by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Washington Examiner‘s Byron York — who will add D.C. insight to the John Locke Foundation’s Sept. 19 pre-election panel discussion — devotes his latest column to Rep. Paul Ryan’s first solo campaign appearance since joining the Republican ticket as vice presidential candidate.
Ryan touched each point of Romney’s five-point plan for “more jobs and more take-home pay.” There was energy, education, trade, deficit cutting, and promoting small business. On each, Ryan hewed closely to the Romney script.
In his discussion of the deficit, Ryan said simply that we have to “stop spending money we don’t have,” but did not touch on restructuring Medicare or any other aspect of the Ryan budget.
Ryan’s speech was an early indicator that the Romney campaign will not go out of its way to showcase the project to which Ryan has devoted the last few years of his professional life, which is his carefully thought-through plan to reform the nation’s hyperexpensive entitlement system.
If that continues, we might see a campaign in which both Republican candidates seek to downplay their signature achievements — Romney downplaying his Massachusetts universal health care program, and Ryan downplaying the Ryan budget.
Of course, just because Ryan stays away from the Ryan budget does not mean Democrats will, too. President Obama and his allies intend to bash the Republican ticket early and often about the Ryan plan. How much Romney and Ryan succeed in fighting Medicare to a draw and keeping the main focus on jobs will probably determine who wins the election.