The Promise of Paul Ryan

Jacob Laksin is a senior writer for Front Page Magazine. He is co-author, with David Horowitz, of The New Leviathan (Crown Forum, 2012), and One-Party Classroom (Crown Forum, 2009). Email him at jlaksin@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter at @jlaksin.


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That is not without its political perils. By stepping up to tackle the politically fraught issue of entitlement spending, Ryan has long opened himself up to demagoguery from the Obama campaign and its surrogates. Now the Romney campaign will bear the brunt of those attacks. To be sure, this would not require a rhetorical shift by the Obama campaign. The president’s smear corps has spent the past few months demonizing Romney as a ruthless capitalist who would protect the rich while gutting the safety net for the middle class, an appeal that at its most despicable essentially accused Romney of murder. Having been the target of similarly invidious attacks in the past – including one ad showing a Ryan lookalike pushing an old woman in a wheelchair off a cliff – Ryan is well prepared to weather the coming onslaught. He has to be, because his unveiling has already inspired a new wave of Democratic attacks casting Romney and Ryan as enemies of the middle class who would cut taxes for the rich and “end Medicare as we know it.”

Democrats have been gleeful about the prospect of such attacks, but they pose risks of their own. The president and his party may deny it, but there is little doubt that entitlements are a major threat to the country’s economic prosperity. Together, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are the biggest drivers of long-term national debt. According to the Congressional Budget Office, spending on these programs will surge to 17 percent of GDP in 2035 from around 10 percent of GDP today. As CNNMoney.com’s Jean Sahadi points out, that means that the federal government will be spending on these three programs roughly the equivalent on what it has been spending for everything in the federal budget except interest in recent decades. In short, these programs are becoming unsustainable and nothing short of meaningful reform – not forcing the rich to pay even more in taxes, not eliminating earmarks, not trimming government waste – will contain the debt that they will pile up in the years ahead.

Against this background, it is the Obama administration’s adamant refusal to deal with entitlement spending, rather than Ryan’s plan for reforming it, that looks truly radical.  Whether his addition to the Romney campaign ultimately will be a success will hinge in large part on Ryan’s ability to help the public that is meeting him for the first time see the stakes in the same way.

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  • babyboomer1960

    This is a very good summary of the challenges and opportunity that now present themselves to the Romney-Ryan ticket. Those of us who are already actively engaged recognize and understand how difficult this coming crucible by fire will be for the R&R ticket. We've already seen the ubiquitous kitchen sink being pried off the wall a week or so back with the now-infamous Sopik "Romney Laid Me Off and Gave My Wife Terminal Cancer while he made millions" ad. WIth Paul Ryan part of the mix, I suppose it's not too long before the Obama thugs and their minions in the media start throwing THAT up against the wall as well. The key for the Democrats at this juncture, is seizing the moment to once again lay down the narrative and reiterate it over and over and over, until they've pummeled the Romney-Ryan ticket into oblivion. The key for us is to remain on point, kindly and gently reminding our coworkers, friends, associates, and loved ones, that the economic conditions we see around us MUST be addressed in substantive ways NOW. The longer we wait, as Rep. Ryan has clearly stated, the more difficult it will be to tackle the devastating consequences of the current fiscal, monetary, political, and foreign policies being followed by the Obama Administration. Call it Tough Love for Tough Times. Call it whatever the Democrats wish to. Still, it must be done. The time for kicking the can down the road is over. The dance is near done. The piper is calling for his dues. We're running out of money…

    Obama-Biden 2012: Blame and Shame
    Romney-Ryan 2012: We Can Turn This Thing Around.

    Please register to vote this year – and get a friend or two to do the same! Then educate yourselves and get out and vote!!

    "One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors" -Plato

    • grayzel

      This election is not only about ourselves. This is about the future of your children, grand children, great grandchildren and all future generations. Please remember the position we are in did not just start with Obama. The progressive/collectivist movement has been moving us toward disaster for almost 100 years. This mess cannot be turned around in one administration. It will take many elections. To quote an old song; "teach your children well."

      • ★FALCON★

        Why isn't this election about ourselves? Some of us plan to live another 40-50 years. Every election is about "ourselves". Considering future generations is noble – but not everyone is an altruist.

        • grayzel

          I wrote, “This election is not only about ourselves”What about that sentence structure hard for you to understand? Mark A. and Roxanne M. Fredrick

          • ★FALCON★

            Maybe the way you phrased it to make it appear that you're so concerned about children not yet born. That's the sign of a liberal spouting liberal blabbering points.

