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 9:17 AM EDT, Wed April 23, 2014
Alexander Motyl says as Russian President Putin snarled at Ukraine, his foreign minister was signing a conciliatory accord with the West. Whatever the game, the accord is a major stand down by Russia
updated 8:29 AM EDT, Wed April 23, 2014
Les Abend says at every turn, the stowaway teen defied the odds of discovery and survival. What pilot would have thought to look for a person in the wheel well?
updated 6:47 PM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
Q & A with artist Rachel Sussman on her new book of photographs, "The Oldest Living Things in the World."
updated 3:58 PM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
Martin Blaser says the overuse of antibiotics threatens to deplete our bodies of "good" microbes, leaving us vulnerable to an unstoppable plague--an "antibiotic winter"
updated 1:37 PM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
John Sutter asks: Is it possible to eat meat in modern-day America and consider yourself an environmentalist without being a hypocrite?
updated 11:38 AM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
Sally Kohn notes that Meb Keflezighi rightly was called an American after he won the Boston Marathon, but his status in the U.S. once was questioned
updated 8:56 AM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
Denis Hayes and Scott Denman say on this Earth Day, the dawn of the Solar Age is already upon us and the Atomic Age of nuclear power is in decline
updated 4:36 PM EDT, Mon April 21, 2014
Retired Coast Guard officer James Loy says a ship captain bears huge responsibility.
updated 1:08 PM EDT, Mon April 21, 2014
Peter Bergen says the latest strikes are part of an aggressive U.S. effort to target militants, including a bomb maker
updated 9:45 AM EDT, Mon April 21, 2014
Cynthia Lummis and Peter Welch say 16 agencies carry out national intelligence, and their budgets are top secret. We need to know how they are spending our money.
updated 8:35 AM EDT, Mon April 21, 2014
Julian Zelizer says President Obama knows more than anyone that he has much at stake in the midterm elections.
updated 8:55 AM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
Eric Sanderson says if you really want to strike a blow for the environment--and your health--this Earth Day, work to get cars out of cities and create transportation alternatives
updated 10:08 AM EDT, Mon April 21, 2014
Bruce Barcott looks at the dramatic differences in marijuana laws in Colorado and Louisiana
updated 4:47 PM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Jim Bell says NASA's latest discovery supports the notion that habitable worlds are probably common in the galaxy.
updated 2:17 PM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Jay Parini says even the Gospels skip the actual Resurrection and are sketchy on the appearances that followed.
updated 1:52 PM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Graham Allison says if an unchecked and emboldened Russia foments conflict in a nation like Latvia, a NATO member, the West would have to defend it.
updated 9:11 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
John Sutter: Bad news, guys -- the pangolin we adopted is missing.
updated 2:25 PM EDT, Mon April 21, 2014
Ben Wildavsky says we need a better way to determine whether colleges are turning out graduates with superior education and abilities.
updated 6:26 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Charles Maclin, program manager working on the search and recovery of Malaysia Flight 370, explains how it works.
updated 8:50 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Jill Koyama says Michael Bloomberg is right to tackle gun violence, but we need to go beyond piecemeal state legislation.
updated 2:45 PM EDT, Thu April 17, 2014
Michael Bloomberg and Shannon Watts say Americans are ready for sensible gun laws, but politicians are cowed by the NRA. Everytown for Gun Safety will prove the NRA is not that powerful.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT