Now that Mitt Romney has selected Paul Ryan as his running mate, it’s time for the real election fun to begin.
The intent behind Romney’s choice seems clear enough – he is taking the fight to Obama and will challenge both his methodology for governing and the results of his policies. Paul Ryan is an intelligent, articulate spokesman for what is wrong, fiscally, with our government. And he has been one of the Republican party’s best “idea men,” with HR 2520 (Patient’s Choice Act, 2009) and The Path To Prosperity (fiscal 2012 budget plan) including a proposed major overhaul of Medicare, to his credit.
This of course is in stark contrast to President Obama, who boasted heartily about “my plan” for health care and “my plan” for energy during the 2008 election, but so far has failed to submit a single comprehensive plan for anything to Congress, and has instead relied on Democratic special interests, senior party members, and corporate lobbyists to write his Administration’s legislation.
Naturally, the “two evil rich white guys” smears have started on the Left. (An Instapundit commenter quipped, “How long will it be before the MSM writes a snarky article about Romney and Ryan being like two young Mormon missionaries coming to your door. I mean, can Maureen Dowd even resist?”) How the Romney/Ryan ticket is richer, whiter, or more establishment than Kerry/Edwards was 8 years ago is beyond me, but then again that’s the nature of politics.
I’m very excited about a Romney/Ryan ticket. In fact, right now I’m very close to believing that the Republicans might actually put together a bold, successful presidential campaign centered around the ideological failings of big government socialism and collectivism. After all, “Democrat policy fail” is an extremely target rich environment these days.
Writing in the Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer argues for a campaign that simply and straightforwardly recaps President Obama’s core ideologies, the policies that resulted from those beliefs, and their subsequent dramatic failure:
Obama’s ideology — and the program that followed — explains the failure of these four years.
What program? Obama laid it out boldly in a series of major addresses during the first months of his presidency. The roots of the nation’s crisis, he declared, were systemic. Fundamental change was required. He had come to deliver it. Hence his signature legislation:
First, the $831 billion stimulus that was going to “reinvest” in America and bring unemployment below 6 percent. We know about the unemployment. And the investment? Obama loves to cite great federal projects such as the Hoover Dam and the interstate highway system. Fine. Name one thing of any note created by Obama’s Niagara of borrowed money. A modernized electric grid? Ports dredged to receive the larger ships soon to traverse a widened Panama Canal? Nothing of the sort. Solyndra, anyone?
Second, radical reform of health care that would reduce its ruinously accelerating cost: “Put simply,” he said, “our health-care problem is our deficit problem” — a financial hemorrhage drowning us in debt.
Except that Obamacare adds to spending. The Congressional Budget Office reports that Obamacare will incur $1.68 trillion of new expenditures in its first decade. To say nothing of the price of the uncertainty introduced by an impossibly complex remaking of one-sixth of the economy — discouraging hiring and expansion as trillions of investable private-sector dollars remain sidelined.
The third part of Obama’s promised transformation was energy. His cap-and-trade federal takeover was rejected by his own Democratic Senate. So the war on fossil fuels has been conducted unilaterally by bureaucratic fiat. Regulations that will kill coal. A no-brainer pipeline (Keystone) rejected lest Canadian oil sands be burned. (China will burn them instead.) A drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico that a federal judge severely criticized as illegal.
That was the program — now so unpopular that Obama barely mentions it. Obamacare got exactly two lines in this year’s State of the Union address. Seen any ads touting the stimulus? The drilling moratorium? Keystone?
I agree with Krauthammer. Blaming the President for the failures of the last four years will be ineffective unless Romney and Ryan can simply and directly illustrate the fundamental shortcomings of Obama’s ideologies. Once you are able to convince a majority of voters that the President’s failures are not due to Republican obstructionism, but instead are the result of a set of ideas that are fatally flawed, then you win the election. When you convince America that Barack Obama is “stuck on stupid” with respect to failed ideas, and that he has nothing to offer except the same failed ideas over and over again, then he becomes unelectable.
I also think Romney and Ryan should spend a significant amount of time revisiting the “Messiah” myths that swirled around candidate Obama during the 2008 election. I would encourage them to revisit this eye-rolling puff piece from Cass Sunstein over and over again – “The Obama I Know“:
This is the Barack Obama I have known for nearly 15 years — a careful and even-handed analyst of law and policy, unusually attentive to multiple points of view.
… He is strongly committed to helping the disadvantaged, but his University of Chicago background shows; he appreciates the virtues and power of free markets. In this sense, he is not only focused on details but is also a uniter, both by inclination and on principle.
… As president, Obama would set a new tone in US politics. He refuses to demonize his political opponents; deep in his heart, I believe, he doesn’t even think of them as opponents. It would not be surprising to find Republicans and independents prominent in his administration.
… In short, Obama’s own approach is insistently charitable. He assumes decency and good faith on the part of those who disagree with him. And he wants to hear what they have to say. Both in substance and in tone, Obama questions the conventional political distinctions between “the left” and “the right”. To the extent that he is attracting support from Republicans and independents, it is largely for this reason.
Then hit voters with a shocking reality check – the number of vacations, the number of rounds of golf, the number of meetings with Democrat special interests vs. the number of meetings with Republican congressional leaders, the amount of Republican-backed legislation blocked and stalled by Democratic Congressional leaders, the amount of government largesse awarded to big campaign contributors and other cronies, and so forth.
Obama supporters like Spike Lee want to make excuses for their Chosen One’s failures by blaming us for setting our expectations of Obama too high. But we aren’t the ones responsible for his flawed worldview built around big government socialism, collectivism and critical race theory. Obama, and Obama alone, is responsible for his failed policies. If Romney and Ryan can likewise convince America, while at the same time offering an easy to understand set of alternative ideas with a proven track record of success, then the election is theirs to win.