Opinion

Opinion

Ryan, Jindal top running-mate list

April 8, 2012

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— Barack Obama’s intellectual sociopathy — his often breezy and sometimes loutish indifference to truth — should no longer startle. It should, however, influence Mitt Romney’s choice of a running mate.

In his 2010 State of the Union address, Obama flagrantly misrepresented the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which did not “open the floodgates” for foreign corporations “to spend without limit in our elections” (the law prohibiting foreign money was untouched by Citizens United) and did not reverse “a century of law.” Although Obama is not nearly as well educated as many thought, and he thinks, he surely knows he was absurd when he said last Monday, regarding Obamacare, that it would be “unprecedented” for the Supreme Court to overturn a “passed law.”  

More important, and particularly pertinent to Romney’s choice, was Obama’s Tuesday speech comprehensively misrepresenting Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget. (For Ryan’s refutation of Obama, go to http://ow.ly/a6hPz.) Remarkably, the 42-year-old congressman is today’s agenda-setting Republican. Admirably, Romney has embraced Ryan’s approach to altering the ruinous trajectory of the entitlement state and forestalling what that trajectory presages, a “government-centered society” (Romney’s phrase in his fine Milwaukee speech Tuesday night).  

Obama’s defense of reactionary liberalism — whatever is must ever be, only increased — is not weighed down by the ballast of scruples. His defense will be his campaign because he cannot forever distract the nation and mesmerize the media with such horrors as a 30-year-old law student being unable to make someone else pay for her contraception. So Romney’s running mate should have intellectual firepower, born of immersion in policy complexities, sufficient to refute Obama’s meretricious claims and derelictions of duty. Here are two excellent choices:

Ryan already is at the center of the campaign, and is the world’s foremost expert on the Ryan-Romney plan. No one is more marinated in the facts to which Obama is averse. Ryan has not yet honed his rhetorical skills for communicating complexities to laypersons, but he is a quick study. One drawback is that he is invaluable as chairman of the Budget Committee and in 2015 might become chairman of Ways and Means.

Louisiana’s Gov. Bobby Jindal, 40, was a 20-year-old congressional staffer when he authored a substantial report on reforming Medicare financing. At 24, he became head of Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals, with 12,000 employees and 40 percent of the state budget. Back in Washington at 26, he was executive director of the National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare. In 1999, he became president of Louisiana’s largest state university system, which has 80,000 students. In 2001, he served as an assistant secretary of health and human services. He became governor after three years in Congress.

Faux realists will belabor Romney with unhistorical cleverness, urging him to choose a running mate who supposedly will sway this or that demographic cohort or carry a particular state. But are, for example, Hispanics nationwide such a homogeneous cohort that, say, those who came to Colorado from Mexico will identify with a son of Cuban immigrants to Florida (Sen. Marco Rubio)? Do these realists know that according to exit polls, Nevada’s Hispanic Gov. Brian Sandoval, a Republican, won only about a third of the Hispanic vote in 2010?

Furthermore, in the 16 elections since World War II, 10 presidential candidates have failed to carry the home state of their vice presidential running mates: Earl Warren in 1948, Sen. Estes Kefauver in 1956. former Sen.  Henry Cabot Lodge in 1960, Rep. Bill Miller in 1964, Gov. Spiro Agnew in 1968, Sargent Shriver in 1972, Rep. Geraldine Ferraro in 1984, Sen. Lloyd Bentsen in 1988, Jack Kemp in 1996, Sen. John Edwards in 2004.

For the next decade, American politics will turn on this truth: Slowing the growth of the entitlement state is absolutely necessary and intensely unpopular. In this situation, which is ripe for a demagogue such as the Huey Long from Chicago’s Hyde Park, Romney’s choice of running mate should promise something Washington now lacks — adult supervision.    

— George Will is a columnist for Washington Post Writers Group.    

Comments

cato_the_elder 3 years, 3 months ago

"...a demagogue such as the Huey Long from Chicago’s Hyde Park...."

That's perhaps the best description of Obama we've yet seen.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 3 months ago

Yea, yea, we know George, we'll be much better served by liars and sociopaths from your team.

cato_the_elder 3 years, 3 months ago

Mitt Romney is neither a liar nor a sociopath. In fact, his lack of guile, so clearly possessed by Obama, is widely viewed as his only drawback as a politician. In my view, that's what recommends him the most.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 3 months ago

"Mitt Romney is neither a liar nor a sociopath."

He's both-- in spades.

Geiiga 3 years, 3 months ago

Liar? How about the "tens of thousands of jobs" his predator employer Bain Capital allegedly "created?"

How about his absurd statement that "Obama made the recession worse?" Or his subsequent statement that "he never said Obama made the recession worse?"

How about his also-absurd accusal that Obama is trying to kill Medicare while endorsing Paul Ryan's budget (which, yes, kills Medicare)?

