Mitt Romney won some admiration from me on Saturday when he chose Paul Ryan as his running mate. Romney’s history had prepared me to be disappointed with a “safe” pick—safe from the GOP establishment’s point of view. Word is that a number of Romney’s advisers were cautioning against choosing Ryan because he would be considered too controversial. To Romney’s credit, he dismissed those fears and gave Ryan the nod.
Paul Ryan is the real thing. He hasn’t been perfect in his voting record. He voted for TARP; the majority did because they were told the sky was falling. He also voted for the GM bailout. I would like to know if he regrets that vote now. But those are slight blemishes on his record of consistent concern for fiscal restraint and traditional morality. His pro-life voting tally is 100%. As chairman of the House Budget Committee, he actually had the nerve to come up with a plan that would lead to a reduction in the national debt and the salvaging of programs like Medicare. Personally, I don’t think Medicare ever should have existed, but since it’s here, it needs to be handled with fiscal responsibility.
Of course, that budget plan—which passed the House but was never given a hearing in the Harry Reid-controlled Senate—has been demonized by Democrats as throwing grandma off the cliff. Never mind that it kept promises made to those who are 55 and older. No, he wants to kill old people. At least that’s the message they trumpeted at the time, and it’s a message they are now digging up again. But it’s balderdash. How many Americans realize that Obamacare guts Medicare by over $700 billion? How many know the system is due to go bankrupt in a few years?
The only reason Ryan is viewed as controversial is that he takes the debt seriously and seeks to do something about it. He also is a great believer in the free enterprise system and wants to unshackle individuals and businesses so they can once again compete and grow. Wow, what a radical!
We now must prepare for the onslaught. Ryan must be destroyed. One commentator spelled out the basic plan for doing so. He said,
In the national media narrative . . . every Republican figure is reduced to one of three things: old, stupid, or evil.
George H.W. Bush: old. Dan Quayle: stupid. Newt Gingrich: evil. Pat Buchanan: evil. Bob Dole: old. George W. Bush: stupid. Dick Cheney: old and evil. John McCain: old. Sarah Palin: stupid. . . .
Because Paul Ryan isn’t old, we will see an effort to paint him as either stupid or evil. You and I know that painting Paul Ryan as stupid is like trying to paint Bill Clinton as chaste. . . .
Sometime in the fall, Saturday Night Live will offer some young comedian in a black wig and a creepy smile, boasting, “My favorite Christmas carol is, ‘Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer’” and we will be told by every political and cultural columnist that it is the most incisive and revealing bit of comedy coming out of the show in years, ever since “I can see Russia from my house.”
(In time, seven in ten Americans will believe that the comedian’s line was actually uttered by the candidate.)
So, be prepared for the denigration campaign. It’s begun already, but will pick up steam the closer we get to the election. As always, the key will be if the Republicans can effectively counter the lies and get their message out. Ryan is articulate; he will do his best, which has always been very good. If Romney can explain the principles as well as I expect Ryan will, there is hope.