With the selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate, presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney has decided to make this election about ideas.
Unlike John McCain’s VP selection four years ago, Ryan is a thought leader in the Republican Party, a proven fiscal conservative who promises to force a generational debate on fiscal responsibility come November.
Congressman Ryan, who hails from Wisconsin, is known for actually walking the walk when it comes to fiscal conservatism. Many Republicans talk a good game but are notably silent when it comes to details. They don’t want to offend anyone.
Not Ryan — his proposed budget is bound to offend just about everyone. Ryan is the primary legislative author of the Republican budget for fiscal 2012, which contains major overhauls to Medicare and Medicaid, as well as significant spending cuts.
Predictably, Ryan’s proposal stimulated no small amount of howling from the left. Economist Paul Krugman has called it “ridiculous and heartless” for its tax and spending cuts.
Ryan might fire back that to continue spending away our children’s future at an arithmetically unsustainable rate is “ridiculous and heartless” — and that, I hope, will be the crux of the debate in the coming months.
We should welcome this debate. We need to have it. It’s time to be offended, time to stare down sacred cows, and time (with a nod to William F. Buckley) to stand athwart the culture of debt and profligacy and yell “Stop!”
I was lukewarm on Romney until now. Now I know he’s serious about the long-term fiscal sustainability of America.
And I can’t wait to see Paul Ryan debate Joe Biden.
Rob Witwer, a former member of the Colorado House of Representatives, is co-author of the book “The Blueprint: How Democrats Won Colorado and Why Republicans Everywhere Should Care.”