In fact, that one's worth reprinting the full quote, because EVERY SINGLE PART is a lie: “There are two proposals on the table for addressing the nation’s entitlement crisis. Mitt Romney...has offered a solution that would introduce competition and choice into Medicare, control costs, and strengthen the program for future generations. President Obama has cut $500 billion from Medicare to fund Obamacare and created an unaccountable board with rationing power — all while America’s debt is spiraling out of control and we continue to run trillion-dollar deficits." 1. Is the obvious one: an entitlement "crisis" doesn't exist -- earned benefit "tweaks" are in order. 2. Obama's cuts from Medicare are entirely from fraud and abuse by providers and health care, and not from benefits even a little bit. 3. The "unaccountable board" he speaks of is barred by law from even recommending rationing. I mean, not that lying about Obamacare is any big thing for Republicans. I remember Todd Tiahrt telling me with a straight face that it would make all doctors government employees with a salary cap of $90k.

Even the inconsequential: “I’m Mitt Romney, and yes, Wolf, that’s also my first name,” he said in the CNN National Security Debate. Romney's first name is Willard.

Now, that's what I did off the top of my head and about thirty seconds of googling to confirm my recollection. If you'd like more, there's lots.

cato_the_elder 3 years, 3 months ago

I stopped reading when you characterized a statement you attributed to Romney that Obama made the recession worse as "absurd."

If you don't understand what Obama has done and has failed to do that has egregiously worsened our economy since he began to occupy the White House, then you have no business commenting on this forum.

Geiiga 3 years, 3 months ago

So, I'm supposed to believe yours and pathological liar Mitt Romney's word over every economic indicator that's improved over the past three years? Because there's no case to make that the economy has gotten worse under President Obama, and thus the claim that he made the recession worse is an absurd lie.

Just further evidence that conservatism is incompatible with reason.

cato_the_elder 3 years, 3 months ago

Have you been living under a rock? Are you not aware that the poverty rate increased to an all-time high under Obama? Are you not aware that the poverty rate in most states has soared under Obama? Are you not aware that under Obama one in six Americans lives in poverty? Do you not recall how Obama and his handlers promised that if his Porkulus spending debacle were passed, unemployment would be at 6% by now? Do you not recall Obama saying that if he couldn't get unemployment under 8% by now he didn't deserve re-election? Do you know how dismal the jobs report was last Friday? Do you not know that Obama's economy created only 120,000 jobs in March, not enough even to keep up with population growth? Do you not know that last Friday's government-supplied jobs numbers disregarded 133,000 long-unemployed adults who were so discouraged that they stopped looking for work and thus were not counted in the labor force? Are you not aware of the profoundly chilling effect that the prospect of Obamacare has had on American employers' willingness to hire new employees? Are you not aware of the profoundly chilling effect that Obama's constant threats to raise taxes on business has had on American employers' willingness to hire new employees? Are you not aware of how much the economy might have recovered by now if Obama's job-killing policies, e.g. killing the Keystone Pipeline, had not been inflicted on America?

Economic conservativism is reason. Obama's brand of socialism is insanity.

Steve Jacob 3 years, 3 months ago

Romney has to pick someone the tea party can get excited about without harming Mitt's ability to try to get the independent voters. I think Ryan fills that void, but little is known of his social leanings.

Steve Jacob 3 years, 3 months ago

Romney has to pick someone the tea party can get excited about without harming Mitt's ability to try to get the independent voters. I think Ryan fills that void, but little is known of his social leanings.

Steve Jacob 3 years, 3 months ago

What facts are those? Economy and Dow Jones are doing well. Sure "Obamacare" was a mistake, but he was trying to find a solution to an unsolvable problem, such as Bush did for schools in "No child left behind".

Patricia Davis 3 years, 3 months ago

I get so weary of these knee jerks who spew out their nonfactual "fact isms." The economy is getting better which is amazing since everything the republican party did was trying to train wreck this president and the economy with it if that is what it took to get rid of Obama. Could someone tell me the facts of just what the republican party would do if elected? Personally I think the Romney-Ryan plan would be the Bain of our existence.

Geiiga 3 years, 3 months ago

Repubs shut themselves out. What eventually became Obamacare was a VERY Republican-friendly bill, starting with the As-Proposed-By-the-Heritage-Foundation individual mandate. But instead of debating what was best for the country, the Republican Party decided to expend all its effort lying about Obamacare. Remember death panels? Remember the town halls where we had the Frank Luntz lies (GOVERNMENT TAKEOVER OF HEALTH CARE!)?

Republicans were in the process. They chose to instead fling their own feces. They don't get to whine about not being part of the process now.

uncleandyt 3 years, 3 months ago

G. Will got paid to write this. Romney and Obama will be paid to win or lose. Win, win, win. We are the losers who can't see past the distractions. We fall for this bad theatre year after year. We are told that we believe what we've been told to believe. The polls show that the polls are correct. Let;s order pizza !

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