Wisconsin continues to be the “it” state of American politics.
Vice presidential candidates don’t normally have much impact on a ticket. It is generally more important to select someone who will not hurt the ticket than it is possible to select someone who can help it.
I may be turned by Badger pride, but this time may be different.
If so, it won’t be so much be because of Ryan himself (although I think he’ll be a hit). It will be because of what his selection says about the campaign that Romney intends to run and how Ryan will help him run it.
Like him or not, Paul Ryan is one of the more serious politicians in America. People my age – and I am not young – have known for our entire adult life that an entitlement crack-up was on the way. Ryan has been one of the few national leaders who have taken that issue seriously and offered proposals to address it. He is one of the only politicians to have articulated a vision of limited government and an America that remains a place where government serves, rather than manages, its population. More fundamentally, he is willing to make the numbers of that vision – what the government takes in and sends out - add up.
He has been, frankly, an adult among children. He has repeatedly demonstrated, as he said this morning, “the courage to tell you the truth.” The fact that he has risen to prominence is one of the more encouraging things about the current political environment.
So it speaks well of Romney that he has selected Ryan. It tells us that he does not simply expect the voters to reject President Obama’s re-election, but to make a case for another view of our national government – one that recognizes that you do, in fact, “build it” and the government’s job is to create the conditions under which you can do so – and not to build it for you.
Ryan will not only help Romney make that case, but is an embodiment of Romney’s willingness to make it. This is a momentous selection.
Cross posted at Purple Wisconsin.