“Without a change in leadership, why would the next four years be any different than the last four years?”
That’s the question that stayed with me from Paul Ryan’s electrifying speech before the Republican National Convention this week. The Obama people are furious at the traction Paul Ryan’s speech is picking up on social media. I guess the truth hurts.
A month ago, just about everyone looking closely at the race for the White House had narrowed Mitt Romney’s field of likely vice-presidential candidates down to a so-called “short list.” That “conventional wisdom” list had the names Jindal, Rubio, Pawlenty, and Portman on it. A few people were talking about Condi Rice. Now we know that that endlessly repeated “short list” did not reflect what the candidate was really thinking. So much for “conventional wisdom.”
Now the question is: What brand message is Congressman Paul Ryan sending to the world about a Mitt Romney presidency?
As I see it, he’s telling the American people that a Romney Administration would, unlike Obama, be willing to make dramatic, tough, and (let’s face it) unpopular choices to get this country’s fiscal house in order. He’s saying the Republicans are ready to have a debate about exactly what needs to get cut, and when, and why. I like that message.
In his speech, Ryan is also sending the message that the next White House will be one that actually works with Congress and gets something accomplished for a change. Ryan is a hero to the Congressional conservatives Obama has spent the last few years demonizing. His presence in a Romney Administration would mean we’d take a major step forward as a country toward building a working long-term coalition for smaller government. I like that brand message, too.
Finally, Paul Ryan is sending the message that Mitt Romney is a leader who does not duck the tough issues. You’re seeing a lot of misleading scare-tactic ads now from the Obama side about how Romney and Ryan are out to end Medicare. You’re going to see a lot more of that stuff in the run-up to November. This kind of flack is the result of talking in specifics about how to clean up the financial mess we’ve created for ourselves. Choosing Ryan guaranteed those kinds of harsh attacks … but it also sends the country exactly the right message about Romney as a man: He is ready to tell the truth and take the heat. And Ryan’s first big speech proves that his running mate will, too.
What’s your take on Paul Ryan? It’s my blog, but your voice. I want to hear you.