So, it's Paul Ryan! No, he isn't pro-choice. And no, he isn't a woman. But in a year when we need to put social issues on the back burner to get our economy's engine revving again, he is the right pick. Talk about warming up the ticket. After all, when was the last time a potential VP broke down in tears because he was so moved at being back home. You gotta love this quote from the New York Daily News on Ryan's reaction to being back in Wisconsin, "My veins run with cheese, bratwurst, a little Spotted Cow, Leiney's, and some Miller." There's something charming about a Vice Presidential pick who admits he's a cheesehead!
Of course, Ryan is a great pick for Republican candidate Mitt Romney for some strictly practical reasons as well. For all the emotion, Ryan is at his core a dollars and sense guy who makes a lot of sense. He is determined to stop the "just raise taxes" mentality in Washington to focus on long term spending. He wisely sees the way to reform health care isn't through harsh penalties or profligate spending by the federal government, it is to put the patient first by forcing the industry to compete for our health care dollars. The way he would do that is by having states pool together to increase their purchasing power. He's compassionate in ways that might surprise you. He wants to give economically depressed areas special income tax credits.
The reason he is a surprise pick is that no one really knows much about him. Only 17 percent of voters said they are more likely to vote for Mitt Romney because he has chosen Paul Ryan as his running mate. More than half of all Americans don't know if he was a Senator, a Congressman, Governor of his State, or just another Department head out of Washington. For the record he was a Representative in the House, Chairman of the House Budget committee, and a Senior member on Ways and Means.
It's just a wild guess but I think Americans are going to fall for Paul Ryan and that he really is a rock star in the making. He is young and passionate about putting our economy back on the rails. He is a bit of a policy wonk, but given that Mitt Romney has been criticized for not being specific enough, Ryan is the guy who can literally point to his "A Roadmap for America's Future" to show where the cuts will be made. To highlight a few, Social Security as we know it would remain the same for those 55 and over. For those under 55, you would have control over your own individual savings accounts that could be passed on to your survivors. Americans would have flexibility with taxes, opting to choose one of two rates for example depending on your willingness to forgo deductions, too.
Romney has been criticized for being vague on where he would make cuts, but Ryan's "Roadmap for America's Future" could not be any clearer. If you can assume that Romney's choice of Paul Ryan is an endorsement of his ideas, then the message Romney seems to be sending is that fiscal arrest and rehabilitation will be his top priorities when he gets to Washington.
Photo via Mitt Romney