Romney Sabotages Campaign by Selecting Likable, Articulate Budget Wunderkind
Democrats are hiding their terror at Paul Ryan’s selection as Mitt Romney’s running mate by claiming he was a terrible pick, his ideas horrify people, and now Romney will never be able to run from voters’ fears about his callous persona.
Lost in Democrats’ self-deluding hosannas is the possibility that Romney chose Ryan because he agrees with him and that Ryan will help the ticket.
In “5 Things Mitt Doesn’t Want You to Know About Paul Ryan,” ABC News announced that Ryan’s “budget plans include big cuts” that will enable the Obama campaign to continue its “Romneyhood narrative.”
Outside the Norfolk, Virginia rally where Romney announced his pick, Andrea Mitchell cried that Ryan is “not a pick for suburban moms, not a pick for women.”
Candy Crowley declared the Ryan pick “some sort of ticket death wish.”
Walter Shapiro warned that Ryan’s budgets put Social Security and Medicare “in the cross-hairs.”
The New York Times complained that Ryan supposedly was “helping the poor by eliminating their dependence on the government… yet he has failed to explain how he would make them self-sufficient.”
Beyond these scare tactics, the media have identified other supposed Ryan weaknesses that doom the Republican ticket. ABC noted that Congressional approval ratings are dismally low, and… you know, Ryan is in Congress, so, like, draw your own conclusions. (They failed to point out that Ryan is the one factor keeping those ratings from being in negative digits.)
In The New Yorker, Ryan Lizza called Ryan’s fourteen years’ of Washington experience “light.” The Times wailed that Ryan “has no foreign policy experience and has not spent significant time in the private sector,” which once again proves that Democrats hold our #2 to a higher standard than their #1. (See Palin, Sarah, “Youth and Inexperience, Controversial Associations, Lack of Foreign Policy Credentials.”)
Undergirding the giddy consensus that Ryan was an awful pick is Democrats’ fumbling, grasping explanation for the choice: Romney is desperately worried about his electoral chances and had to risk something wild and crazy.
Election handicapper Nate Silver claims the pick shows Romney is “bearish” on his prospects.
Walter Shapiro implies that Romney’s pick was calculated to shore up his weaknesses and that Romney changed his mind at the last-minute “to placate the GOP base.”
Lizza claims that Romney chose Ryan because he “seems to have realized that his spring and summer strategies have been a failure.” The selection “demonstrate[s] that Romney is not able or willing to distance himself from the base of his party”—as though it were the core duty of any presidential nominee to tick off his constituents.
Ezra Klein calls the nomination “an admission of fear from the Romney campaign… Ryan upends Romney’s whole strategy. Until now, Romney’s play has been very simple: Don’t get specific.”
That last bit inadvertently gets at the reason behind and consequences of Romney’s choice:
Democrats argue that Ryan is a terrible pick because he’ll force Romney to run on entitlement reform proposals that are popular with the public in the abstract but horrific in the details. The Times posits that “Romney has settled on a strategy of maximizing his support among conservatives rather than trying to win over independent and centrist voters.”
Wrong. Entitlement reform proposals appeal to independent and centrist voters—if we have a Paul Ryan to articulate and justify the details.
Consider just one example of how the Obama campaign’s strategy of demonizing Ryan is already failing: their claim that Ryan is “bad news for seniors” because of his Medicare stance.
A recent Gallup poll revealed that seniors are the age group most favorable toward Ryan’s Medicare proposal. Why? Because Ryan has made it clear that his plan doesn’t affect anyone 55 or older, and only gradually phases in reforms. Seniors have had a lifetime’s worth of experience of budgeting and planning, and are most likely to appreciate Ryan’s characterization of the absurdity of our unlimited entitlement spending and its role in our debt crisis. Senator Marco Rubio similarly won his seat in 2010 in a landslide in Florida—Senior Citizen Central—by articulating the necessity for entitlement reform.
Young people poll least favorably toward Medicare reform, probably because they’re too immature to realize how dire the government is rendering their long-term financial situation. A young’un like Ryan may be able to drum into their heads why it’s in their interest to enact entitlement reform.
Obama sees people as helpless, vulnerable saps sucking at the government teat from cradle to grave; Romney views them as confident, self-reliant actors capable of planning for their future and taking pride in their self-made success.
The Ryan pick connects this optimistic vision of America’s potential with responsible government reform in a more detailed and thoughtful manner than any other modern presidential campaign.