Ryan is not the safe pick everyone was expecting. He’s not Rob Portman, who may or may not have been able to deliver Ohio for Romney (which I guarantee you the polled on and if it would have mattered he would probably be the VP), but who also may or may not have been as boring as a rice cake. He’s also not Marco Rubio, who many thought would deliver hispanic votes even though he is actually Cuban. And thank goodness that Paul Ryan is not the safest choice of Tim Pawlenty, arguably the most boring known quantity in Republican Presidential politics.
So Ryan wasn’t the safety, but could he have actually been the best choice? Is it possible that this ticket could not be better than it is right now? I think so, and I am almost embarrassed that I missed it before the choice was made. Ryan actually takes the best from some of the most polarizing figures in politics and brings a total package that no one else could. He somehow has managed to bring the best of Dick Cheney and Sarah Palin to Team Romney, but left all of their worst features behind him . . .
Cheney was a technocrat. A creature of Washington who knew the town, its people, and its ways quite well, maybe even too well. George W. Bush picked Dick Cheney as his Vice President against the wishes of his most trusted staff because he felt that America wanted to see a VP who they knew could assume the office of President on day one if need be.
That is Paul Ryan as well. Does Ryan have all of the experience through numerous administrations? No, in that respect he is not like Cheney, but seven terms in the House is nothing to scoff at for sure. He knows the ins and outs of Washington and can navigate his way through the system. As a leading member of the House GOP he has had to light the way for plenty of members behind him. If Romney were incapacitated on his first day in office in January 2013, Ryan could come in an push this nation forward out of the Obama recession just as well.
Ryan is also nothing like Cheney. Karl Rove came up with about one hundred reasons why Cheney would be a political blunder, and it did not matter to W. They were risks that thankfully voters forgave. Cheney was connected to big oil when Bush was trying to shake the Texas oil man image. Cheney was not particularly friendly nor well liked. He gave off a vibe of being robotic and heartless to many, which was interesting considering his heart condition. Cheney was old. He walked into a room and brought with him a sense of the way things used to be and an impression that he did not enjoy they way things are going.
Ryan is the opposite. He retains all of the experience and intelligence but leaves behind all of the grumpy old man stereotypes. As a long serving politician, he is not connected to any big industry that could weigh him down. He seems caring, healthy, fit, and youthful. He has a beautiful family with young children. Unlike Cheney, you would not feel uneasy simply going up to Paul Ryan and saying hello. He is the perfect retail politician who can actually govern when the time comes, a rare quality in office at any level.
Sarah Palin got a raw deal. I am not even very nice to her on occasion, because I am completely unimpressed by her. Whether she is intelligent is not the question. The question instead is simply whether she seems intelligent, and the answer is no. To put it bluntly, every time I see her on television I feel myself growing more and more uncomfortable as I wait for her to misuse a word, misstate a fact, or simply throw out some completely illogical string of sentences looking in no way like a complete thought. I would not trust her to do my grocery shopping, let alone shape national policy.
That being said, Sarah Palin knows how to rally a crowd and get the grassroots working. John McCain’s campaign was not too different from a slow moving train-wreck before Palin came along and lit a fire under everyone in Presidential politics that year. She shook up the 2008 race in a way that perhaps no one else could have.
Except for maybe Paul Ryan.
This weekend Ryan stood before two crowds of over 10,000 people in his quickly scheduled bus tour with Mitt Romney. It is very clear that while the GOP base may have been a bit uneasy with the Massachusetts Governor, they are anything but with Congressman Ryan. He has reignited this campaign overnight, raising over $1.2 million within 4 hours of his joining the ticket, and I am sure much more followed.
Republicans can now against honestly say that they are excited to vote for this ticket. Some of us have been with Romney for a long time, or even since the beginning, but for those who just were not sure, Ryan let them know it was safe to come home, just like Palin did in 2008.
But honestly, its so much better than that! Because Ryan wont make anyone uncomfortable watching television. He wont misuse words or lay down faulty logic. He can point out other nations on a map and knows history. He can rattle off budget numbers like he was giving you his social security number. This is a guy that we can not only be ignited by, but we can also be proud to call our VP nominee.
He is the experienced wonk that Cheney was, without the quiet Vader-esque attitude. He is the rallying point for conservatives that Palin was, without the heavy dose of dumb (or at least the appearance of being dumb).
He is Paul Ryan, the next Vice President of the United States of America.