American Joe Bono was a first-rate staffer for me in Brux for a couple of years. Now back in the States, he’s working on the Romney campaign in Missouri.
When I heard that Mitt Romney had chosen Paul Ryan, a Congressman from Wisconsin, as his VP running mate, I have to say that I didn’t know a lot about Mr. Ryan. So I turned to Joe for advice. Here’s what he said:
In the morning hours of a Saturday in Virginia, aboard the USS Wisconsin, Mitt Romney has finally laid to rest the undeserved media narrative of him being indecisive and soft on serious policy issues.
The Romney campaign had a half dozen well-qualified politicians to choose from for the VP slot, any of whom would have been a safe choice; all of whom would have campaigned for a return to American values and interests; all of whom would have seemed more qualified for the role than current VP Joseph R. Biden. The Romney campaign could have selected Senator Bob Portman of Ohio – a popular official from a “must win” state. They could have picked Governor Bob McDonald of Virginia (in fact, I was almost sure they had when the venue for the roll-out was announced) – also from a “must win” state and thought of as a rising star in the GOP. Most people even had money on Senator Marco Rubio of Florida — a state of no electoral consequence (sarc. int.) and a favorite of the “Tea Party” Republicans.
Instead, Romney decided to go with a 42 year old Congressman from Wisconsin. Why? The explanation is quite simple – Congressman Ryan encapsulates every Reaganesque quality needed for a party found scratching its head over what form it needed to take.
Since the McCain/Palin defeat in 2008, the Republican Party has become fractured between the neo-conservatives of the Bush era, the original Reagan-era conservatives and the still embryonic Tea Partiers (they’ll get their footing soon enough, they just need a little time). As Chairman of the powerful House Budget Committee, Ryan has established his credentials on pure Republican policies: low taxes, minimal government intrusion & benefits reform. In many ways, he mirrors the same ideals as Governor Romney. That’s why they’ll make a good ticket.
What he brings to the campaign is more than just rhetoric. This race will now cease to be just a referendum on the failed policies of the Obama administration, and become instead a declaration of the principles that defined the GOP as the Grand Old Party in the first place.
The victory of this campaign will usher a return to the economic principles that made the USA such a great nation in the first place. No longer the “Sick Man of North America”, hobbling along on bad debts and a divided nation. It was a bold choice to select Congressman Paul Ryan, and it will be the choice that cements Governor Romney’s win in November.
I’ll drink to that.