Skip to main content

Will Ryan pick end silly season?

By Ed Morrissey, Special to CNN
updated 10:17 PM EDT, Sat August 11, 2012
U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan with Mitt Romney during the announcement in Norfolk, Virginia of Ryan as Romney's running mate.
U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan with Mitt Romney during the announcement in Norfolk, Virginia of Ryan as Romney's running mate.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Ed Morrissey: Romney VP pick of Paul Ryan meant to contrast GOP philosophy with Democrats
  • He says Dems may try to use Ryan budget plan against Romney, but their own plan not serious
  • He says Ryan's plan would help address long-term plan for debt that Obama's neglected
  • Morrissey: Ryan selection shows seriousness of Romney ticket in finding debt solution

Editor's note: Edward Morrissey is a senior editor and correspondent for the conservative commentary website hotair.com

(CNN) -- Mitt Romney had a wide selection of potential running mates for this election. He could have played it safe by picking former Governor Tim Pawlenty or Senator Rob Portman, two men skilled in national politics with very little baggage. Romney could have played to the Tea Party by picking Senator Marco Rubio, whose relative lack of experience would have been balanced by political and rhetorical talent, along with a made-for-media biography.

The Republican presidential nominee could have done a little of both by choosing Governor Bobby Jindal, who just started his second term in Louisiana after launching reforms in state government and education.

Instead, Romney chose Paul Ryan, seven-term Congressman from Wisconsin and most importantly, chair of the House Budget Committee. In doing so, Romney has elevated his campaign above the silly-season distractions that have plagued the 2012 campaign. This signals that Romney wants to draw a clear contrast in both governing philosophy and gravitas between the GOP and Democratic tickets.

Edward Morrissey
Edward Morrissey

CNN iReport: Ryan the right pick?

Democrats may be licking their chops, believing that Ryan's unpopular budget plan will be a millstone around Romney's neck. However, Democrats would have hung the Ryan plan on Romney no matter who got the VP nod, and no one explains the need for budgetary reform better than Ryan himself. In fact, hardly anyone will talk specifically about how to accomplish budgetary reform. Ryan is one of the few who have risked proposing a roadmap for entitlement reform. Ryan's plan looks far past the "Taxmageddon" or "fiscal cliff" at the end of this year, to the "fiscal gap" facing the United States over the next 75 years, where our current path puts us on a trajectory to have $222 trillion more in liabilities than revenue.

Barack Obama and the Democratic Party have no serious proposal to deal with long-term debt. The plan Obama has to "pay down the debt" in a "balanced" way would add $6.4 trillion in deficits between 2013 and 2022, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

News: Ryan a lightning rod

Paul Ryan VP possibility?
From Weinermobile driver to VP candidate

Democrats' idea of budgetary reform is to demand an increase in taxes on people making more than $250,000 a year -- a policy that the Tax Foundation, a research group that favors lower taxes, says would produce $40 billon a year in new revenue, in budgets with trillion-dollar annual deficits.

Paul Ryan VP possibility?

And speaking of seriousness, let's not forget that the Democratic-controlled Senate has gone more than 1,200 days without passing its own budget. Ryan, who chairs the House Budget Committee, has at least fulfilled the legal obligation for annual budget resolutions in the lower chamber, but he's gone far beyond that to provide leadership on the long-term fiscal crisis facing the nation.

That contrast led to a confrontation last February between Ryan and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner over the lack of long-term solutions coming from the White House, in which Geithner finally told Ryan, "We don't have a definitive solution to the long term problem. What we do know is, we don't like yours..."

By adding Ryan to the ticket, Mitt Romney is reminding voters that Republicans have at least proposed definitive solutions to long-term problems. Democrats haven't. Under Obama's leadership, the White House and the Democratic-controlled Senate have stopped providing solutions to the real problems facing the U.S. That's not the kind of leadership that voters want in Washington D.C., and Romney's running-mate choice makes that contrast crystal clear.

Follow @CNNOpinion on Twitter

Join us at Facebook/CNNOpinion

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Ed Morrissey.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 2:12 PM EDT, Fri August 1, 2014
By now it should be painfully obvious that this latest round of the Israeli-Palestinian crisis in Gaza is fundamentally different than its predecessors.
updated 5:24 PM EDT, Fri August 1, 2014
Sally Kohn says like the Occupy Wall Street protesters, Market Basket workers are asking for shared prosperity.
updated 7:31 PM EDT, Thu July 31, 2014
President Obama will convene an Africa summit Monday at the White House, and Laurie Garrett asks why the largest Ebola epidemic ever recorded is not on the agenda.
updated 2:03 PM EDT, Fri August 1, 2014
Seventy years ago, Anne Frank made her final entry in her diary -- a work, says Francine Prose, that provides a crucial link to history for young people.
updated 7:50 PM EDT, Thu July 31, 2014
Van Jones says "student" debt should be called "education debt" because entire families are paying the cost.
updated 3:41 PM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
Stuart Gitlow says pot is addictive and those who smoke it can experience long-term psychiatric disease.
updated 7:00 PM EDT, Thu July 31, 2014
Marc Randazza: ESPN commentator fell victim to "PC" police for suggesting something outside accepted narrative.
updated 2:45 PM EDT, Thu July 31, 2014
Mark O'Mara says working parents often end up being arrested after leaving kids alone.
updated 4:31 PM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
Shanin Specter says we need to strengthen laws that punish auto companies for selling defective cars.
updated 12:45 PM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
Gabby Giffords and Katie Ray-Jones say "Between 2001 and 2012, more women were shot to death by an intimate partner in our country than the total number of American troops killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined."
updated 7:58 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
Vijay Das says Medicare is a success story that could provide health care for everybody, not just seniors
updated 1:43 PM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
S.E. Cupp says the entrepreneur and Dallas Mavericks owner thinks for himself and refuses to be confined to an ideological box.
updated 9:11 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
A Christian group's anger over the trailer for "Black Jesus," an upcoming TV show, seems out of place, Jay Parini says
updated 4:28 PM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
LZ Granderson says the cyber-standing ovation given to Robyn Lawley, an Australian plus-size model who posted unretouched photos, shows how crazy Americans' notions of beauty have become
updated 3:39 PM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
Carol Dweck and Rachel Simmons: Girls tend to have a "fixed mindset" but they should have a "growth mindset."
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT