On Saturday, presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney picked Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan to be his running mate. Anecdotal evidence seems to show that the enthusiasm has definitely increased among conservative voters for the Romney campaign. The crowds have gotten larger at Romney-Ryan events. However, similar anecdotal evidence seems to show that the left is just as fired up and more motivated to defend Obama. Meanwhile, reading the Tweets and Facebook posts from my libertarian friends show that the Ryan pick has not made them more willing to consider the Romney ticket. Personally, I have mixed feelings about the Ryan selection.
The biggest positive about the Ryan selection is that this campaign may actually wind up being a debate on the future of our country. The Obama campaign is already seizing on the Ryan budget plan and is attacking it as destroying Medicare, Social Security, and just about every other government program under the sun. Now is an opportunity for the Romney-Ryan campaign to articulate an argument for limiting the size and scope of government as a means of reviving the economy. The American people would be well served by a debate over the size and scope of government. Also, ultimately, given the other choices that Romney was considering, Ryan was probably the best pick. Romney needed to pick someone who would fire up the ticket.
I have some real problems with the Ryan pick and Paul Ryan himself. I don’t think Paul Ryan’s big government record gels with his small government rhetoric. I also have a major problem with taking someone like Paul Ryan, who is the chairman of the House Budget Committee, from his post in the House and moving him to a meaningless post such as Vice-President. If Mitt Romney is serious about reforming government and getting our outrageous government spending under control, you’re going to need someone like Ryan leading the charge in the House. Finally, Ryan, like Romney, is more of a technocrat than a principled conservative. The problem with the technocratic approach to government is that it strives for “reforming” the state instead of dramatically shrinking its size and scope.
All in all, this is a bold pick by Mitt Romney that will fire up the Republican base. While at the same time, this will serve to fire up the Democrat base as well. Whether or not this is a wise pick, only time will tell.