Must confess I was surprised, happily surprised, by Mitt Romney’s pick of Paul Ryan. It provides good answers to three huge questions:
1. How much does he want it?
It’s been worrying to see Romney so defensively weak while being pummeled by Obama’s negative ads about him and his business record. There comes a time when you have to stop smiling and start snarling. Is this just going to be another half-hearted McCain-type effort? When’s he going to put on the gloves, never mind take them off again? You can’t win this thing without wanting it more than your opponent. The Ryan pick shows that Romney wants it big, and is prepared to fight big for it; not an ugly Chris Christie slugfest, but an ideological fight about the fundamental principles and future direction of the country.
2. Why does he want it?
If he had picked Portman or some other boring grey suit, we could only conclude that he was playing safe, hoping to win by “not being Obama,” and then managing American decline in a more competent way than Obama. In other words, he wanted it more for his C.V. than for the country, more for himself than for the rest of us. The Ryan pick shows that Romney’s not in this just to get the Oval Office, but to get the country back on track.
3. What will he do with it?
This was the question that niggled most conservatives deep in their hearts. Is he just going to re-arrange the deck chairs in a nicer pattern, or is he going to repair, rebuild, and re-launch the ship? Is he going to kick the can down the road again, or is he going to change the game? Does he have the guts, the determination, the courage to do what so desperately needs to be done?
The Ryan pick demonstrates that Romney is not only in it to win it in 2012, but to win for future generations too. It offers a clear choice for America’s future – An entitlement society or a responsible society. And BTW, as Ryan’s budget demonstrates, “responsible” includes caring for the weak, the elderly, and the poor, but in a way that also secures a hopeful future for our young.
Bonus: And check Denny Burk’s analysis of Paul Ryan’s record on social issues for further encouragement. Time to add Paul and his family to our prayers. They’re about to be “Palined.”