Monday, August 13, 2012

The Smartest Guy in the Room

"Romney may have concluded: There is nothing Obama won’t say about me, because he has nothing to say for himself, so I will chose a running mate whose seriousness about large problems and ideas underscores what the president has become — silly and small."

--George Will, Washington Post 

"Who would have thought that Mitt Romney would fully embrace [the] bold [Ryan] ideological alternative? Now that he has, the stakes of the election rise significantly. A Romney win would . . . be the triumph of a comprehensive conservative substitute for modern liberalism. . . That increases Romney’s political degree of difficulty, increases the intensity of his liberal opposition — and gives his candidacy an unexpected historical significance."

--Michael Gerson, Washington Post

Paul Ryan understands the budget better than anyone. Partly because he knows the budget so well, Ryan is able to communicate to ordinary folks why less spending helps. We need Ryan at a time when downsizing government is the key to job growth and prosperity.

Ryan has the guts to show where we can cut government spending, even though Democrats turn his details into negative TV ads. Details are the “third rail” that usually sends candidates to defeat.

Romney picking Ryan is a shocker for me. Romney is cautious, and Ryan, as Gerson says, is a bold pick. But with Ryan, who is every bit as good a selection demographically as my choices Rubio or Christie would have been (all are ethnic Catholics), Romney now leads a team that can reshape America’s economy for all our benefit.

As said here, the Romney camp was determined to pick a Cheney, not a Palin, someone who could govern, not qualifications-deficient flash. But I failed to note that Bush picking Cheney was also bold. Bush took a chance going with someone from Wyoming (only 3 electoral votes) and Texas (Bush already had Texas) who offered zero electoral balance. But Bush showed confidence when he added a veep with far more gravitas than himself.

Now Romney is showing daring (Ryan’s dangerous detailing of budget cuts) and Bush-like personal confidence by going with Ryan. Ryan is the Cheney-bold pick that neither Ohio Senator Rob Portman nor ex-Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty would have been. Thank you Mitt Romney.

As the chart below shows, bold vice presidential picks outperform the bad ones, 6 to 3, or 2:1 (I don’t count “bold v. bold” or “bad v. bad”). If Palin counts as “bad” rather than “bold” (she is both), then the score is 6 to 2, or 3:1.

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