The Corner

Re: Vice President Paul Ryan?

Re: Jeffrey Anderson’s piece on the home page, I second the motion. I had a chance to see Ryan in person at a recent event and came away even more impressed with him than I had been, and that is saying a lot. He’s taller than you think he’s going to be (which is a good thing in a candidate), and even more quick-witted and, yes, funny. Compared to the colorless police-lineup guys whose names are being mentioned (Portman, Pawlenty), Ryan stands out.

Further, having been one of the lone voices of fiscal sanity in Congress, he brings proven leadership to the ticket, and he’s shown real political guts while out on the point. Romney’s been making the economy the focus of his campaign so far, but Ryan on the ticket would free him to take on the larger issues, i.e., precisely why the economy is so bad. And that takes him right to the philosophical heart of Obamaism and all its attendant ills, which is where the larger battle needs to be fought and won.

The argument’s been made Ryan’s needed in the House in his role of budget master, but that’s like a baseball executive’s saying he needs to keep that young phenom who’s destroying triple-A pitching down on the farm because the Mud Hens have a chance to win it all this year. 

Jeffrey’s piece catalogs all the strengths Ryan would bring to the ticket, including bringing his home state of Wisconsin with him as an Electoral College dowry. But let me add a couple more. 

The first is that he speaks in the cadences of a younger America; he’s like a Quentin Tarantino character come to life, minus the profanity. Obama’s manufactured persona extends down to his mannered way of speaking, with the dropped “g’s” and the use of the word “folks,” but Ryan’s hip, rapid-fire staccato is the real thing.

Second — the deal clincher — is that Ryan is not afraid of Obama. Born in 1970, Ryan’s not dragging around any sixties baggage or angst or animus; he came of age during the Reagan administration and radiates some of the Gipper’s Sunny Jim optimism. Plus, he’s already shown he can take a punch from the president, who clearly fears him:

Who wouldn’t watch to see a rematch? Especially one in which Ryan gets to fight, too.

Michael Walsh — Mr. Walsh is the author of the novels Hostile Intent and Early Warning and, writing as frequent NRO contributor David Kahane, Rules for Radical Conservatives.


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