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.
Lame attacks like Ryan’s “light” congressional experience and lack of foreign policy knowledge have been spewing from the mouths of liberal talking heads since the Saturday announcement.
Lost in Democrats’ self-deluding hosannas is the possibility that Romney chose Ryan because he agrees with him on policy issues, 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 vice presidential 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.”
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.
Nate Silver claimed the selection shows Romney is “bearish” on his prospects.
Walter Shapiro implied that Romney’s choice was calculated to shore up his weaknesses and that Romney changed his mind “to placate the GOP base.”
Lizza also claimed 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 duty of any presidential nominee to tick off his constituents.
The Washington Post and MSNBC’s Ezra Klein claimed that “Ryan upends Romney’s whole strategy. Until now, Romney’s play has been very simple: Don’t get specific.”
Democrats argue 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 even posited 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.
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.
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.