With Paul Ryan, Romney Goes ‘Bold’ and Clarifies the 2012 Choice

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Brooks Kraft / Corbis for TIME

Vice presidential running mate Rep. Paul Ryan waves to supporters during a rally in Manassas, Va. on Aug. 11, 2012.

Late Friday night the Associated Press reported that Mitt Romney has chosen Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan to be his running mate. In choosing the 42-year-old conservative budget guru, Romney eschewed the “safe” choice many political insiders had expected, opting instead to “go bold.” He turned to a rising star whose fiscal vision dazzles the right while energizing Democrats who say they relish the chance to run against him. As a result, the 2012 election is likely to shift from a narrow debate about the state of the economy to a much broader one about the size and role of government in America.

Running mates rarely shift the trajectory of a presidential campaign. This time could be different. Ryan’s political identity is built on his famous budget plans, whose most recent iteration would cut spending by $5.3 trillion more than President Obama’s last official budget proposal over the next decade. Ryan’s deepest cuts would come from health care spending, in the form of major reductions to Medicaid and Medicare, which he would transform dramatically by replacing virtually unlimited federal payments for services with capped vouchers.

(MORE: See Swampland’s Full Election Coverage)

Conservatives thrill to this vision. While they may be angry about the immediate state of the economy, they see a greater macro-crisis involving the national debt and a steadily expanding welfare state. In touting Ryan last week, the Wall Street Journal editorial page wrote that his selection would offer voters “a generational choice about the role of government and whether America will once again become a growth economy or sink into interest-group dominated decline.” On a personal level, Ryan’s fans see an amiable, articulate and entirely sincere messenger for their principles.

Ryan thrills Democrats, too, but in a different way. They revile him for proposing budget cuts that would preserve Bush-era tax rates for the wealthy while disproportionately affecting programs for lower-income Americans. In April 2011, Barack Obama said of Ryan’s budget:

it paints a vision of our future that’s deeply pessimistic. There’s nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. And I don’t think there’s anything courageous about asking for sacrifice from those who can least afford it and don’t have any clout on Capitol Hill.

Amid this outrage, however, is a measure of glee. Spending cuts are popular in the abstract; less so when made specific. Medicare, for instance, is a wildly popular federal program, especially among senior citizens who vote with notorious reliability. Many Democrats believe they have already demonstrated the electoral dangers of Ryan’s budget, a strategy that Republicans like to dub “Mediscare.” “All I have to say is: Bring It,” Neera Tanden, president of the liberal Center for American Progress, Tweeted late Friday.

(PHOTOS: Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin)

Ryan will not head the Republican ticket this fall, of course. But in a subsequent e-mail, Tanden argued that in choosing Ryan, Romney had sent a clear ideological signal about his own candidacy: “Mitt Romney has been cowed by the right wing into choosing an extreme vice presidential nominee who will alienate moderate voters,” Tanden said, adding that the choice reveals Romney to be “unwilling or unable to stand up to the far-right of his party and select a vice-presidential candidate that is both able to be president on day one and capable of governing by reaching across the aisle.”

It’s true that Romney’s choice of Ryan may represent a bow to pressure from conservative party activists, donors and pundits, many of whom have never fully trusted Romney’s ideological bona fides. It might also tell us something about his campaign advisers’ theory of the race–namely, concern over Romney’s struggle to win over independent voters, a belief that a referendum on the state of economy won’t suffice, and a hope that Romney’s best chance lies with energizing the GOP base with a sweeping message about the size of government. Or it could simply be a matter of genuine respect and chemistry.

(MORE: TIME’s Person of the Year Runner-Up Paul Ryan)

The pick also shrugs off other risks and drawbacks. Ryan has trashed Romney’s Massachusetts health care law. He lacks experience in foreign policy, an area where Romney has struggled to match Obama. The Congressman from Wisconsin is also young, boyish, and relatively new to the national stage. Critics will note that he’s made few big decisions under pressure, and will ask whether a budget wonk born in the 1970s should be a heartbeat away from leading the western world. (Even Sarah Palin had some executive experience.)

At least some prominent Republicans have qualms. “Paul Ryan is a star. I hope one day I will get to vote for him for President. But right now, in this election, he’s the wrong choice for VP,” Tweeted the Republican strategist (and former Romney adviser) Mike Murphy on Friday, who fears that a debate about cutting entitlements isn’t the path to GOP victory.

Mitt Romney has been accused of lacking a grand vision. No one says that about Paul Ryan. It’s not clear how much Ryan will help Romney’s prospects. But he is sure to clarify the choice voters will have this fall.

Further reading: Three recent Ryan profiles, including one straightforward (by the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza); one hostile (by New York’s Jonathan Chait); and one glowing (by the Weekly Standard’s Stephen F. Hayes). See also David Von Drehle’s TIME 2011 Person of the Year runner-up profile.