          • grayzel

            Concern about your children and grand children is liberal blabbering?

          • ★FALCON★

            There are more than enough reasons to be concerned right now. And not some date in the future. I don't buy that line of crap.

            48 million on food stamps, 15 percent UE6 unemployment, millions of people probably permanently out of the work force and millions who have lost their homes.

            But you keep worrying about the great great great grandkids.

          • grayzel

            I tire of this silly debate. Mark A. and Roxanne M. Fredrick

          • ★FALCON★

            Who's tired? Mark A. or Roxanne M?

            Good lord – in all my years on the net I have never seen one person sign TWO names.

            You take the cake lady.

          • grayzel

            Our email account has that signature.Mark A. and Roxanne M. Fredrick

          • ★FALCON★

            Well, it's the gayest thing I've seen all day.

            By the way – if you're tired of this debate – why in the hell did you join INTENSE DEBATE?

            Did you know that debating is what we do here?

          • grayzel

            "Well, it's the gayest thing I've seen all day. " As for our email signature…Eph 5:31 “For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”

            "Some of us plan to live another 40-50 years." Falcon. Falcon. Your thinking is immature, your only concern is for yourself and the now.

            "Did you know that debating is what we do here?" Falcon You do not debate, you name call.

          • Kevin Stowell

            Pre-op tranny.

          • Looking4Sanity

            Go back and read the original comment. Grayzel isn't saying anything that we haven't been saying for years. I don't understand the animosity on this one.

          • Kevin Stowell

            So caught up in being heard, doesn't notice how often it's already been said. Glory hog? Final-worder? We've seen those a few times–like those who have gone before them, didn't.

          • Looking4Sanity

            Not necessarily. We're all at different stages of growth. Perhaps this is new to them. Probably not, but since when did we become tired of hearing the truth? We all know that one election is not going to solve all our problems. That is not to say that this one isn't the most critical in our history so far. But I dare say that there will probably be even more critical elections than this in our future.I see nothing wrong with reminding people that we have to think more than one election cycle ahead. We can't continue playing checkers while our opposition plays chess.

          • Looking4Sanity

            I'm going out on a limb here and suggest to you that you may have taken this out of context and over reacted. At least consider the possibility that you have been a participant in a "friendly fire" scenario.

      • Looking4Sanity

        Don't sweat the flak, Grayzel. I've reviewed your profile and found nothing that is incompatible with conservative principles. Welcome to the conversation. As you can see, it gets a little rough sometimes. Even with the written word, people don't always take what you say in the spirit that you offered it.

        I think Falcon's fear is that you are a newly created troll profile. I do not share that belief. Don't be discouraged by this misunderstanding. I, for one, am willing to hear you out before making any judgments on your intentions.

    • Whos_John_Galt

      babyboomer1960 = said, ""One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors" -Plato "

      big whoop. Plato lived 350 years after Jesus Christ, yet. Plato's rhetoric denied Jesus' message.

      Plato's dialogues have been used to teach a range of subjects to you secular humanists.

      So what?

      • ★FALCON★

        Plato lived 400 years before Christ and died in 347 BC.

        It's hard to deny Christ's message when it wasn't yet espoused.

        • Kevin Stowell

          :O)

          • Whos_John_Galt

            Your Roman god shall not save you either, Kevin. Laugh while you are able.

          • ★FALCON★

            I stay clear of those that claim an inside track or favoritism of Jesus. I have news for you – you're no better than anyone else.

          • Rebas Thgil

            And of course the verification of that is that if one had this inside track then he or she would already know that.

          • Looking4Sanity

            Indeed. If God IS love, and love is not boastful…why would anyone in that relationship want to lord it over another?

          • Rebas Thgil

            That's precisely the question / sentiment I had when I left…..an organization relevant to this discussion…..30 years ago and have not gone back.

            I do believe that The Man said something to the effect: "Peter, if you love me, feed my sheep". How that translated into the political cabal that is today's Christiandom "leadership" is just plain sad.

          • Kevin Stowell

            Who will save me and from what will they save me?

          • Looking4Sanity

            Evidently, the idiot thinks you worship Jupiter or some such nonsense. There's no accounting for the things that leap from a fool's lips.

          • Kevin Stowell

            Heh heh. Sometimes I like to ask for a clarification in sits like this just to see what happens. Often makes for great entertainment.

          • Looking4Sanity

            Asking for clarification from an idiot is always a dangerous proposition. WTH? Sometimes you just can't help poking the bear. I know exactly how that is. Happy hunting!

