Some early thoughts on Mitt Romney's decision to choose Paul Ryan as his running mate:
A Romney-Ryan ticket was one of the six choices I listed on the New Year's pool back in December of 2011.
We've had extensive coverage of Mr. Ryan here at FutureOfCapitalism, including his Heritage Foundation speech, his Georgetown University speech, his MSNBC appearance, his Good Morning America appearance, his tax plan with a 25% top rate, his talk at the George W. Bush Institute's 4% Growth conference, a review of his book Young Guns, his speech to the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, various YouTube videos, his penchant for means-testing, and his praise of David Brooks.
Roll Call says Mr. Ryan can run simultaneously for vice president and for re-election to his House seat, so if Mr. Romney loses the presidential election, Mr. Ryan can stay in the House and, if the Republicans keep the majority, remain as chairman of the Budget Committee (and weigh a presidential campaign in 2016).
I had been hoping Mr. Romney would pick Senator Toomey of Pennsylvania, but I think Mr. Ryan is a pretty good choice. It sends the message that an important part of getting America back on the path to prosperity is getting control of the federal debt and deficit problem. If Mr. Ryan and Mr. Romney can articulate this in an optimistic way, without running aground on what I've called the dentist problem, they have a decent shot at not just winning the election, but winning a substantive policy mandate that could actually change America's fiscal trajectory for the better. It gains Mr. Romney some Washington budget policy expertise. As for the criticism that it's going to turn the election into a discussion of Mr. Ryan's plans to "cut" Medicare, Mike Allen points out that "Romney was already paying the price for embracing the Ryan budget," that is, Democrats were already attacking him for it.
Finally, Mr. Ryan is likable in a kind of nerdy, modest, Midwestern way, and he sends a message about a generational shift. Mitt Romney can sometimes come off as old-fashioned, someone from the generation of his father, George Romney. Mr. Ryan is 42, and his generational outlook translates into policy when he puts America's future fiscal health ahead of the sacred cow of Medicare. This shows up in ways as subtle as how Mr. Ryan introduces himself — "Hi, I'm Paul," was how he greeted me when I first met him, sounding like one of those internship applicants from college or high school who don't use their last names.
Some Republican voters, as in 2008 and 1996, may be tempted to reverse the order, writing in the more ideologically electrifying candidate (Palin, Kemp, Ryan) at the top of the ticket.
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