BAYHAM: Romney’s Bold Selection

Any conservative who thought Mitt Romney’s promise to repeal ObamaCare was just “primary rhetoric” can put those worries aside now as the Etch-A-Sketch has been officially thrown out the window.

Everything about Romney’s pick of Paul Ryan seemed counter-intuitive, from the timing to the selection of the Wisconsin congressman.

Why would the Republican Party’s standard-bearer in the November election announce his selection two weeks prior to the Republican National Convention, particularly while most of the country was still asleep on a Saturday morning?

And more importantly why would the supposedly risk-adverse Romney take on to the ticket someone whose name is attached to a budget plan that plays right into the Democratic Party’s talking/shrieking points?

Though I’ve been personally impressed with Ryan for years, I only thought his name was being batted around as a potential running mate for Romney to score some points in the battleground state of Wisconsin.

While doing a run down on potential veeps on the GOP ticket last week I didn’t even bother including Ryan’s name, as I imagined Romney would not want Ryan’s budget distracting from focusing on Barack Obama’s economy.

Yet Romney chose to damn the “scare tactic” torpedoes to select someone who may not deliver his state but will help him govern.

An established level of comfort and familiarity no doubt helped Romney with his choice.  Ryan played a critical role in bringing an end to the fight for the party nomination by working Wisconsin heavily for Romney and the two often campaigned side-by-side.

In fact on a conference call with supporters after he suspended his presidential campaign, former Pennsylvania US Senator Rick Santorum specifically cited the young congressman’s involvement when explaining why things turned out so badly in Wisconsin, which was the Santorum’s last stand.

And though Ryan will draw heavy fire from liberals as they pick his budget apart and craft line item e-mails contoured to frighten each segment of America’s demographics, Ryan exudes competence, fiscal knowledge and energy.

I was an early advocate for Sarah Palin’s consideration for the second spot on the Republican ticket in 2008, though she did not help her cause in flubbed interviews and with a speaking style that was fodder for entertainment industry magpies.

A governor who ousted the biggest cog of the Alaska political kleptocracy and possessed more experience dealing with the energy industry than both halves of the opposing ticket was unjustly caricatured into an intellectual midget.
Sure it wasn’t fair, but that’s how the perception game played out.

The media-seasoned Ryan is ready for primetime and SNL writers will have a tough time making him out to be a dolt.

And for those Republicans who earlier this year salivated over the prospect of a Gingrich-Obama debate can now look forward to the next best thing when Ryan squares off against the gaffe prone Joe Biden.

With the Democrats holding their convention the week after the Republican conclave, Team Romney apparently saw no advantage by sticking with “conventional wisdom” and instead opted to make an early play for “free media” while the Obama campaign and allies continue their exercise in absurdity by accusing the former Bain Capital executive of indirectly murdering grandma in their paid media.

Also by announcing Ryan early, the Romney campaign hopes to draw out in August the debate over the congressman’s eponymous budget plan in order to reshift attention back to the country’s stagnant economy closer to election day.

While the details of the Ryan Budget might chase some votes away from the Republican ticket, Romney’s running mate will excite the party base, as Ryan is considered a solid fiscal and social conservative.

For a guy who was called a wimp on the cover of Newsweek last week, Romney made an extremely bold choice and has sent a signal that he is serious about undertaking the work of putting our national fiscal house in order.

By picking Ryan as his running mate, Romney has reassured conservatives about what kind of administration they can expect and has given the electorate a clear choice between the competing parties.

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