          • Looking4Sanity

            Don't be an idiot. I know the man much better than you and you are WAY off base.

        • Whos_John_Galt

          Replying to ★FALCON★ I don't know you, and likely nor does the Biblical GOD, because you would have graciously recognized my error in dates and refused to miss my point,

          • ★FALCON★

            I think it's about time you got down off your high horse there Nebuchadnezzar.

        • Looking4Sanity

          Nevertheless, anyone bothering to read his magnum opus, "Republic", understands that Plato was an idiot. Mark Levin, "The Great One", underscores this point brilliantly in his book, Ameritopia. Plato was simply wrong headed in his thinking and in his conclusions.

  • truebearing

    Romney made a good move by choosing Ryan. It cranked the contrast with Obama/Biden as far as it will go. With this contrast comes an automatic clarification of what each side represents, which forces Obama to defend socialism and a lousy first term performance.

    Ryan is a person of substance and he has a great command of the facts. Facts will eventually achieve supremacy over lies, so Obama and Biden are going to have a big problem with Ryan. No one on the Left can debate Ryan face to face when it comes to the economy and the last thing they want is an open, substantive debate. The only question now is whether the media will continue to defend all of Obama's lies, or finally admit that Ryan is telling the nation the truth about our crisis.

  • Gene Carr

    There are two problems with the Ryan pick as VP nominee. (a) A key criterion for the VP nominee is whether that person can assume the Presidency at short notice. Now there is no doubt that Ryan is a brilliant analyst of fiscal issues. But has he ever had to do anything about them? Has he ever in his life actually held an executive position where he had to really manage strong-willed subordinates, who wanted to spend, spend, spend? has he ever had to confront and smack down powerfull vested interests and lobbiests? These are the real drivers of fiscal drift. In these respects, Ryan is no more qualified that Obama or Biden were in 2008 and certainly a geat deal less qualified than Sarah Palin (we have 59,000 pages of memos showing just how good she was in this respect. (b) The fuss that is being made and will be made about Ryan is because everyone is speculating whether, as in the case of Palin with the hapless McCain, he can drag Romney's equally sorry ass across the line. What a mess.

    • Looking4Sanity

      Suck it up, Mary.

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

      Ryan has had more experience than obama did when he assumed office.

      Unless you attack Obama for his incompetence and tie that to his inexperience then your criticism of Ryan falls flat.

  • Asher

    The American people have pretty much had it with the Democrat party. They don't care about our families or our futures. They have done nothing but collapse the economy, destroy businesses, jobs, and healthcare. They are the Socialist party and might as well change their names to that from Democrat…because most Democrats from the past era would run away from these radicals. Romney-Ryan have two good business minds, and know about cutting spending, and what must be done to come out of this total chaotic mess Obama and his party have created. People want real solutions to real problems. Businesses want to be able to function without Obama care penalizing them and costing them millions of dollars…WE THE PEOPLE…Do Not Want a Socialist Utopia or to be sold out to China to continue to buy our debt! Fiscal Responsibility is in order…The Obama administration has shown extreme weakness and resolve in dealing with debt….they used this open check book to destroy this country and we will not forget it!

  • Asher

    Romney-Ryan represent real solutions and answers to the problems..Debt is destroying this country. Its time for real hope and change and leadership…not deception and nasty hack jobs against good ideas like the Democrats have been doing…of course they can't run on their records..and they can't put good policies in place…because then America would start improving….and they don't want that!

  • Schlomotion

    Hooray! The Romney Campaign has unconstitutionally appointed it's own Vice President (they are supposed to be chosen by the People in separate elections), a man with no political record, running on a fancy sounding cockamamie budget gimmick, whose only points of interest are that he is allegedly physically fit, and that he went hiking in Colorado as a child. The daughter of the President of Berkshire Hathaway says he's awesome, so it must be true. Sheldon Adelson kicked in another few million of bribe money and bought himself the Vice President too.

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

      Hooray, then you attacked obama biden for the same thing, since you pretend to be fair and balanced, right?

    • Kevin Stowell

      Ha ha. Would you like a pair of crutches?

      • ★FALCON★

        How about two eye patches?

        • Looking4Sanity

          And a bottle of Viag-ra.

