The Corner

‘Don’t Fear Ryan’

Here’s my Politico column today on the Ryan speculation. My basic take is that the anti-Ryan case would be much easier to make if Romney weren’t already all-in on Medicare:

There’s no doubt that the heart of the Ryan budget, Medicare premium support, is a major political risk. But the GOP is wedded to it. House Republicans passed the Ryan budget — twice. Romney himself endorsed it. He is already a “little bit pregnant” on Medicare reform. You don’t get to re-cross the Rubicon once you’ve boldly marched your legions to the other side. Even if you wanted to, David Axelrod would block the way.

 

The Democrats’ assault over Medicare will be ferocious — not to mention lowdown and dishonest. Hell, they’ve already all but accused Romney of killing someone, and they haven’t even gotten around to Medicare. When the barrage starts, Romney won’t be able to duck and cover or look at his shoes. He’ll have to win the argument — or at least hold his own.

 

This is the broader point. Romney has to carry the argument to President Barack Obama. The state of the economy alone isn’t enough to convince people that Romney has better ideas to create jobs. Neither is his résumé. Romney needs to make the case for his program, and perhaps no one is better suited to contribute to this effort than Ryan.

There’s also the question of readiness, which I didn’t get to the column. It’d be better if Ryan had executive experience obviously, but as far as his capabilities, judgment, and temperament go, I have no qualms whatsoever.

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