PHOTOS: Political Pictures of the Week, July 27 – Aug. 3

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Richard Giles
Richard Giles

We hear the condescending attitude towards women and we see the elitist mentality in their performance.  It isn't just one of them as it is seen throughout their ranks and totally prevalent in their leaders.  Mitt Romney is one of the elitist, loyal to their interests, by heritage and by financial status; he demonstrated that focus at Bain and in his complete history and he continually states it in all he says.  They intend to "turn things around" on the backs of women and on the backs of the middle class; Romney has said as much and Ryan has demonstrated it in his budget, which advocates additional burden on the middle-class just to give more to the very wealthy.  Listen to what they say, really listen and evaluate it, and watch their actions, objectively watch and see - they are cocksure as they pander to the 1% who provide the mega-millions for the constant propaganda aimed to con the 99%.  There is no hope for the majority there, as there isn't any conscience or concern for the people, only subterfuge offered with their cocky confidence in the power, influence and money provided them - that being done with significant "strings" attached.The Republican / Tea Party has become owned and controlled by "the money".  There is no doubt about that as it is obvious in their complete concentration on serving "the money's" interests, in the total support provided to them (with demands for return considerations) and in their taking the people for granted as together (with the mega-millions being spent, SuperPacs, etc.) they aggressively concentrate on conning the people and manipulating public opinion.  They simply insultingly take the voters for granted as if "pawns" in their private game of politics.  "Conservative" is their deceptive word but unless it means feeding the insatiable "more" (never enough) appetite of the 1% while leaving the 99% struggling, it is only "smoke and mirrors".   The people need to recognize the deception aimed to dupe and control them, reject the abundant propaganda that plays on their emotions and firmly reject the "puppet" politicians who will dutifully serve only "the money", in order to convey the message that they just won't be so easily used and abused.

Richard Giles
Richard Giles

To Believe Romney-Ryan are the saviors for the economy is self-delusional.  Ryan's budget, Romney's history and both of their words clearly demonstrate their total commitment to serving "the money" and to continually taking the majority for granted, to just  further feed the insatiable "more" (never enough) appetite of the 1% while leaving the 99% struggling, while witnessing the further disappearance of the middle-class.  The Republican / Tea Party has become owned and controlled by "the money" and with the power, influence and money provided they simply take the majority for granted while assuming they can con the people and manipulate public opinion.  They have no conscience or concern for the majority as they even strive to excite emotions of the conservative pro-life Christian, to their totally advocating for strong infringement on womans rights.  Their deceptive positions reek of male egotism and theocratic ideals, next they will simply want women to wear sacks over their heads.  Seriously it is obvious that they will use any argument to gain support and no where do they ever demonstrate any rational concern for other than their political ambitions and for serving "the money", how ever they need to accomplish their goals.  Are the people really just that easy?

Jim Ward
Jim Ward

The Republicans refused to even allow debate let alone support the President's jobs plan. The bill was then broken into 16 separate bills and Republicans got behind exactly one of these. Republicans have openly declared -- despicably during wartime and economic crisis -- that their number one priority has always been defeating the President. They now, with nothing to run on, want to revive the Cold War and McCarthyism as they try to portray this moderate President as some kind of "Commie." All to distract from the Republican policies that led this great nation to near economic disaster: "trickle down" that never trickled, Bush tax cuts that never turned into jobs, tax cuts for the wealthy even in wartime, downsizing and outsourcing, sending good middle class jobs overseas, making millions by bankrupting companies and laying off workers, unleashing Wall Street and the banks via deregulation, tax avoidance and overseas bank accounts, letting our infrastructure decay, and more. All while demonizing "big government" -- otherwise know as school teachers, police officers, fire fighters, construction workers, librarians and other public workers. Romney/Ryan are the Walmart of public policy -- killing downtowns, crushing small business, sending jobs overseas and diminishing any sense of accountability or civic responsibility.

Richard Giles
Richard Giles

Want ridiculous, consider this, Romney and Ryan are now touting that they are for the middle-class.  That really should be insultingly offensive for the majority as it is literally taking for granted that they can dupe the people with it.  The last twelve years have seen the Republican / Tea Party totally fixated on catering to the 1%, their strong supporters and masters, while taking the 99% for granted ... they have simply done absolutely nothing for the middle-class, in fact they have cost them substantially by catering solely to the interests of “the money”.  The Republicans have consistently supported the pushing of America into being a two-class society with the 1% always feeding their insatiable “more” (never enough) appetite, while the 99% constantly looses more.  Romney is actually one of the 1%, has a history of concentrating on the goals of the 1% and all along has loyally advocated support for the 1%’s interests.  Ryan has consistently voted and spoken in complete support of the 1%’s interests, even to pushing policies that not only favor them but also that cost the 99% greatly.  What this clearly shows is that they don’t respect the intelligence of the majority and will actually do / say anything.  What the majority needs to do is deliver the message that they aren’t so easily conned, used and abused by firmly rejecting their deceptive rhetoric and them with it.

