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Paul Ryan: Excellent Strategy, Excellent choice.
Mitt Romney has chosen Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his running mate. He has chosen the intellectual rising star of the GOP as the man who will help him carry the banner against the extreme left, led by President Obama, in the fall. Conservativity could not be happier.
It must first be noted that the Left hates Congressman Ryan. He proposed a plan to reform Medicare, prompting a 2011 ad in which the Congressman was depicted pushing a grandmother in a wheelchair over a cliff. It was a typical Leftist tactic; portraying Republicans as cruel murderous monsters whenever they try to restructure failing Leftist social programs.
The Left moves now to attempt to set the narrative on Ryan, and put him on the defensive. However, as Charles Krauthammer has noted, Congressman Ryan has this manner about him where he is able to place Leftists on the defensive. This ability has staggering consequences for the Left. If (and perhaps now, when) Congressman Ryan comes out with the numbers and places the Obama camp into a position to defend, the terrifying imagery of Grandma going off a cliff will see the pushing party pulling off his mask to reveal Mr. Obama’s laughing face. After all, it is the President’s health care “plan” that reduces Medicare, while Romney and Ryan introduce plans to save the program.
The Left are already portraying Mr. Ryan’s selection as some sort of a panicked and desperate move on Mr. Romney’s part, an act to stave off horrible poll numbers. This argument would have more force if the polls were not biased to as much as D+9, when the last election showed the electorate at R+2 and there is every reason to think that R+3 would be a more accurate sample. Even the most accurate pollster in the country, Rasmussen, calls this election between a tie and Romney+2 in his daily tracking poll.
I agree with Sean Trende in part, when he writes that the pick was risky but not panicked. There is a tiny amount of risk in not picking Marco Rubio to attempt to seduce the Hispanic vote, or in not picking Condi Rice or Allen West to attempt to seduce some of the Black vote, or in not picking Rob Portman to try to swing Ohio. However, there is also the distinct and real possibility that Paul Ryan brings Wisconsin to Romney, along with Minnesota, and pushes more seniors to the ticket once that they understand the differences.
This is a battle not yet truly joined. The GOP convention is two weeks away. When Mr. Romney accepts the nomination, then the guns start to shoot for real. The Super-PACs will go on the attack, leaving Mr. Romney’s direct campaign to be more positive and to give detailed explanation of Mr. Romney’s plans for a bright future.
Jay Cost writes that Mr. Romney appears to be developing an argument that Mr. Obama has brought America into decline, and we must reverse this decline now and restore America’s greatness. This will be a powerful argument if well made, with minimal use of attack ads. Now, with Paul Ryan on the ticket, he has someone who can attack without shrillness and does not need to spout out nonsensical talking points instead of answering directly. Congressman Ryan can and will lay out the Romney-Ryan plan, over and over, in detail, and understandably. The people will see what Messrs. Romney and Ryan bring to the table.
Imagine a Paul Ryan – Joe Biden debate. Enough said.
There is also the fact that the GOP electorate was energized before, but a little leery of Mr. Romney. Now, Mr. Ryan is a darling of the holdouts – the Tea Partiers. It’s a little like the 2008 selection of Sarah Palin. Conservatives hated john McCain, and saw him as a compromiser. Then he brought Sarah Palin on board, and everyone on the Conservative deck raised a loud cheer. This author was among those cheering most loudly. In the present case, the non-compromising fiscal conservatives love Paul Ryan, but he is also popular with the establishment in the GOP. Moreover, unlike Mrs. Palin, Mr. Romney will not silence or box in his teammate. Throughout this campaign, Mr. Romney has showed a willingness to engage his opponents, directly and forcefully. He won’t pull his punches on Mr. Obama because of his race, nor will he engage in ad hominem against him because of his race. Mr. Romney will forcefully press the issues, and there is no better running mate to join Mr. Romney in this quest than Congressman Paul Ryan.