With Mitt Romney’s unexpected selection of Wisconsin Representative and conservative TEA Party favorite son Paul Ryan, conservatives finally have something to cheer about this election cycle.
Let’s face it. Mitt Romney was not the first choice of TEA Party conservatives to be the Republican nominee. He wasn’t our second or third choice either. Romney is the epitome of an establishment Republican candidate following the failed establishment script of running in the center so as to offend the fewest independent voters. This milquetoast tactic has produced Bush 41 twice, Dole, Bush 43 twice, McCain, and now Mitt Romney as the Republican nominee. Bush 41 rode Reagan’s coattails for a win in 1988, but was slaughtered by Bill Clinton in 1992. Bush 43 benefited by being opposed by even worse Democrat nominees in the form of environmental kook Al Gore, and anti-war veteran John Kerry whose lame attempt to run on his military record was swiftly debunked by the very men with whom he served. As for the other two, Dole and McCain were absolute disasters and never did one thing right to help their chances. Mitt Romney looked to be another in a long line of establishment Republican disasters who were either slaughtered at the polls or who governed so weakly with the establishment version of liberalism lite that they damaged the credibility of the Republican Party as the party of conservatism.
However, a shocking thing has occurred on the way to the election. Mitt Romney has displayed a rare talent for selecting the very running mate who could energize the conservative base and guarantee a huge turnout of TEA Party conservatives to support the Republican ticket this election. Somewhere, someone has realized that this election is all about turning out the base as the pool of independents has shrunk to nearly nothing. After four years of Obama’s radical progressive socialist policies, everyone realizes the stakes of this election and everyone has chosen sides. In this form of political trench warfare, the election hinges upon which party can motivate the most members of its base to turn out to vote. This strategy requires a high degree of party enthusiasm, and dispirited party members who never really liked the nominee are far less likely to be motivated enough to actually show up to vote. Someone, perhaps even Romney himself, realized this fact and Romney made the bold decision to select a real conservative as his running mate to fire up the conservative base and excite TEA Party conservatives enough to be competitive in this trench warfare scenario. The best thing about this is Romney was smart enough to figure this out in time to be effective instead of having the pundits figure it out post election as they analyzed what Romney should have done.
Paul Ryan is an exciting conservative who telegenic good looks, smooth oral delivery, and willingness to take on the difficult issues such as Medicare reform remind us TEA Party conservatives of our hero Ronald Reagan. Ryan’s six-minute response to President Obama during the healthcare summit back in 2009 is a classic piece of video in which Ryan skillfully picks apart the Obama health care plan while a stunned Obama can do nothing but sit there and fume. Ryan has no fear of Obama, and he has the facts and figures at his command to back up his criticisms of Obama’s radical progressive liberal agenda. Ryan is not gaffe-prone like Obama’s VP Joe Biden whose frequent verbal blunders become increasingly embarrassing to the Obama Administration and are starting to be seen as full of hate and vitriol. Ryan comes across as the adult he is and leaves his listeners with the impression that he is there to solve problems for everyone and not interested in merely scoring political points.
To be fair, Ryan has been criticized for supporting the emergency plans to rescue the economy under Bush in 2008, but one must remember that Bush was a Republican and his Treasury Secretary showed up to Congress saying that if they didn’t pass this plan then the economy would collapse. Ryan trusted a Republican Treasury Secretary, and frankly, at the time no one knew if this was true or not, so it’s not entirely fair to criticize this decision after the fact. At the time, everyone, regardless of party affiliation, believed this to be true. We now know this to not be the case, and Ryan has lamented his support of these policies. One can be forgiven for a poor decision made in haste with imperfect information that sought to do the right thing. If the plan had not been adopted and the economy collapsed, then Ryan would be demonized for not supporting it, so it’s really a no win situation.
Overall, Ryan has been a consistent voice of conservatism not afraid to stand alone in support of his convictions. No issue more isolated him from his colleagues than his belief that Medicare reform was the key to controlling the rapid rise in federal government spending. His plan to reform Medicare spending was attacked by both sides for fear of touching the dreaded third rail of American politics. Ryan continued to push his plan and explained its details to anyone who would listen. Gradually, the country has come around to his way of thinking as Americans realize that current government spending levels are unsustainable. Many prominent Democrats, including Obama himself, even praised Ryan’s Medicare reform plan when there was no chance of its adoption, and their sound bites are now being used against them as they seek to demonize it as a plan to throw grandma off of a cliff. Their lame attempts to deride what they once praised expose them as the political hypocrites they are. Seniors who take the time to read the plan realize that it is the only way to reform the unsustainable Medicare system without cuts to current benefits.
The selection of Paul Ryan as the VP energizes TEA Party conservatives intent on capturing the Republican Party and expunging the establishment elements whose losing formula of milquetoast liberalism lite has damaged the Republican brand for far too long. The Democrat Party long ago gave itself over to the radical progressive liberal ideologues and made a commitment to fight as dirty as they had to in order to insure enactment of their radical policies. Given the choice between hardcore liberalism and liberalism lite, voters have preferred hardcore liberalism and its promises of something for nothing. The overreach of the Obama Administration has demonstrated the failure of hardcore liberalism and voters are clamoring for a true alternative to right the wrongs of the last four years. From humble beginnings in 2009, TEA Party conservatives first began to demonstrate, then organize into an effective voting coalition able to decide elections, and are now set on capturing the Republican Party and restoring its commitment to conservatism as the alternate to radical progressive liberalism and its failed policies. By selecting Paul Ryan for the ticket, Romney insures that Ryan will be well placed for the next presidential election cycle to carry on the conservative mantle of the TEA Party. For the first time in this election cycle, it is starting to look like Obama is headed for a certain defeat as momentum is swinging behind the Republican ticket.