Bobby John
Bobby John

What's at Stake? Health Care for all vs. Health Coverage to Stall (and to forestall). There's one thing even more atrociously despicable than elected pols who knowingly, deliberately and unendingly demonize the poverty stricken, elderly/disabled and disseminate demoralizing mistruths and that is: One that does so solely at the behest as well as solely in the best interests of their backers in order to continue increasing the nominee's campaign's (unquestionably nearly bottomless) campaign war chests.Do we really want to choose the GOP who continue to demonize our senior's Medicare lifelines and demoralizes it's worthy beneficiaries - those who worked an entire lifetime in order to be eligible for it - recipients who are usually decent, independent; mostly humble folks who are currently living on a meager and fixed income, who simply need a little or a even bit more aid when grandpa or granny's 'Misery' is acting up? And the reason for all of those the draconian cuts: Just because the candidate wants himself and his privileged fellow backers and cronies to individually keep their whopping 86% (what's left-over after their meager so-called 'tax burden') of their enormous individual wealth to themselves.

What's at Stake? Health Care for all vs. Health Coverage to Stall (and to forestall).

There's one thing even more atrociously despicable than elected pols who knowingly, deliberately and unendingly demonize the poverty stricken, elderly/disabled and disseminate demoralizing mistruths and that is: One that does so solely at the behest as well as solely in the best interests of their backers in order to continue increasing the nominee's campaign's (unquestionably nearly bottomless) campaign war chests.

Do we really want to choose the GOP who continue to demonize our senior's Medicare lifelines and demoralizes it's worthy beneficiaries - those who worked an entire lifetime in order to be eligible for it - recipients who are usually decent, independent; mostly humble folks who are currently living on a meager and fixed income, who simply need a little or a even bit more aid when grandpa or granny's 'Misery' is acting up?

And the reason for all of those the draconian cuts: Just because the candidate wants himself and his privileged fellow backers and cronies to individually keep their whopping 86% (what's left-over after their meager so-called 'tax burden') of their enormous individual wealth to themselves.

 

The True

Bold and Clear Choice in the November 2012 Election: Charitable Benevolence for

the Suffering and Disabled at the expense of pulling back on the Old Pre-2008 (approx.

5 years Now) Bush Tax Cuts vs. Continued Tax Cuts for the Cash Cow Privileged

Few!

Richard Giles
Richard Giles

The choice is clear as long as we keep reality clear in our minds and the reality is that the rhetoric doesn't ever matter as the politicians' actions will be totally consistent with satisfying the interests of their supporters who demand no less ... and the more support that is given, the more mega-millions that is poured into that support, the more tightly are the strings tied to that support. The abundant and slanted rhetoric offered about the issues is the necessary subterfuge aimed to rationalize, with deception and creative logic, in oder to seem authentic ... but the consistent reality is that the politicians literally have to be focused on satisfying their strong supporters.  It is totally obvious when putting the subterfuge aside and considering what is at the heart of their actions, seeing the reality of who always benefits.

The Republican / Tea Party is owned and controlled by "the money" and over the last twelve years we have clearly seen their "puppet" performances in both the protection of "the money's" interests and their stubborn blocking and arrogant faulting of Obama's and the Democrats' efforts – literally they just have no choice and we should expect nothing else. The Democrats, while receiving a few sizable contributions, are largely dependent on the people for their support and power, which dictates they have to focus on the people's interests ... with the problem there being "all of the people's interests", with it then being hard to satisfy everyone, thus leaving opportunities for many to be conned and manipulated with appeals to biases, prejudices, fears, emotions and loyalties. In the final analysis, it should be remembered that the Republicans have no choice, no matter how they disguise it, but to cater to the 1% and that just leaves no room for ever satisfying the 99%. The rest is simply BS.

La_Randy
La_Randy

I guess that guy waving the "Keep your government hands off my Medicare" sign at those tea party rallys is happy today. ;-)

advancedatheist
advancedatheist

Ryan's conflicted allegiances show that Ayn Rand's alternative humanism has gotten traction in American society organically, and without any central planning to make this happen. She managed to bypass not only the Magisterium's indoctrination system, but also the left's propaganda channels in education, academia, government and the media. I can see why she annoys a wide range of people. 

superlogi
superlogi

The central planning  thing was already tried, many times.  After about 100 million dead, starved, imprisoned and dislocated, most of us figured out it didn't work as a good alternative to Ayn Rand's humanism, although many keep wanting to try it again with a different "enlightened" group who they think can make it work.  

bobell
bobell

There is something in between, SL.  Arstotle called it the Golden Mean.  Modern social scientists call it a mixed economy.

