Mitt Romney has outdone himself in choosing Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate. The conservative base is ecstatic, and that will translate into voter intensity and high turnout.
Our country faces an unprecedented debt crisis, primarily driven by our entitlement programs. We have more than $100 trillion of unfunded liabilities – a staggering, incomprehensible number – and we are on a collision course with national bankruptcy.
Obama has offered no solutions; his Democratic majority in the Senate has failed to produce a budget in 1,200 days; and they have both obstructed the Republicans’ proposed remedies. It’s as if it’s a game with these people and our crushing national debt is but a trifling matter.
Obama is not only obstructing budget reform; it’s almost as if he is trying to make matters worse. He has added a new major entitlement, Obamacare, and has continued to amass annual budget deficits in excess of $1 trillion, and his latest 10-year budget revealed he would continue to do so. Instead of reducing spending, he has demanded yet more “stimulus” spending and is ushering in the largest tax increase in U.S. history, which is guaranteed to further smother growth and probably worsen our debt problem.
Not too many years ago, both parties acknowledged that our entitlement commitments were a sword hanging over our heads. But when President George W. Bush tried to begin discussions on Social Security reform, Democrats ridiculed and demonized him and told seniors he was after their nest eggs.
But in 2008, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., dared to make the third rail of politics his calling card and to serve it up on the national stage. He presented a credible, comprehensive and workable plan to structurally reform entitlements.
Ryan earned national attention because he addressed the issues candidly, soberly and with such a command of the facts and attention to detail that Democrats couldn’t shame him off the stage. Though he was calm in his presentation, he pulled no punches in warning that in the absence of major reforms, we would sustain a Greek-style financial collapse.
Ryan has been the Antiobama; he has provided the main adult leadership in the room, while Obama has been acting like a child in a candy store, spending every federal dollar he can get his hands on.
Ryan hasn’t just provided issue papers; his plan was reduced to actual legislation and was passed in the House, only to be flatly rejected in the Democratic Senate and viciously and disingenuously mocked by President Obama.
Obama knows that Ryan has been his financial nemesis; he singled him out for ridicule during his farcical bipartisan health-care summit. He has castigated Ryan during national speeches.
Ryan’s inclusion on the GOP ticket guarantees that the financial issues threatening our republic today will remain front and center. As long as Ryan is around and playing a prominent role, Obama simply cannot effectively duck the issue.
Indeed, Romney’s selection of Ryan signals his irrevocable commitment to tackling our entitlements problem and solving our financial crisis. It loudly signals that these issues, along with related economic issues, will be the centerpiece of his presidential campaign.
It would have been easy for Romney to have avoided the entitlements issue, and some GOP advisers were urging him to do so, arguing it is a political loser because demagoguery will prevail over fiscal responsibility.
But Romney chose the path of statesmanship. He decided not to underestimate the American people and instead trusted that if properly informed, they would understand the gravity of the situation we face and support the right choices.
By choosing Ryan, Romney has drawn a bold line in the sand, telling the American people that his administration will tackle these problems no matter how much ridicule they receive from Obama and other Democrats.
Romney isn’t promising to adopt Ryan’s plan entirely, but it is obvious he embraces the underlying principles it contains: entitlement reform, discretionary spending reductions, a responsible national security budget and tax reform, which, when coupled with strong spending reductions, will lead to economic growth.
Obama has yet to present any semblance of a plan to reduce spending, restructure entitlements and bring our short- and long-term budgets into balance. He has offered only class warfare and fear-mongering.
The Ryan selection will force Obama and his party out of the closet and to offer some plan of their own instead of just ripping the Republicans’ plans. It won’t end the demagoguery, but it will smoke them out – and expose the incoherence of their ideas.
Mitt Romney’s best chance of winning this election is to draw the starkest of contrasts between his vision and Barack Obama’s record. Choosing Paul Ryan was the best possible way to do that. Kudos to Mr. Romney. Game on.