary voters wanted Ryan than Romney to run for President, I think Ryan’s pretty much got that criterion sewed up, too.
Does Romney want to cut to the chase, win this, and kick Obama out of office? If so, there’s no sane choice of running mate besides Paul Ryan.