Saturday, August 11, 2012
Ryan is the anti-Palin in that he is very substantive. He is a policy wonk - a rarity in the GOP. He puts Wisconsin clearly in play, should help a little in Michigan and could tip Iowa into the red column. But his Ryan Budget is used as cudgel against GOP House and Senate candidates, usually with success. Remember - his "courageous" plan permanently cuts taxes (especially on the top end), ends Medicare as we know it, and balances the budget in 27 years (!?). I have to think this will put Florida in Obama's column, which brings more electoral votes than Michigan and Wisconsin combined. The Catholic Church said his budget plan was immoral for the cuts to basic social programs. There will always be the poor, but we must help them or something like that. This move doesn't help bring along practicing Catholics into the GOP - a group that that has steadily moved to the right (along with white blue collar men). Democrats had been hoping Ryan would be the pick, but thought it was too risky for the ever cautious Romney. It will help Dems nationalize the Ryan Budget/Medicare cuts. Word was that both Boehner and McConnell did not want Ryan on the ticket for fear of what it would do to their members. This was the one VP pick who could "win" the House for the Democrats. You will soon and often hear, "Vote Democratic - Save Medicare". What are some non-partisan observations? There are plenty: He will make his race more serious. So much has been personal and petty ("Romney Hood", "Obamaloney"). Ryan will be all about economics and he knows his subject. He is socially conservative, but generally rejects social issue questions. He does not want to talk about Abortion, Planned Parenthood, Immigration or Climate Change. The GOP will have a chance to hand the baton to the next generation. Romney is old - compared to Obama, so Ryan can be the face of the GOP future. Ryan's elevated position as Veep or more likely his return to the House after a November loss, positions him well to move legislation. He is already the GOP's top economic dog, but he will be able to flex his muscles over the next two to four years. Grover Norquist will not be be able to tie his hands when Ryan might quarterback Simpson Bowles or an even larger compromise. After a win or loss at the VP level, he will be free to broker deals with the Democrats because he will have the confidence and trust of his caucus that he got the best deal possible. He will be able to deliver deals that Boehner couldn't and Eric Cantor rejected. Win or lose, obstructionism will not be a viable option in the next Congress. The conservatives love Ryan, but I like him too. He is not a Birther or a Truther and rejects that crazy wing of the party. The Tea Party likes him, but he is uncomfortable around them. He is a very establishment guy, much more concerned with policy than politics. If they can get him to concede to needing of 20%/GDP in federal revenues, you will see a lot of new taxes (VAT, Carbon/Energy), cuts to top income tax rates, elimination of loopholes and deductions. Perhaps even the whole elimination of corporate income taxes (effectively paid at the dividend level). Tax reform could increase revenues by 33% relatively quickly. That, along with some entitlement reforms (initially, just raising the ages on a phased in basis) will balance our budget and bring back surplus in 4 - 5 years. Paul Ryan is one guy on the right who just might be able make this happen. Lastly - he is no fan of Obamacare, but his knowledge of Washington and policy could grease the skids for effective implementation of our health care changes. If he is not proscribed from cooperating, he could effectively work with Obama much as Gingrich did with Clinton. We will see. Interesting pick. Interesting times!