Four years ago, I was all but certain that John McCain would pick then-Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty as his running mate. This year, I was all but certain Mitt Romney would pick Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell.
Now, as I head to bed on Friday evening, it appears the presumptive Republican nominee will be tapping the Chairman of the House Budget Committee, Paul Ryan.
I wonder if Mr. Romney is announcing this pick nearly three weeks ahead of the party’s convention in order to change the narrative of the past three weeks, when the legacy media has helped hype the Obama narrative and put the former Massachusetts Governor on defense, keeping his own reform agenda — and the incumbent’s fiscal mess — out of the headlines.
“If indeed it’s Ryan,” offers Ed Morrissey, “even the media may have to start focusing on the most serious issues — and that’s bad news for Obama.” As Steven Hayward puts it, “Ryan wants to have an adult conversation with America about the looming insolvency of the welfare state, and he has a serious plan to fix it.” Echoing Morrissey, Hayward adds, “Ryan knows he will face rank demagoguery from Democrats over his plan. He is not afraid of this, and in a face-to-face fight he runs circles around every single one of them.”
And Morrissey acknowledges that “Team Obama will hang Ryan’s budget on Romney,” but adds that “they were going to do that anyway”:
Why not have the man himself as the VP to explain it? Ryan also gives the ticket solid Washington experience, while giving conservatives more hope that a Romney presidency will aim for serious change.
That would be the biggest plus for the campaign, which has had to fight Obama’s strategy of distraction. Ryan’s efforts play the long game on budgets and entitlement reform; he’s one of the few people in Washington talking about not just the fiscal cliff but the long-term fiscal gap I wrote about this week in the Fiscal Times.
This pick shows that Mitt Romney is serious about playing that “long game on budgets and entitlement reform”, on addressing the pressing fiscal problems facing this nation. With Ryan on the ticket, Mitt Romney has indicated that he intends to run on more than just his resume, more than just against Mr. Obama, but intends to make the case for bold reforms.
Perhaps, he heeded the advice of the governor of Mr. Ryan’s home state.
Not quite sure about the politics of the pick. The Democrats will savage Mr. Ryan, but, they would have savaged any qualified individual the presumptive Republican nominee picked.
Mr. Ryan, at least, has shown the ability to defend himself and his policies in a manner that impresses his critics. And the last two budgets he wrote have passed at least one chamber of Congress. And that’s an accomplishment which has eluded Mr. Obama. His last two budgets haven’t even received a single vote in either house.
(While I think it’s a good pick, I do question the timing, wonder if Romney could have served his campaign better by delaying the announcement. That said, it does change the campaign narrative.)
ADDENDUM: In previous posts, I have called Ryan one of the few grown-ups in Washington, particularly when it comes to matters fiscal.
UPDATE: Ed Driscoll offers his two cents, including this reference to another blogger:
“The Choice Makes It a Choice,” Jonah Goldberg adds. “Ryan reinforces the message, grounded in objective fact, that the Republicans have a plan for the future while the Democrats are simply about kicking the can,” Jonah writes. “The vice presidential debate will be awesome. If I had to predict right now, Ryan won’t so much trounce Biden as Biden will trounce himself. All of the talk about how Ryan is smarter and more knowledgeable than Biden will get deep in Joe’s head. Biden’s insecurities will spill out on the stage like overturned chum bucket.”
UP-UPDATE: About the same time as I was learning about the imminence of the Ryan pick, I was reading Mark Steyn’s column on how Obama has made things worse for Americans: “More debt, more dependency, more delusion.” He also expressed his unhappiness with what he called “Romney’s insipid message”, holding that it “does not rise to the challenge this nation faces.” Paul Ryan, in the words he has spoken and the legislation he has authored, has shown an awareness of the nation’s fiscal peril.
Thus, in tapping the House Budget Committee Chairman, the presumptive Republican nominee has begun to rise to the challenge.
UP-UP-UPDATE: Just now reading Jonah’s post in its entirety. Among the pros he offers for the Ryan pick:
The GOP base, particularly the tea parties, will now be even more enthusiastic because this gives them a much more solid reason to want Romney to win as opposed to just wanting Obama to lose.
It shows that for all of the talk of Romney’s timidity and cautiousness he can make a bold decision when he needs to.
The more I think about it, the more I like it, esp. as per (1) Ryan’s articulateness and (2) the boldness of the pick (as per Jonah’s second point above).
FROM THE COMMENTS: Ted B. (Charging Rhino) is not certain that Ryan will help Romney win the election, but believe the “HUGE advantage” of the selection is . . .
. . . that it will shift the campaign narrative back to the Budget and the Economy, and who better to discuss that Budget then the current-Chrmn. of the House Budget Committee who knows and can expand on how the Federal Government is, and should be, spending OUR money.