Monday, August 13, 2012

Vice Presidential Man Crush

Mitt Romney made my day Saturday when he announced Paul Ryan as his choice for Vice President.  It's no secret I am a big admirer of the Congressman from Wisconsin and have been for several years now.  For many Americans, he comes across as an intelligent, earnest and forthright public servant who they can trust.  Unlike most politicians, he gives honest, straightforward answers to questions.  He shows respect for his political opponents and refuses to make personal attacks.  And as Chairman of the House Budget Committee, he has a reputation for working with people across party lines to solve problems, as his partnership with Senator Ron Wyden on Ryan's Medicare plan demonstrates.

Ryan is widely known in Washington as a policy wonk, and, as any interview shows, a guy who has unparalleled knowledge of the budget and economic issues.  Many TV "journalists," have, at their peril, assumed going into an interview with Ryan that he's just some dimwitted, midwestern cheesehead Republican, who they could embarass on national TV.  But as the videos I will be posting show, many of them end up looking incredibly foolish for underestimating his mental acumen as he runs circles around them.

But for me, what elevates Paul Ryan above every other politician in Washington is that he is the most serious person about the most serious problem facing America today - spending and debt; three years of trillion dollar deficits, guaranteed government programs that everyone agrees will go bankrupt on their current course, unrestrained federal spending and debt that are reaching record levels of GDP and growing at an exponential rate.  These are the biggest threats to America's prosperity and future.  And nobody has been more vocal, no one has worked harder to solve these problems than Paul Ryan.  The President and his party won't even talk about it.  Instead, they tell us we must spend even more.  In contrast, Ryan has, at considerable political risk, submitted detailed plans to address these issues.

President Obama, his campaign, and his allies in the media have and will continue to make Paul Ryan out to be some boogeyman; a heartless technocrat who wants to push seniors over a cliff by taking away programs they depend on.  Good luck with that.

Ryan's good looks, amiable personality and boy scout appeal will make that difficult. Ryan may be an unapologetic fiscal and social conservative; a devout Catholic who enthusiastically advocates a smaller and more limited role of the federal government, but he's widely respected by those who disagree with him as a decent man who is serious about the issues.  He is immensely popular in his home state of Wisconsin where he has been reelected by huge margins in a Democratic district that Obama carried handily in 2008.  And he's never had a hint of scandal associated with him.

For Conservatives, Paul Ryan represents what Barack Obama was to many Americans in 2008: a young, idealistic leader who will transcend the hyperpartisanship and gridlock in Washington.  The President has turned out the be a complete fraud in that regard. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan won't give the grandest speeches.  They won't be able to match the President's soaring rhetoric.  And they certainly won't be regarded as saviors. But they will, I suspect, roll up their sleeves, eschew political gamesmanship, and work late nights with whoever is willing to resurrect the economy and our national self-esteem.

Too optimistic?  Maybe, but keep in mind, I have a man crush.


The League said...

As the GOP is pitching Ryan as one heartbeat away from running the free world, I am very curious about the man and look forward to hearing a more complete picture of his ideas. He's not the unknown that Palin was in '08, but I won't pretend like I know much about him other than the occasional headline.

And I'm glad Romney had the common sense not to recruit Rick Perry.

Anonymous said...

I'm still let down that he didn't go with Bobby Jindal.

Last night on the news they had that hairlip pant-load Ron Wyden doing his best to back away from earlier statements he had made that Paul Ryan was easy to work with.


Jake Shore said...

Well Ryan, I hope these videos help you get a better picture of the man. I won't hide my admiration for the guy, but I plan on posting a variety of videos that offer both praise and criticism, and that feature Mr. Ryan in a number of different situations so people can get a sense of who he is and how he handles himself. My belief is that people will come out with a net positive opinion of him.

It shows me that Romney was serious about choosing a competent person as a running mate. Ryan is probably one of the two or three sharpest guys in Washington. So, yes, I'm glad he didn't choose your esteemed Governor. Not that I dislike him. I'm just not sure he's ready for primetime.

Jake Shore said...

Ted, I would have been happy with Jindal, Rubio or Christie, as well. Rubio was actually my first choice. But Jindal will continue to be one of the best Governors in the country.

You wonder what is said to these guys behind closed doors, the guys who dare to step outside the administrations' narrative. They look like they've just had a gun held their heads. Remember a few months ago when Newark Mayor Cory Booker criticized the President's attacks on Bain Capital? He filmed out a retraction that looked like a hostage video.