It has been less than two days since Mitt Romney announced Paul Ryan as his running mate in the 2012 Presidential race. And even I am stunned at the way in which the aftermath is all going according to script. Conservatives are pumped, the left is in full-blown spin mode, and some of the aforementioned who would otherwise be pumped are falling for the spin head-over-heels. Verbatim commentaries have been written to match what I had predicted from very specific individuals (Paul Begala, David Corn, Ezra Klein, etc.).
To be fair, there are two types of leftist responses to the choice of Paul Ryan: Those who really believe Paul Ryan is going to be a disastrous pick for the Republicans, and those who say it because their necks blow bubbles for a living.
Some wrote a piece about Paul Ryan that would not have had seven words substituted if the pick had been Rubio, Portman, Christie, Pawlenty, or McDonnell. But I don’t doubt that some genuinely believe the political calculus on this favors Barack Obama. Time will tell. If the Republicans make this an election about issues, and the solvency of the United States is one of those issues, and if the desired election outcome cannot happen under those circumstances, then I assure you, we do not need to worry about the results of a lousy election – we will have much bigger fish to fry. To make the case for entitlement reform and still lose is very different than not making it at all. Elections have consequences. We will get what we deserve, one way or the other. Sorry for the sobering reality check, but it is true.
I wrote in the midst of Obama’s most vocal and toxic attack on Romney’s wealth and accomplishments at Bain Capital that it must be embraced — an election about prosperity and productivity vs. handoutism and envy. I understand that it doesn’t FEEL like we are doing well when Obama is beating up Romney and the mainstream press reports every word of it. I also understand that the relentless attack on Paul Ryan as a murderer of senior citizens (you know, from the hope and change party) will not FEEL good to Republicans. But here is the thing — Paul Ryan can persuade 55–70% of the senior citizen voters in this country of the wisdom of his plan with his eyes closed.
He has won in a Democratic district HANDILY in seven consecutive elections. If he were not the one out there making the case for the position of reform, the straw man could get beat up and none of us are happy. But I would love to see any empirical data that suggests Paul Ryan has failed to make his case when given the chance to do so. He doesn’t just make it; he ties a bow around it. He is to articulate what Harry Reid is to contemptible.
The left’s play that will quickly go away is the attempt to marginalize him and lump him in with Sarah Palin. The comparisons started today by some cranks on the left. Palin had been mayor of Wasila, Alaska. Paul Ryan is a seven-time Congressman and chair of the House Budget Committee. Palin couldn’t handle Katie Couric; Paul Ryan has already handed Barack Obama his you-know-what when invited to go manu-e-manu on health care policy. The questioning of his qualifications is not going to fly. They will have to scare people.
And they will scare people. They will scare a not-very-intelligent part of the voting electorate who were going to vote for Obama no matter what. But will they REALLY scare intelligent and free-thinking members of society, particularly those senior citizens who care about their children and grandchildren and can count to 16 trillion? Do you think Romney and Ryan will be unable to say loudly enough “no one over the age of 55 will face ANY change at all,” thereby debunking the boldfaced lie of the left (the one they depend on to keep this debacle going)? Granny will be fine, and she will be able to know her kids and grandkids might be too. You don’t think that message has legs? It does.
What the pick does today is put to bed a lot of fears: He didn’t pick a pro-choicer like Condie; he picked a devout pro-lifer with a 100% pro-life voting record. He didn’t pick George Bush’s OMB Director; he picked a Tea-Party favorite Congressman who I absolutely guarantee you is better-read and more intelligent than ANY member of Congress — ANY.
He didn’t pick a guy 18 months into his first stab at national politics; he picked a guy who has been in the fight for 14 years, and has 20+ more years to go. He didn’t pick someone who likely could not have helped in the Electoral College (though there were others who could have helped); he picked someone who absolutely puts Wisconsin and her 10 votes in play (a state Bush lost twice). The pick has some risk – what pick wouldn’t? – but more than ANYTHING else the pick does is embolden Mitt Romney, and embolden the base of people necessary to win this election.
I have NEVER in my life seen Romney on as much fire as he was in the later speeches he gave after the vice president pick. The campaign hit reset, and they are going to get new life and new energy from this. This alone over-compensates for any risk in the pick.
No one who desires the defeat of Barack Obama and his leftist vision of America can afford to fall for the media’s nonsense each and every day. Turn your TV and web browser off if you are going to be swayed by the likes of David Frum, Ezra Klein, and MSNBC. But I believe that Romney wins this election with wins in FL, IA, OH, and VA — not to mention the cushion that CO, NV, and now WI may give. And I believe he wins those states if this election is about the ideas we believe in. Class warfare is a loser strategy from a loser President.
The utter unwillingness and inability to put ANYTHING on the table to deal with Medicare, Social Security, and the budget fiasco is a loser for this President. The idea that there is one single candidate in this country that Romney could have named who would NOT be facing an irrational and nasty assault from the left today is just naive beyond belief.
Paul Ryan is up to this task. And now, it is hard to make an argument that Mitt Romney is not as well.