Mitt Romney, how could you be so inconsiderate?
Couldn’t you have at least waited until I got settled into my dorm room before you announced that Paul Ryan would be your VP?
My own vanity aside, this whole Romney-Ryan ticket is a pretty fascinating development in the campaign. First, a quick disclaimer. I wanted Mitt to choose Bob McDonnell as his running mate. Bob has a state-wide office as governor of Virginia (a swing state!), years of conservative executive experience, and over two decades of service in the armed forces.
Paul Ryan has none of that.
Instead, the 12-year Wisconsin representative brings with him some hefty political baggage. He could be seen by some as a career politician, and his biggest proposal is a budget plan for turning Medicare into a voucher system – not something older voters want to hear. His emphasis on deficit reduction also takes Romney’s focus away from the jobs issue after he basically devoted his entire campaign to it. That’s why I’ll say that from a political perspective I don’t like the Ryan choice. It simply doesn’t make strategic sense.
But from an ideological perspective, I’m thrilled.
There are people in Washington who believe that taking the government out of constituents’ lives is more immoral than continuing to dump its debts on their children. Paul Ryan is not one of those people. Quite the contrary, Mr. Ryan understands that entitlement spending is the biggest driver of our nation’s debt and that we need to do something about it. His budget plan isn’t perfect, but what conservative – heck, what American – doesn’t like the idea of putting Medicare spending back in the hands of the taxpayers?
And while Mr. Ryan has spent most of his professional life in the House of Representatives, he has three qualities almost every other Washington politician seems to lack – intelligence, boldness, and tolerance. He sees what needs to be done, has the courage to speak out about it, and can defend it without coming across as rude or arrogant. He’s actually the rarest of all things – a good and competent politician.
So from a tactical angle, picking Paul Ryan was a mistake. But from a perspective of convictions, the pick excites me.
Who knew that Paul Ryan, an acclaimed brainiac, would be more of a pick for the heart than the head?