Within seconds of Romney’s announcement that Ryan would be his running mate, the chatter started. Democrats expressed delight, because they see Ryan’s stance on Medicare as one they can use to portray Romney and Ryan as Satan incarnate. A couple of years ago, they showed Ryan pushing grandma’s wheelchair off the cliff. This year, I’m sure that they’re going to show him detonating the mushroom-shaped cloud that immolates every American over 50 . . . or is it 40? Or maybe 30?
Republicans haven’t been much better. They celebrated wildly because Ryan is so wonderful, and then immediately began worrying: He’s not the right color; Wisconsin brings too few electoral votes (10), as opposed to being a major swing state; bold picks seldom end well; he’s merely a competent speaker; and, of course, he is a target because of his attempts to save Medicare from itself.
What’s funny, though, is that each person who worries about some deficit in the Ryan pick comes back with an offering to show some demographic that nobody thought about, but that Ryan can bring into the Republican fold. Right now, Republicans remind me of the famous Monty Python Life of Brian skit, with a leader expressing horror about Roman rule, and the followers reminding him that it’s not all bad. For those of you unfamiliar with that scene (is there anybody unfamiliar with that scene), the leader of the People’s Front of Judea rhetorically, and with great disdain, asks his follows what the Romans have ever done for them, only to learn that his followers are able to recognize Roman virtues:
In no particular order, here are some of the things Paul Ryan, by appearing on the ticket, will end up doing for us, American conservatives:
1. As the famous six-minute video shows, Ryan has already stared Obama down once, when he wiped out Obama’s pie-in-sky rhetoric by agreeing with Obama’s goals and then showing irrefutably that the ObamaCare numbers couldn’t possibly add up:
Ryan’s math literacy didn’t actually dissuade an innumerate, ideology-driven Congress from leading us to the economic abyss. Polls show, however, that the American people, perhaps with a math ability driven by their own pocket books, have consistently agreed with Ryan to the effect that ObamaCare is a bad thing.
2. Ryan is popular in Wisconsin. Despite coming from a heavily Democrat district, he keeps winning. This matters because, with the Scott Walker statehouse protests, Wisconsin put itself right in the middle of the referendum over the direction America is taking. Despite the union spending there, Ryan’s and Walker’s party won. Wisconsin, then, finds itself being in the peculiar position of being a bellwether state and Ryan is one of the tocsins.
3. Ryan may not be the most fiery speaker in the world, and we’re completely in the dark about his teleprompter skills, but he is able to articulate the American vision in a way Romney can’t. Since this election is a referendum about American values, have someone on the ticket who is comfortable speaking about those values is huge . . . ginormous . . .incredibly important. If you ignore Charlie Rose’s bloviations, this video shows Ryan articulating just those values:
On second thought, don’t ignore Rose. The video shows admirably, not only that Ryan espouses core constitutional values, but also that he will not let MSM bullies derail him or even fluster him.
4. Although the Democrats are crowing about Ryan being toxic to seniors, the numbers show that seniors like him. Seniors understand two things: The first is that Ryan will not touch entitlements that have already vested; and the second is that Ryan is holding out the last best hope for the seniors’ children and grandchildren. Seniors, having lived long, are able to take the long view. Also, they’re probably supportive of Ryan’s values, which resonant with those values that were still prevalent in their own youths.
5. Young people may like him. Not only is he charmingly youthful, but they, next to African-Americans, are the demographic most horribly harmed by the Obama economy. Hope and change has morphed into sleeping in Mom’s garage and riding a bike to work because you can’t afford a car. Tara Servatius has a great post at American Thinker on precisely this point. I’ll cherry pick a few idea, but I urge you to read the whole thing:
A staggering 51 percent of those who graduated from college since 2006 don’t have a full-time job, according to a recent study. Ironically, these are the same voters who mobbed the polls for Obama in 2008, giving him a significant part of his winning margin.
Mitt Romney could have gone black, Hispanic, or female with his vice presidential pick. Instead, he did something smarter. He went young.
A whopping 66 percent of voters under 30 gave Obama their votes in 2008, making the disparity between young voters and other age groups larger than in any presidential election since exit polling began in 1972. But now, four years older, many of them have entered their 30s, and a full 50 percent say Obama has failed to change the way Washington works.
Until he picked Paul Ryan this weekend, Mitt Romney had no way of credibly addressing this cohort. Now, with Ryan at his side, he does. The Ryan pick was first and foremost a nod to a generation whose problems Obama not only has never truly addressed, but rarely even acknowledges.
6. Paul Ryan has an A rating from the NRA. Cynics will say that NRA ratings always matter to conservatives and constitutionalists, but this election is special. This may well be the first time in which NRA members and gun rights supporters understand that the loss of the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms is no longer a hypothetical worry, something that must be guarded in the abstract, but a genuine concern. Another four years in office will give Obama the chance to affect the Supreme Court (and that reed is sufficiently fragile already), to pack lower federal courts, and to issue more and more executive and administrative orders curtailing the American right to bear arms. Mitt Romney has waffled on this point, although he’s better than Obama; Ryan, as I said, is an “A.”
7. There’s nothing about Ryan that will scare away the Jews. That is, if Jews were already leaning away from Obama, Ryan won’t change that. Israel hasn’t been an issue for him, but every indication is that, as is true for most Republicans, he’s a friend to Israel.
8. Yes, Paul Ryan is a Tea Party candidate — and that’s a good thing. As Rick Richman points out, 2010 wasn’t the result of a few crazy people in George Washington costumes. The wave election that resulted in conservative candidates winning races in every corner of America, from small towns to the federal government, meant that many more people than just Tea Partiers looked at the Ryan world view and found it good. There’s no reason to believe that, in the face of Obama’s continued attacks on traditional American values, politics, national security, etc., people will have become disaffected from that Ryan-esque world view.
Those are just a few of the nice things I remember reading about Paul Ryan. I’m sure you can think of more.
I’ll just ask worried Republicans one thing: Other than being a budget wizard who’s not afraid of Barack Obama; being popular in a bellwether state; having the ability to articulate conservative values; appealing to seniors; holding out true, not hyped, hope for young voters; getting an A rating from the NRA; not scaring Jews; and representing a rising tide of American conservativism, what has Paul Ryan ever done for us?