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Obama has no one to blame but himself. While Romney was mulling over a list of possible running mates, it was the president who made the selection of Paul Ryan inevitable.
Shortly after Romney became the presumptive GOP nominee, Obama had his surrogates out trying to tie the former Massachusetts governor to the dreaded Ryan budget. It was not difficult as Romney had praised Ryan’s effort and did not try to distance himself from the affable Wisconsin Republican.
Fear began to set in. Ryan had a plan that not only included shrinking the size of the federal budget but, horrors, reforming entitlements. Obama had done zilch! Aaaagh!
What if the sleeping giant of the electorate began to awake from its slumber and make this uncomfortable connection? This simply could not be allowed to happen!
Obama despatched his surrogates again. This time they began giving Romney unsolicited advice: “Anybody but Ryan!” Yes, of course, they had Romney’s best interest at heart.
It was one of the oldest tricks in the book, and Romney didn’t fall for it. Now, Romney has given them their worst nightmare.
I hate to gloat, but in my column of May 9, “Mitt Romney’s ‘must-have’ VP,” I told you that this die was cast. If Romney was going to have to run as a supporter of the Ryan budget, the best person to defend it was Ryan himself.
Furthermore, Ryan’s selection added diversity to the ticket. Not racial, gender or ethic diversity. (Liberals are the only ones who care about those things anymore. Everyone else has moved on.) Ryan adds the economic, generational, religious and charismatic diversity Romney sorely needed.
While Romney comes from wealth, Ryan reeks of middle class.
While Romney is at home at a polo match, Ryan is at home in a sleeping bag.
While Romney is a Mormon and doesn’t like to talk about his religion, Ryan is Catholic and says that his faith directly shapes his views on public policy.
While Romney is all spit and polish, Ryan appears slightly disheveled. While Romney’s business acumen makes him someone you would admire, Ryan is someone you would invite home to dinner.
While Romney is cool and detached, Ryan is warm and fuzzy.
Many fear that Romney is too moderate. Obama and company tell us that Ryan is too conservative.
Romney was the governor of liberal Massachusetts. Ryan was a speechwriter for Jack Kemp and staff director for Sen. Sam Brownback.
Romney is long on experience. Ryan is youthful and energetic. At 42, he is eight and a half years younger than our “hip” president.
While Romney is an executive capable of making big decisions, Ryan is a number cruncher who is ready with the facts and figures. While Romney is accused of trying to avoid the hard issues, Ryan runs right at them with guns blaring.
While Romney has been short on specifics, Ryan dots all the “i’s” and crosses the “t’s.”
More often than not, politicians win elections by doing the former, not the latter. In other words, they talk in generalities (like hope and change) trying to be what every voter wishes them to be, while revealing very little of what they actually believe or how they will govern.
It takes courage to take a stand, especially one that is hard and evolves some pain, like cutting the size of government and taking on entitlements. This is what separates a statesman from a politician.
By selecting Ryan, Romney, in effect, went from the wading pool of generalities into the big pool of ideas. He has given up the life vest of sophistry and now will sink or swim on his ability to give us straight talk the on real issues we face.
While most vice presidents have been inconsequential while in office, a few have played major roles in their administrations. Dick Cheney proved to be an invaluable asset when the country was in the post-9/11 crisis. Paul Ryan will be an invaluable asset as the country faces an even greater crisis – one that threatens to bankrupt the country and leave us vulnerable to our debtors and our enemies.
While Obama and Biden had virtually no “real world” experience, Romney ran Bain Capital, and Ryan got a degree in economics and worked for the construction firm founded by his great-grandfather.
Romney is a turnaround expert. This is the ultimate turnaround!
Two big questions remain: Are voters willing to get out of the wading pool and listen? More important, are voters willing to give up the idea of living in a nanny state in order to restore the American dream?