13 August 2012
To envisage what Republicans would do if they win in November, the person to understand is not necessarily Romney, who has been a policy cipher all his public life. The person to understand is Paul Ryan.
If you haven't read it yet, now is a good time to check out Ryan Lizza's comprehensive New Yorker profile of Mitt Romney's running mate Paul Ryan. Also worth re-visiting is Jonathan Chait's look at Ryan's "seriousness," or lack thereof:
Ryan has grasped that the aura of specificity he has cultivated paradoxically renders the specifics themselves irrelevant.
For a virtuoso display of this principle in action, return to another vintage Ryan moment: his Dave profile from last year, where he awed a swooning reporter by opening up the budget to a random page and fingered a boondoggle. The item Ryan pointed to was the Obama administration’s reform of the student-loan industry. “Direct loans—this is perfect,” Ryan said. “So direct loans, that’s new spending on autopilot, that had no congressional oversight, and it gave the illusion that they were cutting spending.”
The exchange is so perversely revealing that it rewards explanation ... The banks lobbied fiercely to protect their gravy train. Among the staunchest advocates of those government-subsidized banks was … Paul Ryan, who fought to protect bank subsidies that many of his fellow Republicans deemed too outrageous to defend. In 2009, Obama finally eliminated the guaranteed-lending racket. It could save the government an estimated $62 billion, according to the CBO.
Look as well to Ezra Klein on the Ryan pick:
Joe Biden has a lot of debate prep ahead of him. I’ve interviewed Ryan three times. Twice on health care (here and here), and once on economics (here). He’s very quick on his feet, and he’s got a lot of experience explaining his plans to skeptical audiences. He’s also a likable and, while I don’t know him very well personally, decent-seeming guy. He’s repeatedly won reelection in a moderate district. Democrats underestimate his political skills at their peril.
Yep. My point here was that compared to previous veep nominations, Ryan is pretty unprepared for the national stage. That doesn't mean he can't be dangerous though. The guy has done well to make himself a Beltway name, if not a national one. Democrats best watch out for him.
Have your say
Previous: Romney's running mate: Paul Ryan?