    • CHOI

      You're NOT even a smart TROLL.,A-WHOLE.
      VP' candidates are picked by the Presidential nominees and NOMINATED by their Party's Convention to run as a TICKET.
      Some states nominate Lt. Governor candidates in Primaries,yet the Governor and Lt. Governor nominees run as a TICKET in the General Elections.
      Oh,and being the CONSISTENT JEW-HATING POS you are,you could NOT resist your "shot at Adelson"
      YOU are NOT FIT to carry Adelson's shoes.

      • CHOI

        "Your comment must be approved by the site admins before it will appear publicly"
        WHY IS THAT?
        "Schlomotion" is a TROLL and deserves NO CODDLING.

    • CHOI

      How IGNORANT are YOU,TROLL?
      The Romney Campaign picked it's CHOICE for RUNNING MATE,to be formally NOMINATED at the Convention.
      There is NO Popular vote for VP candidates.
      You saw another "chance" to post another JEW-HATING remark and in doing so you LIBELED Mr.Adelson.

    • Ghostwriter

      Once again,Schlobrain,you've proven that you're not just an anti-semitic idiot,but an idiot all around. Your imbecility is so unbelievable that it staggers the imagination to believe that a moron of such incredible dimensions like you could possibly exist.

  • ★FALCON★

    Ryan was the obvious choice – and the shocking part was Romney actually saw the obvious. When the country is heading off a financial cliff you need someone with indepth financial knowledge. And you need someone who has presented an actual budget.

    The disconcerting aspect was – Romney said Ryan was a person who could reach across the aisle. That's what got us into this mess. Working with the Democrats will ensure more financial malfeasance – not financial growth nor stability. Not sure if Romney was stroking the independents or if he actually believes it – but either way – America can't afford more bi-partisanship nor "working together".

    Another point – Santorum, Gingrich, Cain and even Paul would have choosen Paul Ryan – he was the most qualified, and he is the most gifted speaker the Republicans have had since Reagan. It's only a surprise that normally left leaning Romney choose the obvious choice.

    • ashotjan

      Amen. No more compromise with the left. All it does is slow the rate of our country's movement towards tyranny and socialism. The leftists area fringe group. They make up 20% of the electorate but they do 90% of the lying, shouting, and defecating so they seem formidable. They are weak. No more compromise with the left!

  • CHOI

    OK Administrator,
    "Your comment must be approved by the site admins before it will appear publicly"
    Now you BLOCK my post button on the Schlomotion comment.
    Put my comment back NOW,or I'm calling Jeff Wienir

  • CHOI

    Folks,
    Apparently there is an Administrator PLAYING for the other side.
    Not only does this "administrator" protect HATEMONGER "Schlomotion",but actually is BLOCKING REPLY BUTTONS .
    Beyond doubt,THIS is NOT what David Horowitz wants.

  • CHOI

    @Administrator:
    One more REPLY button to UNLOCK and you KNOW which one.

  • dougjmiller

    Mitt, you picked the right man. You guys are going to get us back on our feet. America is grateful.

  • A.T. Halmay

    I have no doubt that Mitt & Paul can turn around the American economy if not save it overnight but they need to remember that more than half the voters don't understand economics and many of these have been infected with the Communist hate for the wealthy. If the GOP runs a clean campaign with intelligent talk it will fly right over the heads of this unwashed mass and we'll lose the election and we’ll lose America. Read the comments by the New York Times readers on any political issue. The Times readers are middle class but their brains go on vacation when they consider politics. (Continued in the next comment)

  • A.T. Halmay

    (Continued from above) Mitt & Paul will have to take off their gloves and use all the ammo that Obama has provided us – this is far more than just about the economy – this is about turning America into a socialist state, about accommodating Islam in their quest for global domination and the substitution of our Constitution with Sharia law. Yes and there is a race card, too, because Obama is the most racist president we have ever had. This election cannot be won with intelligent and polite explanations that they'll fix the economy because the other side doesn't believe it. Obama's smear campaign has begun to work and he has very little to work with. When we start our smear campaign we have a mother lode of material provided by the Kenyan Islamist.

  • stevefraser

    Almost fifty percent of the electorate don't pay federal taxes….Ryan might not be offering much to them, whereas Obama will promise a cherry on their free dessert.

  • cynthia curran

    Well, we also spend a lot on immigration welfare. Most of our free and reduce lunch programs go to the children of illegal immigration or some legal immigrants. The youth welfare of immigrants is just ad bad as that mention above. The Center for immigration studies find in Orange County Ca about 54 percent of those receiving benefits were foreign born while only 19 percent native born in the same county. Current studies show that immigrants in the US 20 years in particular if they are low skilled will always received more welfare than the native born. This is also from the Center for immigration studies.