Mitt Romney has proved everyone wrong. The common wisdom was the presumptive Republican nominee for president was going to make a safe pick, going with an old Washington hand from an important swing state for vice president. By tapping 42-year-old Rep. Paul Ryan from Wisconsin, Mr. Romney shows that he is taking the fight into blue states deep in the heart of territory Barack Obama won four years ago. This is the strategy of a winner.
Choosing Mr. Ryan, the wonky chairman of the House Budget Committee, telegraphs one message about the autumn campaign loud and clear to President Obama: It is about the economy stupid, and you won’t be able to hide from the issues. Liberals are already attacking the Ryan budget – which actually would have gotten federal books back in order – as being bad for the poor. However, this demagoguery comes from a Democratic Party that hasn’t approved a budget in the Senate in 1,200 days and has added a heart-stopping $5 trillion to the national debt since the last budget resolution was passed in April 2009. Democrats are in a precarious political position with Mr. Romney’s No. 2 because when they demonize Mr. Ryan’s penny-wise plan, it gives Republicans an opening to refocus the debate on the president’s out-of-control spending and Majority Leader Harry Reid’s lack of fiscal leadership in the Senate.
News of Mr. Romney’s veep decision has conservative activists reenergized for the fight ahead. “This focuses the November elections on Obama’s economic failures and the fact that Romney and Ryan have a reform plan that’s actually written down,” Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, told The Washington Times. “This choice is scintillating – one step above brilliant.” The tough Mr. Norquist, famous for keeping candidates’ feet to the fire with his Taxpayer Protection Pledge, isn’t one to hang fire when Republicans are doing the wrong thing. His endorsement signals that Mr. Ryan gets a wild thumbs up from the conservative base of the Republican Party.
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