Young, intelligent, and authentic, Paul Ryan is the bold running mate that Mitt Romney’s languishing campaign has thirsted for. Romney has struggled to placate conservative and evangelical voters who have been apprehensive about supporting the former Massachusetts governor, but the Budget Committee chairman is highly popular among such voters. His “Roadmap to Prosperity” has won him the support of GOP congressional leaders and fiscal conservatives alike, and his ability to articulate his plan to reform entitlements, the safety net, and the labyrinth that is our tax code makes him a solid choice for the Romney campaign.
This is not to insinuate that Ryan is without political vulnerabilities. It is dubitable that he will shore up any particular demographic, the Obama campaign will likely label him a Washington insider, and his proposed reforms to Medicare will elicit sharp criticism. However, if he and Romney detail the merits of his plan (as he routinely does), and emphasize the president’s failure to address entitlement reform and the $15.9 trillion debt, he can convince the ever-important independent voter that a Romney administration will restore prosperity to a nation struggling to recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression.
While the hype surrounding the newly announced Romney/Ryan ticket will prove ephemeral, the traits that Ryan would bring to a Romney White House–his rapport with Congress, his astute familiarity with the budget, and his willingness to devise real solutions to pressing issues–will serve Romney through November, and if he is successful, for the next four years.