With his selection of Wisconsin Rep Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney has very much set the tone of the coming Presidential election. Ryan is the author of the Republican budget (which passed the House but not the Senate each of the last couple of years). (A subscription is required at this link, but here are some selections):
Mitt Romney's pick of Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate ensured a very different kind of fall.
The Ryan pick wasn't the safest one Mr. Romney could have made—not by a long shot. But as the author of the budget plan that most clearly delineates the view of limited government that most Republicans hold, and with more specificity and crystalline explanation than most can muster, Mr. Ryan best guarantees the country will get the kind of philosophical debate worthy of a presidential campaign....
With Mr. Ryan, Mr. Romney is getting one of his party's fastest-rising stars, and the heir to the late Jack Kemp's brand of sunny and optimistic conservatism. He has added a dash of youth and opened a clear play for Mr. Ryan's state of Wisconsin, which hasn't gone Republican in a presidential race since the days of Ronald Reagan....
In picking Mr. Ryan, though, Mr. Romney has chosen, quite consciously, to take some risks:
He and his party will absorb regular attacks on Medicare for the duration of the campaign. The Ryan budget envisions the transition of Medicare, over time, into a premium-support plan in which the government helps to finance rather than provide health coverage for senior citizens. The pressure now is on Mr. Romney to declare whether he embraces that vision, something he hasn't until now. Politically, the risk is that the Medicare debate erodes Mr. Romney's advantage with seniors, who have been one of his strongest demographics. Given his problems with young voters and Hispanics, those older voters are mighty important to him....
He has decided to gamble that, in an election dominated by the economy, he didn't need to pick a running mate with foreign-policy or national-security experience to offset his own shortages in that area.
He has decided to risk that the pure and genuine excitement the Ryan pick will generate among conservatives will offset the portrayal of the Republican party veering far right that now will commence.
One of the surprises of the election so far is that Mr. Romney has defied the conventional wisdom that said he would move to the center after clinching the GOP nomination. No chance to do that now.
One of the things I like about Ryan is that he is a genuine thinker, who, much like Ronald Reagan in the 1970's, has thought through his own policy proposals.