In Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney has partnered with one of the strongest running mates from either major party in recent years. To liberal Americans who follow politics, Ryan is best known as a dark-haired demon in a MIB suit pushing a sweet little old lady off a cliff. Not only is this allegory about Ryan's desire to hurt old people wrong, those who find this a realistic depiction wouldn't vote for a Romney ticket under any circumstances.
Who is Paul Ryan other than someone who's been proposing detailed, specific, meticulously planned budget and tax reform proposals since 2004 (in-between travel to Niagara Falls to push more old ladies off cliffs)? Ryan is the current chair of the House Budget Committee. He is being portrayed as a Tea Party conservative favorite, and he is that, but he's also worked successfully within existing Republican political structures, and has started a remarkably successful one of his own.
Along with Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Ryan is one of the three Republican Young Guns whose campaign support network has already elected more than 60 new Republicans to the House of Representatives.
While under a virtual media blackout over the past three or four years, the Young Guns achieved an unprecedented level of success, electing 62 of 90 candidates. News reports and political pundits have focused on Tea Party candidates, and there's no question, the Tea Party has helped to elect many people up and down the tickets in every state. But the 62-member Republican freshman class of 2010 owes much of its success to the Young Guns -- a product of congressional Republican leadership. This year, 72 new candidates are part of the Young Guns' organized, multi-tiered program of support.
Before being elected to Congress, Ryan worked for Empower America, Jack Kemp's advocacy group, which merged with Citizens for a Sound Economy in 2004, becoming FreedomWorks. FreedomWorks is now considered one of the most influential, if not the most influential grassroots political organizations today. Ryan also invested time working for values-oriented policy expert, former Secretary of Education Bill Bennett.
Pundits have said that Ryan is "obsessed with the debt and deficit." He has clearly worked harder than any other member of Congress in preparing proposals to reduce the debt, and to preserve current important entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security, both of which are known to be on a path to insolvency under present policies.
This election now looks like a contest between rhetoric and reality. The Romney campaign and FreedomWorks website and social media presence is alive today, with thousands of tweets and article shares. Organizing for America appears inactive, and the Obama-Biden campaign site is promising a quick attack on Paul Ryan to "tell the truth about what Romney's choice says about him as a candidate and a leader," with, as of 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time, 34 Facebook shares and 13 tweets.
The Obama-Biden campaign rhetoric says that a Romney-Ryan ticket will "take America back" to the "failed policies" of the past ten years. No. It will build upon decades of diligent work from FreedomWorks and the enduring ideas of Jack Kemp to today's Young Guns, operating with no media coverage but stunning real-world success.
According to the Obama-Biden campaign, this election is about values. They are correct. If present policies are continued, an old lady won't be pushed off the cliff, all of America's millennials and young children, currently clinging to the edge of the cliff, will go into the abyss. It's about the difference between the easy way and the hard path, surface and substance, work accomplished and nothing done, deliverables and disappointment, and character vs. hot air.
Watch Paul Ryan dealing with Debbie Wasserman-Schultz with humor, as she tries to tell him about Catholic church policy: