And, once again, almost all the prognosticators got it wrong, including myself. Early this morning, NBC – who has the best political coverage, hands down – called it. Paul Ryan has been chosen as Mitt Romney’s running mate.
This has been confirmed multiple times, not the least of which by the campaign itself – my Mitt’s VP just went off a few moments ago, confirming that Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan is the choice.
Ryan is, in my opinion, a risky choice – but a good one. He is young, charismatic, and extremely smart. He has been the intellectual core of the Republican party for the 112th Congress – one of the few members of our party who has actually put on paper the ideas that many of us have been pushing, namely fiscal discipline, reducing the deficit and the national debt, and reducing the size of government. He will be able to take the fight directly to the President, and he should run circles around Joe Biden in the Vice Presidential debate.
He’s even got his own meme.
The reason the choice is risky is two-fold. First, unlike the other choices of McDonnell, Portman and Rubio, Ryan doesn’t bring a geographic constituency to the ticket that is needed in November. Wisconsin hasn’t gone red since 1984, and even that was an aberration, with Wisconsin being solidly blue for most of the years since. Coming from the House of Representatives, if he’s elected, he’ll be the first Vice President to be elected from out of the House since FDR chose Speaker of the House John Nance Garner of Texas to be his running mate in 1932 (Gerald Ford was a House member when selected by Nixon to fill the vacancy created by Spiro Agnew’s resignation).
Second, Ryan is most known for his 2012 budget, which Democrats have been demagoging left and right as being “the end of medicare as we know it.” We can expect them to ratchet the class warfare and out-of-touch arguments to a banshee pitch in the next few days, doing their best Mediscare routine. They may also try to hit him on his age – at 42, he would be one of the youngest men elected Vice President (not the youngest – John C. Breckinridge, James Buchanan’s Vice President, was 36 when elected). He also doesn’t have much foreign policy experience, but that’s not what Romney’s running on so that shouldn’t be a real issue.
Ryan is well liked by the Tea Party and the Republican establishment. He’s smart, he’s been a hard worker, and he’s solidly conservative. As a Catholic, he balances Romney’s religion as well.
And – the best thing for Romney, who needs a big bump – he hasn’t been on the top of many VP lists. Speculation surrounding him only really began very recently – within the last month.
The Romney/Ryan ticket can be a winner. Good for Romney for not doing what we all expected him to do – play it safe.
UPDATE #1: From the Romney campaign:
MITT ROMNEY & PAUL RYAN: AMERICA’S COMEBACK TEAM
Boston, MA – Mitt Romney today announced Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan as his Vice Presidential running mate. Below is Congressman Ryan’s biography:
U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan is in his seventh term in Congress representing Wisconsin’s First Congressional District. He is Chairman of the House Budget Committee, where he has worked tirelessly leading the effort to reign in federal spending and increase accountability to taxpayers. He also serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, where he has focused on simplifying the tax code and making health care more affordable and accessible.
In January 2010, Ryan gained attention nationwide after unveiling his “Roadmap for America’s Future,” a proposal to eliminate the federal deficit, reform the tax code, and preserve entitlements for future generations.
Representative Ryan was born in Janesville, Wisconsin on January 29, 1970. A fifth-generation Wisconsin native, Ryan was the youngest of four children born to Paul Ryan Sr., who worked as an attorney, and Betty, a stay-at-home mom.
In April 2000, Ryan proposed to Janna Little, a native Oklahoman, at one of his favorite fishing spots, Big St. Germain Lake in Wisconsin. Later that year, the two were married in Oklahoma City
The Ryans reside in Janesville with their three children, Liza, Charlie and Sam. The family are parishioners at St. John Vianney Catholic Church.
Upon entering Congress in January of 1999, Ryan was the youngest member of the freshmen class at the age of 28. Prior to running for Congress, Ryan served as an aide to Republican Senators Robert Kasten Jr. and Sam Brownback, former U.S. Rep. and Vice Presidential Candidate Jack Kemp, and as a speechwriter for Education Secretary William Bennett.
Ryan is a graduate of Joseph A. Craig High School in Janesville and earned degrees in economics and political science from Miami University in Ohio. He is an avid outdoorsman and is a member is of his local archery association, the Janesville Bowmen.
PAUL RYAN’S REMARKS IN NORFOLK
Thank you Governor Romney, Ann. I am deeply honored and excited to join you as your running mate.
Mitt Romney is a leader with the skills, the background and the character that our country needs at a crucial time in its history. Following four years of failed leadership, the hopes of our country, which have inspired the world, are growing dim; and they need someone to revive them. Governor Romney is the man for this moment; and he and I share one commitment: we will restore the dreams and greatness of this country.
I want you to meet my family. My wife Janna, our daughter Liza, and our sons, Charlie and Sam.
I am surrounded by the people I love, and I have been asked by Governor Romney to serve the country I love.
Janesville, Wisconsin is where I was born and raised, and I never really left it. It’s our home now.
