NEWS BLOG (WSAU) The best thing about Mitt Romney’s choice is that is assures a serious debate about our nation’s budget and spending. Barack Obama’s record on the issue could not be weaker.
It is also a high-risk choice. In a nation where we are divided 50-50 between actual taxpayers and recipients of government largess, there’s no guarantee that the nation will choose a budget-cutter. There appear to be more active voters in the first group than the second. Andthat may change in future elections. So this may be the last stand for fiscal responsibility. The ‘takers’ may have clear majorities soon enough.
I have four additional thoughts about Paul Ryan as a VP running mate:
- Mitt Romney would not have made this choice if he was leading by 6, or 8, or 10-points at the polls. I think Romney’s heart is closer to Tim Pawlenty or Rob Portman. Ryan is high-risk, high-reward. It shows that Romney has run a poor campaign so far.
- I wonder whether Ryan hurts or helps in the must-win state ofFlorida. This is a state with tons of seniors, where the pushing-grandma-off-the-cliff TV commercial resonates. Can Ryan and Romney make a persuasive argument that seniors today need to accept changes to social benefits for the grandchildren’s’ sakes? While many seniors may nod their heads in agreement, they still vote in their own self interest. Romney cannot win the White House without Florida, and today the state is too close to call.
- There are some people who like the Paul Ryan pick because it sets him up as a presidential candidate in 2016 (if Romney loses) or 2020 (if Romney wins). I’m not so sure. If a fiscally-responsible cut-spending agenda doesn’t play well on the bottom of the national ticket this year, I’m not sure the GOP will want to try it at the top in four years.
- We’re about to find out if we’re a national of grown-ups, capable of making difficult choices about our financial futures… or if we’re going to continue to blissfully dance towards the edge of fiscal cliff. And the answer isn’t at all clear.