Dull, boring, and generic.
That is what I was convinced in the last few days Mitt Romney was going to do with his vice-presidential selection. Spooked by McCain's selection of Sarah Palin, I figured Romney and all of his foot soldiers would do everything in their power to swing to other way. Portman, McDonnell, Pawlenty. Functional, accomplished to a point, and utterly generic; I was convinced that this is what I was going to be looking at. What had me so concerned is that going with one of those guys would have meant the campaign would continue as it has gone - negative attacks, political distractions, very little policy or substance. The basic "Obama is eeeeeevil, so vote for us!"
That has changed.
I have never bought into Paul Ryan like so many other Republicans who saw him as their chance to make up for the George W. Bush mistakes. His plan was bold, but not nearly bold enough for me. He doesn't seem to be interested in making cuts to places that need cuts where Republicans typically refuse, namely defense spending.
But that being said, the reason I like Ryan so much is it throws the "Republicans don't stand for anything" canard in the Democrats face. Obama has spent his last 3 1/2 years bitching about the Republicans having no plan, but Ryan did. And now that one member of Congress that has successfully debated the President on his reckless, outrageous spending to his face is on the ticket. We finally have a serious man who doesn't pander, and he's been in the mire of the real issues and has been working to move the needle to the right. I can appreciate that and I know we certainly could have done a lot worse. It also means that Democratic demagoguery on entitlements won't work anymore, because (and I've seen a lot of Dem chatter online about this) Ryan is perhaps the most articulate conservative on this issue. I've read that even Obama respects Ryan on this. While some on the left relish the idea of talking about the Rs pushing granny off a cliff, Dems who know what is going on seem to understand that Ryan isn't someone they can just attack with cliches. It will force them to up their game.
I'm still not wild about Mitt Romney both as a candidate and as a potential president. However, this choice is interesting because he is removing any space between himself and the tough budget cutting House budget. He is embracing it and making it his own. Which tells me that is what he is going to want to do as President, or at least try. Ryan is certainly the best liberty conservatives could have hoped for given the choices out there that were likely. I'm more likely to be energized about helping the Romney campaign today than I was two days ago.
I wrote a post a few weeks back about the lack of serious men today. Paul Ryan, for whatever you think of him, is a serious man who has taken his time in Congress seriously. We complain about politicians who talk but don't offer any solutions? Ryan has backed up his talk. My personal politics have certainly skewed Ron Paul lately, but more than anything I can't stand the conformity in politics these days, the pressure to just eat s**t even if your principles on compromised, basically to shut up and salute your nominee. But I respect Paul Ryan a great deal as someone who has taken leadership onto himself without bowing to political pressure, from both Rs and Ds, to continue to perpetuate the incumbent-protecting ways of never dealing with tough issues.
Whether this is a disaster or not for Romney, who knows. But at the very least we now have a serious man for serious times on a national ticket. I can feel comfortable voting for that.