by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Stephen Hayes and William Kristol ponder for the latest issue of the Weekly Standard the possibility of Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan joining Mitt Romney on the Republican presidential ticket.
While the prospect of a Romney-Ryan ticket has generated considerable enthusiasm among conservatives, it has also occasioned predictable hand wringing. The two main objections seem to be: 1) choosing Ryan would place the Ryan budget at the center of the presidential election for the final two months of the race; and, 2) adding Ryan would wreck Romney’s careful efforts to maintain a comfortable distance from Ryan’s entitlement reforms. The first point is true but not convincing. The second is false. …
… Romney has praised Ryan’s budget without qualification. Furthermore, Romney’s Medicare reform proposal is almost identical to the Ryan-Wyden plan, the latest version of Medicare reform from Ryan. Don’t take our word for it. Here is one rather authoritative analysis of Romney’s proposal, written in response to the question: “How is this different from the Ryan plan?” The answer: “Shortly after Mitt presented the proposal described here, Congressman Paul Ryan and Senator Ron Wyden introduced a bipartisan proposal that almost precisely mirror’s Mitt’s ideas.” That comes from the Romney for President website. Romney’s “senior adviser” might give it a look.
What of the first objection – that a Romney-Ryan ticket would place the Ryan budget at the center of the 2012 elections at precisely the time voters will be paying closest attention? Our answer: It’ s too late to stop that from happening. And: So what?
The Ryan budget will be at the center of the 2012 election no matter whom Romney picks. Democratic strategist Joe Trippi told THE WEEKLY STANDARD that his party plans to spend much of October talking about the Ryan budget. Paul Begala, who is advising Priorities USA, the pro-Obama super PAC, told the Huffington Post the same thing. This should surprise no one. Democrats have for months been calling Romney’s plan the “Romney-Ryan” budget in their talking points. And Democratic candidates across the country have been demagoguing the Ryan budget for two years.