The Ryan Pick: The Hand of God?

Monday, 13 Aug 2012 10:26 AM

By John LeBoutillier

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Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan to be his running mate will not help Romney win the election.

Romney has run such a poor campaign that it is now doubtful he is going to win — barring an economic collapse — even though this is an entirely winnable election.

romney-and-ryan.jpg
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (L) greet supporters in Wisconsin.
(Getty Images)
Romney has run one of the worst challenger campaigns in the modern political era. From his poor, messageless speeches and empty interviews to the self-created mess of Cayman-Swiss bank accounts, unrevealed income taxes, and Bain/offshore jobs, he has sabotaged his own chances of ever being president.

He now realizes this; a month ago he was basically tied with Obama and thus refused to gamble with ideas or a positive message. Then, beginning with his fiasco of a trip to Europe, his poll numbers have begun to collapse. His staff has been in panic since early July.

Thus, the Veep pick. Instead of a safe choice, i.e. Sen. Rob Portman, with a chance to help electorally in Ohio, Team Romney knew it had to throw a Hail Mary pass and hope it rejiggers the entire race.

Enter Paul Ryan, an ultra-serious heavyweight on the exploding budget and debt issues. The Ryan Budget is his baby — and it is indeed controversial. It will soon become a central point in the presidential — and Congressional — races.

Here is where The Hand of God may now be in this campaign: the underlying governmental problem we face is our inability to get hold of federal spending — especially Social Security and Medicare.

For decades candidates have been told not to talk about these two programs. They are “the third rails” of American politics. So both parties have avoided the reality of exploding debt and bad demographics aiming to bankrupt us all — fairly soon. Instead, all these candidates care about is saving their own skin and getting re-elected.

Paul Ryan has had the courage to not only talk about them but to offer future solutions. Maybe they are not the right solutions; that’s for the American people to decide. But the first step in saving/fixing these entitlements is to talk about them. The American people deserve a full airing of the financial situation. Then, an informed electorate can decide.

Mitt Romney, for the political reasons articulated above, needed a game changer and selected Paul Ryan. The result may very well be that it does not help the GOP win this year; in fact, the controversial Ryan Budget will now certainly become an issue in several key Senate races and we may not regain control of the Senate for that very reason.

But — for the future of America — at least the key budget issues are going to be put front and center into the public sphere.

We need to air it all out. Can we afford to keep Social Security and Medicare as they presently are? In an aging population, can these programs be saved? Or, as Ryan believes, they need to be fundamentally changed.

For the next two-and-a-half months these things will be front and center in the campaign.

Mitt Romney — without even realizing it — has been God’s conduit here. Picking Paul Ryan and thus changing what the campaign will be all about has done a huge service to our country. And for that he should be congratulated.

It has taken us more than 30 years to create this Debt Bomb that threatens us all.

We are not going to reverse this mess overnight.

But we now begin.

The Republicans may not win the 2012 election. Romney and Ryan may be defeated precisely because they have the courage to speak the truth. But there are bigger stakes here than winning one or two elections.

In the long run, America has already won by the injection of these issues into the 2012 campaign.

We Americans always face up to our mistakes — and eventually correct them. Sometimes it takes too long, i.e. slavery, race relations, and Vietnam are good examples.

We will eventually fix the mess of federal spending. But it is going to be a long, tough road.

John LeBoutillier is a former U.S. congressman and a political commentator who has contributed to many major newspapers and magazines. Read more reports from John LeBoutillier — Click Here Now.

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