Choosing Ryan would show he's serious and nation's fiscal crisis.
Two very different sources – NBC News and the conservative magazine Weekly Standard – are saying Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has narrowed his vice presidential list to three names: former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan. That may or may not be true, but we can accept its accuracy for the purposes of discussion since those names represent Romney’s basic choice: Be safe or go bold.
Romney is a cautious man, and conventional wisdom says he will play it safe by choosing Pawlenty or especially Portman. He’s in a virtual tie with President Obama, so he doesn’t have to try a game-changing swing-for-the fences pick the way John McCain did with Sarah Palin. Perhaps, but we hope Romney is daring enough to be a little bold and choose Ryan.
The financial cliff we’re headed for because of our national debt and unfunded liabilities hasn’t gone away just because the economy and unemployment have jumped to the top of Americans’ worry list.
And it’s getting ever closer. Bloomberg economists this week reported that our “fiscal gap,” the measure of future liabilities to future revenue, has now grown to $222 trillion – forget about that puny $15 trillion debt. And according to a new report from Republican members of the Senate Budget Committee, more than 100 million people now receive some kind of federal welfare from nearly 80 overlapping federal agencies.
Ryan has been the most articulate and passionate advocate of fiscal sanity to come along in a generation. Choosing him would be the way for Romney to show that he hasn’t just been feeding us political pabulum in promising to tame Washington’s profligacy and overreach.
Yes, there would be a risk. Americans are rightly concerned about deficits and the debt, but they’ve learned to like their benefits, too. Romney might discover that painting too stark a picture of the situation might not really excite the voters. A Romney-Ryan ticket could very well lose.
But if that happens, at least Americans will have been given a very clear choice.
And that choice is very real. If we continue on the present course, the issue is not if this country will face financial ruin but when. Romney might not be the perfect candidate, but he’s the only alternative there is to Obama. He owes the American people that clear choice of futures, even if it comes at a political risk to him.
That would be swinging for the fences in a much better cause, wouldn’t you say?