Romney’s pick is no boring white guy

I am jazzed, I really am, by Paul Ryan’s selection to be Mitt Romney’s running mate.

Yes, it’s great to have someone from Wisconsin, finally, on a major party presidential ticket. Heck, Janesville is just down the road. Been there. So yeah, it puts Wisconsin in play, but Ryan’s selection is much bigger than our 10 electoral votes.

It means that America will have a serious debate about serious issues because few people in public life have thought more thoroughly about what is sustainable for the long term.

It means that one of the major party presidential tickets will have at least one candidate who can put into readily understandable, everyday language, the choices that confront America and the solutions.

It means we have a ticket that actually respects the intelligence of the voters, that trusts them to make difficult decisions. Romney-Ryan will not pander, they won’t tell campfire ghost stories or call names. They are adults talking to adults.

It means we have courage on the ticket, as Ryan himself said of Scott Walker in the governor’s recall election. And Romney and Ryan saw close up that voters respect – and expect – their elected leaders to make difficult decisions.

I had the good fortune to witness Republicans Romney and Ryan (there’s your three Rs) work a rally at the Marriott in Middleton before Wisconsin’s presidential primary in April. They worked together like Lunt and Fontanne. They were a natural pair, ideally suited, and what great hair!

Paul Ryan is simply the best stump speaker on a presidential ticket since Ronald Reagan. Barack Obama? He’s more eloquent, the rhetoric achieves higher altitudes, but what does he say? What is the message? Hope and change in 2008 was an empty glass, pour whatever you wanted into it.

Four years later, as Paul Ryan himself put it over the weekend, “hope and change has been replaced by attack and blame.”

If you presided over the longest sustained economic recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s, the worst indebtedness ever, you would want to change the subject as well.

So the Democratic ticket, with no private sector experience whatsoever, is suggesting that Mitt Romney is a felon for being a successful businessperson. Democrats will attack Paul Ryan’s proposed reform of entitlements; they’ll show him pushing grandma off a cliff, because they have no plan of their own. Hell, the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate has yet to pass a budget bill. So the Dems’ campaign will be the multimillion-dollar equivalent of blowing vuvuzelas in America’s ear, of banging plastic buckets in drum circles and painting little Hitler mustaches on their opponents.

It won’t work, and Paul Ryan and Scott Walker proved it. The electorate understands that the government does not create jobs, that government spending is the problem, not the solution. They know that Spain, Greece, and Italy can happen here. They do not apologize for thinking of America as the only nation founded on an ideal, as Paul Ryan said in his announcement speech in Norfolk, Va.

Romney-Ryan understand that the United States became great on individual initiative. The ability to succeed brings the risk of failure.  

Ryan’s selection was not based on demographics or ticket balancing, although Ryan is Catholic to Romney’s Mormonism and he is a Gen-Xer running with a boomer. He does not bring the appeal to identity politics that Condi Rice or Marco Rubio might have, but Paul Ryan is no boring white guy. Ryan was chosen as notice that this ticket will go bold, as Scott Walker urged. You will see Paul Ryan front and center in swing states that will decide the election. I’d pay to see him debate the president; he’ll have to settle for Joe Biden.

The Mittster may have been more correct than he knew when he introduced Paul Ryan as "the next president of the United States." If Mitt had added the words "after me," he would have nailed it.

At the age of 42, Paul Ryan has more consequential experience in government than a man his same age elected vice president 112 years ago, one Theodore Roosevelt. Come what may this November, Ryan’s star is poised to go as far. Like TR, he will capture America’s imagination and lead it to greatness.

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