For the last 14 years, I have proudly represented Wisconsin in Congress. There, I have focused on solving the problems that confront our country, and turning ideas into action; and action into solutions.
I am committed, in heart and mind, to putting that experience to work in a Romney Administration. This is a crucial moment in the life of our nation; and it is absolutely vital that we select the right man to lead America back to prosperity and greatness.
That man is standing next to me. His name is Mitt Romney. And he will be the next president of the United States
My dad died when I was young. He was a good and decent man. I still remember a couple of things he would say that have really stuck with me. “Son you are either part of the problem or part of the solution.”
Regrettably, President Obama has become part of the problem,…and Mitt Romney is the solution.
The other thing my dad would say is that every generation of Americans leaves their children better off. That’s the American legacy.
Sadly, for the first time in our history, we are on a path which will undo that legacy. That is why we need new leadership to become part of the solution – new leadership to restore prosperity, economic growth, and jobs.
It is our duty to save the American Dream for our children, and theirs.
And I believe there is no person in America who is better prepared – because of his experience; because of the principles he holds; and because of his achievements and excellence in so many different arenas – to lead America at this point in its history.
Let me say a word about the man Mitt Romney will replace. No one disputes President Obama inherited a difficult situation. And, in his first 2 years, with his party in complete control of Washington, he passed nearly every item on his agenda. But that didn’t make things better.
In fact, we find ourselves in a nation facing debt, doubt and despair.
This is the worst economic recovery in 70 years. Unemployment has been above 8 percent for more than three years, the longest run since the Great Depression. Families are hurting.
We have the largest deficits and the biggest federal government since WWII.
Nearly 1 out of 6 Americans are in poverty–the worst rate in a generation. Moms and dads are struggling to make ends meet.
Household incomes have dropped by more than $4,000 over the past four years.
Whatever the explanations, whatever the excuses, this is a record of failure.
President Obama, and too many like him in Washington, have refused to make difficult decisions because they are more worried about their next election than they are about the next generation. We might have been able to get away with that before, but not now. We’re in a different, and dangerous, moment. We’re running out of time — and we can’t afford 4 more years of this.
Politicians from both parties have made empty promises which will soon become broken promises–with painful consequences–if we fail to act now.
I represent a part of America that includes inner cities, rural areas, suburbs and factory towns. Over the years I have seen and heard from a lot from families, from those running small businesses, and from people who are in need. But what I have heard lately troubles me the most. There is something different in their voice and in their words. What I hear from them are diminished dreams, lowered expectations, uncertain futures.
I hear some people say that this is just “the new normal.” High unemployment, declining incomes and crushing debt is not a new normal. It’s the result of misguided policies. And next January, our economy will begin a comeback with the Romney Plan for a Stronger Middle Class that will lead to more jobs and more take home pay for working Americans.
America is on the wrong track; but Mitt Romney and I will take the right steps, in the right time, to get us back on the right track!
I believe my record of getting things done in Congress will be a very helpful complement to Governor Romney’s executive and private sector success outside Washington. I have worked closely with Republicans as well as Democrats to advance an agenda of economic growth, fiscal discipline, and job creation.
I’m proud to stand with a man who understands what it takes to foster job creation in our economy, someone who knows from experience, that if you have a small business—you did build that.
At Bain Capital, he launched new businesses and he turned around failing ones – companies like Staples, Bright Horizons and Sports Authority, just to name a few. Mitt Romney created jobs and showed he knows how a free economy works.
At the Olympics, he took a failing enterprise and made it the pride of our entire nation.
As governor of Massachusetts, he worked with Democrats and Republicans to balance budgets with no tax increases, lower unemployment, increase income and improve people’s lives.
In all of these things, Mitt Romney has shown himself to be a man of achievement, excellence and integrity.
Janna and I tell Liza, Charlie and Sam that America is a place where, if you work hard and play by the rules, you can get ahead.
We Americans look at one another’s success with pride, not resentment, because we know, as more Americans work hard, take risks, and succeed, more people will prosper, our communities will benefit, and individual lives will be improved and uplifted.
But America is more than just a place…it’s an idea. It’s the only country founded on an idea. Our rights come from nature and God, not government. We promise equal opportunity, not equal outcomes.
This idea is founded on the principles of liberty, freedom, free enterprise, self-determination and government by consent of the governed.
This idea is under assault. So, we have a critical decision to make as a nation.
We are on an unsustainable path that is robbing America of our freedom and security. It doesn’t have to be this way.
The commitment Mitt Romney and I make to you is this:
We won’t duck the tough issues…we will lead!
We won’t blame others…we will take responsibility!
We won’t replace our founding principles…we will reapply them!
We will honor you, our fellow citizens, by giving you the right and opportunity to make the choice:
What kind of country do we want to have?
What kind of people do we want to be?
We can turn this thing around. Real solutions can be delivered. But, it will take leadership. And the courage to tell you the truth.
Mitt Romney is this kind of leader. I’m excited for what lies ahead and I’m thrilled to be a part of America’s Comeback Team. And together, we will unite America and get this done.