We've had oa mixed economy since at least the aftermath of the 1929 crash. Sometimes it works well, sometimes it doesn't. The answer is to fine-tune it, not abandon it.

bobell
bobell

The United States does not have a planned economy, and no sane person wants one.

Are you really suggesting unbridled capitalism? I think the societal impact of the Industrial Revolution would suffice to discourage that.  Or perhaps we could go all the way back to feudalism. That really worked well for the one percent, didn't it -- but what about the other 99?

Despite all our fine rhetoric, I think you and I are arguing about different points in a ten percent range along the full continuum from pure capitalism to pure communism.  If that's not the case, then tell me you want to return to the 1880s and I'll STFU.

superlogi
superlogi

It takes many years for the welfare state to reflect it's flaws.  The Russian Revolution began in 1917 and within 40 years created more misery, death and suffering than all the previous wars and pestilence combined.  By the late 80's it imploded.  Government dependence which began at the beginning of enlightened progressivism early in the 20th Century is causing the entire globe to face bankruptcy.  When something doesn't work, you look for solutions that have worked, not continue with practices that haven't because they may cause relatively short-term inconveniences which, frankly, are nothing more than economic corrections.  Governments have been suggesting they can smooth those corrections to make them relatively painless, substituting it's own uneducated and inexperienced judgement for society itself.  As, I've said, it has not only not worked, it's been disastrous for those societies.  It's time to go back to the time when government served us and we didn't serve government.  I, firmly, believe the current occupant of the White House, believes the former and not the latter. I, also, believe anyone but a blind person understands that.

PS  Mixed implies iterations of the necessities of collectivism which include national cohesion (enforcement of the rule of law, national defense, infrastructure development and maintenance,  regulation, as opposed to control, of international and interstate commerce).  When mixed is a metaphor for government planning the economy, it has gone too far and that is the direction we're, currently, heading.  And, obviously, the planned economy has shown to be a disastrous failure.  

You mean cap amp; tax, investment in private companies, EPA regulations prohibiting energy development, bailing out auto companies and the stimulus that wasn't, the attempt to control 16% of the economy with health "reform", all culminating in $6 trillion of borrowed money your children will have to pay back isn't an attempt to steer the economy, if not control it? Frankly, I have no illusions on what progressivism is and always has been. It is, in fact, a philosophy, of government providing economic comfort and while the idea is quiet alluring, it has that little problem with unintended consequences, some of which, we're currently experiencing.

bobell, just who is capable of bridling capitalism? Unfortunately, given the last few years of our experience, government has replaced it. It' s a cure much worse than the malady.

Hansome
Hansome

Uh, no. A bold choice would have been regal, ravishing Rebecca Kleefisch, or High Plains hottie Kristi Noem. No spice in this dull broth.

bobell
bobell

No, no. Really bold would have been Whoopi Goldberg. But it's hard to criticize Mitt for passing her up.

Benevolent Lawyer
Benevolent Lawyer

I am aghast that Romney is reselling the same policies that almost destroyed the very fabric of American life.  Paul Ryan might look like  a fresh faced choir boy, but he championed the 8-years of Bush policies that got us into the hell that Obama is struggling to put behind.

Ryan signed Norquist's pledge and rejected EVERY job proposal or legislation that Obama proposed. Now he is marketing his increase in tax cuts for the wealthy and then yaw;l can get some crumbs?????? 

That Romney has the temerity to sell this to the electorate is troubling. Their polls must show something that we do not know. Most probably, that we have a low information, high in fear electorate.

What a sad day. 

http://blackrepublicanandmywor...

Brooke314
Brooke314

Here's a good knee slapper:

"He lacks experience in foreign policy, an area where Romney has struggled to match Obama."  You'd be hard pressed to be less experienced in foreign policy (or economics or business, for that matter) than a community organizer.

bobell
bobell

The last three-plus years don't count?

Mark Smith
Mark Smith

 Three extremely successful years. America is no longer the laughing stock of the world. we need a cool, smart guy with a plan. Not another shoot from the hip, start another war coward like Bush.

BindyH
BindyH

White, male conservative. Bold? I don't think so.

sacredh
sacredh

But Ryan is YOUNG, white, male and conservative. The republican tent is very, very large and will include white conservative males from all walks of life.

Bhujangarao Inaganti
Bhujangarao Inaganti

I think Romney has made a right choice to be in the Republican mold otherwise he was faltering to explain till now his actual program.There will be an enlightened campaign before he electorate which is very much needed and ultimately it will be Obama who will prevail.