I recently told a friend that one of the reasons I would have trouble voting for Mitt Romney is that I didn’t believe him. As something of a lifelong centrist, Romney’s hard right turn didn’t seem genuine to me.
At some point or another Romney seemed to have held every middle-of-the-road position one could hold. He was a politician’s politician, a pragmatist who served as an expert weatherman for telling which way the wind was blowing.
And before the announcement of Paul Ryan as his vice president pick, I assumed he knew the forecast: grab a candidate that would appeal to on-the-fence voters in an important swing state (cough, cough Marco Rubio).
Now, I’m still not going to vote for Mitt Romney, but I sure as hell believe him.
By now you’ve had the chance to read any number of reactions to Romney’s pick of Ryan. It’s a great pick! It’s a horrible pick! It’s polling terribly! He’s handsome but evil! Forgive us media folk, but this election has been a snooze so far, with only a few gaffe morsels raining from Romney’s mouth to satiate our hunger. The VP pick was the first legitimate news thus far.
And what a pick it was. Ryan’s rise within the Tea Party came on the back of his controversial budget bill, named The Path to Prosperity. It cemented him as one of the most conservative budget hawks on The Hill and made him the centerfold in every National Review/Tiger Beat crossover issue.
Romney, meanwhile, had a vague plan so lacking in detail that it was unable to be fully analyzed. He appeared unwilling to put forward a serious plan at the risk of alienating any number of voters. Romney played the GOP race close to his chest, and he was playing things just as close in the general election … until Saturday.
Romney didn’t need Ryan for any glaring reasons. He’s had no trouble raising more money than Obama. The US economy has been struggling, much to the chagrin of the Left. Romney’s business background was supposed to make the budget his main topic of expertise, freeing him up to pick a running mate that could address other areas in which the president was falling short.
The selection of Ryan is a bold move that says the electorate is ready to embrace the Tea Party austerity that helped Republicans take back the House of Representatives in 2010. It’s a statement that Romney isn’t looking to ride the fence through November. If you’re serious about cutting the federal budget while lowering taxes and raising military spending, Ryan is your choice.
And as it turns out, Ryan is the choice. At least we don’t have to listen to Tim Pawlenty for the next 83 days.