At 9:00 a.m., Mitt Romney will make it official. Last night he chose Representative Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin-1) to run with him for Vice President. Everyone should have seen this coming. Mitt Romney needs Paul Ryan to move “the base” to follow him. Better yet, Paul Ryan can show everyone how to cut the budget, say “no” to the whiners, and maybe pay down the national debt.
Who is Paul Ryan?
The New York Times had the first hint that Mitt Romney would tell the world something today. But Mitt Romney dropped more hints than that. His campaign registered a new domain, “romneyryan.com.” It points to the campaign web site. That site now features Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney as “America’s Comeback Team.” Now everyone knows about it, especially since Romney picked a ship named USS Wisconsin, now in port at Norfolk, VA, to announce it from. See here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.
The Wall Street Journal said on Thursday that Romney should pick Paul Ryan. Why? Because “The Insiders” were “whispering” that Romney would not dare pick such a firebrand, a lightning rod, an ideologue. The Journal advised: throw it back in their faces. Which is what Mitt Romney did today.
Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI-1). Official photo.
Paul Ryan has served in Congress since 1999. He runs the House Budget Committee, the youngest man ever to do this. He is most famous for his “Ryan Budget.” He first introduced this in 2008 as the “Roadmap for America’s Future Act,” then as an alternate budget in 2009, and last in 2011. The House passed his Ryan Plan in 2012, but the Senate killed it.
The by-word of the Ryan Plan is: controlling spending on entitlements. Chief among these: Medicare. Everyone knows that Ryan proposed Medicare vouchers for persons younger than 55. They don’t know, or don’t remember, that the Paul Ryan plan would start in 2021, not now. Persons born after 1975 would go on the voucher plan. Persons born before then would stay on Medicare as it is. So the infamous “throw Granny off the cliff” ad was a lie, and still is.
Paul Ryan will have to convince skeptical people that he means what he now says. Why, for instance, did he vote for the Big Bank Bailout, the Medicare prescription drug plan, and the GM/Chrysler bailout? He should say he was sorry he voted for those things. He could say that what they have become, makes him sorry.
How will this change the campaign?
Mitt Romney changed the game by picking Paul Ryan. With this pick, he throws all the “mean man” canards about him into the faces of Barack Obama and his whole undisciplined machine. More broadly, Paul Ryan throws the Democratic Party politics of envy and dependency into their faces.
He also shows conservatives that when he says he will break with his big government Massachusetts past, he’s not kidding.
Many had thought Mitt Romney might pick Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida), to get the Hispanics to vote for him. But Marco Rubio is not a natural born citizen. His parents did not get naturalized until he was five years old. So under the Constitution, he can’t run.
Any other Senator could never be sure that his party could nominate someone quickly who could hold the seat in a special election. Republicans can capture the Senate. At least they could change their “ranking members” to “chairs.” And they could fire Harry Reid as Majority Floor Leader. So at least they could bring things up for votes, even if the Democrats would still filibuster them. But their margin would be razor-thin. Picking a sitting Senator to run for Vice President might ruin their chance.
Besides, Paul Ryan is a more dynamic, in-your-face speaker than any Senator could be.