THE 2012 REPUBLICAN never too white or too male 2012 team theme team is official. What’s the theme? Austerity or bust, baby. Because it’s worked so well over the pond.
But what optics. With the USS Wisconsin as the stage, Gov. Bob McDonnell announced Mitt Romney, who jogged down to the platform set up to introduce conservative darling Paul Ryan.
What it says about Mitt Romney is significant.
Regardless of the optics, very white and all male, a demographic voting challenge for Republicans in poll after poll, Romney has made an audacious move to wrap his arms around the Ryan budget that will make the conservative base ecstatic and send a solid message about his presidency for the first time. No one will be able to say, at the end of this race, that Romney-Ryan didn’t offer a clear choice.
This race will not be a referendum on Pres. Obama. And Romney will not not go out with any cards left on the table. There’s no other pick that could have turned the page more sharply back to economics.
Here’s the official press release that dropped into my inbox this morning:
MITT ROMNEY & PAUL RYAN: AMERICA’S COMEBACK TEAM
Boston, MA – Mitt Romney today announced Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan as his Vice Presidential running mate. Below is Congressman Ryan’s biography:
U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan is in his seventh term in Congress representing Wisconsin’s First Congressional District. He is Chairman of the House Budget Committee, where he has worked tirelessly leading the effort to reign in federal spending and increase accountability to taxpayers. He also serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, where he has focused on simplifying the tax code and making health care more affordable and accessible.
In January 2010, Ryan gained attention nationwide after unveiling his “Roadmap for America’s Future,” a proposal to eliminate the federal deficit, reform the tax code, and preserve entitlements for future generations.
Representative Ryan was born in Janesville, Wisconsin on January 29, 1970. A fifth-generation Wisconsin native, Ryan was the youngest of four children born to Paul Ryan Sr., who worked as an attorney, and Betty, a stay-at-home mom.
In April 2000, Ryan proposed to Janna Little, a native Oklahoman, at one of his favorite fishing spots, Big St. Germain Lake in Wisconsin. Later that year, the two were married in Oklahoma City.
The Ryans reside in Janesville with their three children, Liza, Charlie and Sam. The family are parishioners at St. John Vianney Catholic Church.
Upon entering Congress in January of 1999, Ryan was the youngest member of the freshmen class at the age of 28. Prior to running for Congress, Ryan served as an aide to Republican Senators Robert Kasten Jr. and Sam Brownback, former U.S. Rep. and Vice Presidential Candidate Jack Kemp, and as a speechwriter for Education Secretary William Bennett.
Ryan is a graduate of Joseph A. Craig High School in Janesville and earned degrees in economics and political science from Miami University in Ohio. He is an avid outdoorsman and is a member is of his local archery association, the Janesville Bowmen.
From Mike Allen, whose heading reads: GOP asks on Ryan, brilliant or political malpractice?
RACE RESET: In making Paul Ryan his running mate, Mitt Romney is discarding one of the most basic assumptions that has driven his campaign until now: Make the race about President Obama, and he will lose. Don’t worry about being accused of being vapid and elliptical, went the Romney theory of the case: The more specific you are, the more chance voters will be distracted from a simple referendum on the Obama economy. Run out the clock, look credible and plausible, don’t lunge for shiny objects that take you off your economic message, and you’ll win.
This is too cynical and too thin of analysis.
Mitt Romney’s recent slide in the polls, but also his foreign policy Romney in shambles tour, could have likely tilted it finally in Ryan’s direction. But maybe not, because Romney always wanted to run on economics, because he thinks that’s the driving worry in voters’ minds. He also has to know that he can’t touch Obama on commander in chief territory or foreign policy, which was proven recently. Romney runs on his biz cred or nothing at all.
In life, whenever you make big decisions, the only way you weather the outcome no matter what it might be is to follow your own compass. Whatever you say about Mitt Romney, he’s done that here. Paul Ryan resonates with Romney’s surety that this election is about economics. Because it’s Mitt Romney’s only strong suit, he’s running with it all the way.
This pick will give indigestion to the Mark McKinnon moderate Republicans, but at the end of this race it will either lift the right to power or put it down for decades.
However, now it’s actually possible for the presidential race to be about something. In fact, to be about something important: Do voters want a conservative corporate Democrat or a conservative Wall Street Republican?
This column has been updated.