I am not normally one who is enthralled by the speculation over who a particular presidential candidate may choose to run as their vice-presidential candidate. I know a lot of thought and investigation goes into such a choice and it can help or hurt a candidacy. Mitt Romney’s choice for his running mate is no different for me. Although I am interested, I don’t sit around, trying to figure out who his choice will be. There are possible choices that interest me, but I haven’t given them a lot of thought. One of those choices happens to be Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan.
Paul Ryan is a fairly well know member of Congress. My first introduction to him came during some of the budget and financial discussions Congress was having with the President over the Affordable Care Act. I was more than a little impressed with his complete and total command of the facts and figures of all things budgetary. Couple that with his ability to explain and persuade and I felt he was an up and coming star in the Republican Party.
When the GOP took over the House of Representatives in the 2010 mid-term elections, Paul Ryan was quickly named as Chairman of the House Budget Committee. In that position, he was responsible for drawing up the Republican budget plan that drew so much wrath and unfairly negative advertising from the liberals. Because of his recognition of the fact that entitlements have to be part of any plan that makes a serious attempt to control our national debt and budget deficit, he was accused of pushing Grandma over the cliff in her wheelchair.
In recent days, Paul Ryan has become an oft-mentioned name in the Mitt Romney Veepstakes. Personally, I like Paul Ryan, but I have always felt he would probably be a better fit to replace Timothy Geithner as Secretary of the Treasury. Because of his budget plan and the subsequent negative advertising, Paul Ryan is a polarizing figure. According to Rich Lowry, that may not be a bad thing.
(Politico) If you are a Republican political consultant, you are almost professionally obliged to be shocked and appalled at the prospect of Rep. Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney’s running mate.
With reliable reports that Ryan’s on Romney’s short-short list, the weeping and rending of garments among the Republican political class has already begun. You mean, they lament, he’s going to pick the Republican who embodies messing around with entitlements? The chairman of the House Budget Committee, for God’s sake?
Ryan is the guy political consultants see right before they wake up from a nightmare of a really bad focus group.
That the hyper-cautious Romney is seriously considering him counts as one of the biggest surprises of a campaign almost entirely lacking in them. Picking Ryan would represent a Romney revolt against conventional wisdom. And appropriately so — since the conventional wisdom is wrong.
In political terms, picking Ryan is supposedly like hanging out with the No. 2 of an Al Qaeda affiliate somewhere in the badlands of the Middle East. He’s a target. If the missiles haven’t yet taken him out, it’s only because the drone is hovering silently overhead before hurling down its bolts of death.
Ryan tops the Democratic target list for the offense of proposing serious reform of Medicare, as part of a budget that puts federal obligations on a sustainable path. It’s been a cardinal rule of Republican politics that it’s OK to talk about balancing the budget, so long as no one talks about touching the entitlements that drive the long-term debt. Ryan broke the rule.
I am convinced Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney’s Vice-President would absolutely drive the Democrats crazy. They would probably have to take some Prozac to calm themselves down. I am not completely in the camp for a Paul Ryan candidacy, given that I still wonder if he wouldn’t be a better fit for Secretary of the Treasury, but I have to admit it would be fun to watch the liberals foam at the mouth of the choice of Paul Ryan. Not to mention the thought of him debating Joe Biden. That wouldn’t even be a fair fight, as Ryan would walk all over him and still be nice about it.
Rich Lowry goes on in the article to explain why Paul Ryan may be a good choice for Mitt Romney. If there is one thing Paul Ryan can do, it is explain the budget process and how it really works. In other words, he knows his stuff and has no problem explaining it to anyone who will listen.
The Democrats’ assault over Medicare will be ferocious — not to mention lowdown and dishonest. Hell, they’ve already all but accused Romney of killing someone, and they haven’t even gotten around to Medicare. When the barrage starts, Romney won’t be able to duck and cover or look at his shoes. He’ll have to win the argument — or at least hold his own.
This is the broader point. Romney has to carry the argument to President Barack Obama. The state of the economy alone isn’t enough to convince people that Romney has better ideas to create jobs. Neither is his résumé. Romney needs to make the case for his program, and perhaps no one is better suited to contribute to this effort than Ryan.
Ryan is an ideologue in the best sense of the term. He is motivated by ideas and knows what he believes and why. But he’s not blinkered. He is an explainer and a persuader.
The more I read Lowry’s article, the more I began to wonder if Paul Ryan wasn’t exactly the choice Mitt Romney needed to make. He makes some very strong points in that favor. I don’t want to quote the entire article, but it is well worth your time to read it, maybe two or three times. There are many points to consider. Here is Lowry’s final reason for believing Paul Ryan would be a good choice for Romney.
At the end of the day, Ryan is not such an odd match for Romney. It would be characteristic for Romney to consider his VP choice as an employment decision. And characteristic for him to hire a wonky young talent. If Ryan had been into finance instead of politics back in the 1990s, you could easily see Romney picking him up for Bain Capital.
Romney is, at bottom, a data-driven technocrat. The question has always been whether he wants to bring that skill to managing the federal government — or transforming it. If he chooses Ryan, the answer is inarguably transforming it.
The question Rich Lowry brings up is exactly the one many people have asked all along about Mitt Romney. Given his past experiences as CEO, what kind of President would he be. Choosing Paul Ryan as his Vice-President would suggest he wants to fundamentally change the way our government manages its finances. Taking many things into consideration, I wouldn’t be disappointed if Mitt Romney announced his choice for Vice-President was Paul Ryan. We could do much worse and maybe not much better.
UPDATE – 08/111/12: It looks like I was closer to the truth than I realized. Mitt Romney is set to announce Paul Ryan as his choice for Vice-President later this morning in Norfolk, VA.