I have collected a great variety of links to and selected quotations from a number of blog posts and opinion pieces (as well as taken a number of notes) to I posted I’ve been planning in which I would (as I detailed yesterday) contest the “‘conventional wisdom’ . . . that Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan as his running mate all but dooms the GOP ticket to certain defeat this fall.”
All that collection and selection, however, may not really have been necessary. Earlier today, I found that Michael Gerson had effectively said what I had intended to say in his op-ed on Monday:
The Republican ticket will go large, arguing that budgetary indiscipline creates uncertainty that undermines current growth, while eventually leading to fiscal crisis and economic catastrophe. This is a more complex argument than “economy, bad.” It is also more likely to yield a governing mandate, which seems to be Romney’s admirable, unexpected goal.
In the fight Romney has picked, Ryan is an advantage. He is the best policy thinker and best communicator among the rising generation of conservative reformers. He combines a sober realism about a teetering, unsustainable entitlement system with a bubbly, Jack Kemp-like belief in the promise of unleashed enterprise. (We both worked for Kemp at the same time in the 1990s.) Unlike a recent Republican vice presidential nominee, you can’t put him on the spot. He is informed, levelheaded and persuasive. And he is already Barack Obama’s most persistent, effective economic critic.
Emphasis added. Unlike the previous Republican vice presidential nominee, Paul Ryan is adept at dealing with the national media and well-versed in the details of federal policy. He doesn’t need a crash course in the issues of the current campaign.
He comes across well on television — and, I’m told, in person. He knows how the national media and won’t be caught unprepared by an unfair question from a biased reporter. He’ll know how to deflect such queries, able to challenge the liberal premise of a journalist’s question.
Moreover, the American people are well aware of the nation’s debt problem; they know we have to do something and are prepared to listen to solutions. Perhaps, the narrative that his plan would gut Medicare and cut other popular programs might resonate were Ryan a less effective spokesman. He doesn’t come across as a radical or an extremist.
In the end, his likability as well his ability to express himself in a sober and moderate manner (not to mention his good looks) will serve him well on the campaign trail. And that ability coupled with his optimism, his reassuring manner and even a confident presence will help make him a credible spokesman for conservative reforms.
In the end, the way he carries himself on the campaign trail will determine whether his selection amounts to an advantage or disadvantage to the Romney campaign. And based on his record, it seems likely that selection will redound to the benefit of the GOP.
*Please note that I changed the title and expanded the post since I first published it about 21 minutes ago. Initially, it ended right before the “jump” (at “issues of the current campaign”), but as I read it through, it didn’t seem complete, so I built upon I point Gerson had already expressed (@ 7:15 GayPatriot blog time).