The election is on. Romney's choice of Paul Ryan was splendid: the race will indeed be about competing ideas. The incumbent ticket has very little faith in markets and individuals; the challengers believe in the market and have had success in the private sector. Americans who count on government programs for their subsistence will vote Obama, and those with a vision for success and prosperity in their lives will pull the lever for Romney.
The last ideological election we had was in 1980. Ronald Reagan's solid across-the-board conservatism contrasted (favorably) with Jimmy Carter's faith in pacifism and big-government spending schemes. This year Romney's private sector prowess is up against Obama's genuine enthusiasm for federal redistribution.
At the moment, Obama is better at making his case than Romney, which is a mixed blessing: the more Obama makes his case, the more independents sprint toward Romney, by default.
If Romney wants to win, he needs to respond regularly to Obama's false claims on the campaign trail. Almost every day, the President says something that simply isn't true. But he sounds so believable! By limiting his responses to the obvious--the "you didn't build that" speech--Romney is throwing away Obama's daily gift. Think of how entertainingly Romney could make his case. He could run a new ad every day, responding to yesterday's falsity.
Instead, the tone of a Romney speech seems to be: I'm business savvy, and you're all responsible adults. Vote for me and let's get to work. It's genuine, but falls short of being inspiring.
Meanwhile, there couldn't be a more favorable contrast--for the Republicans--than that between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan. Biden resembles Walter Matthau in the Grumpy Old Men movies, blurting out this or that racial slur and then stubbornly standing behind it. We've come to expect his faux pas, but we still shudder.
Along comes Paul Ryan, the all-American, slightly shy (or so it seems) budget expert. Ryan, who is so well-versed on fiscal policy that he has spent some time tutoring his congressional compatriots, represents a new generation of leaders. He wants to bridge the gap between his parents and his children. And the gap is literal: without serious reform Medicare will go bankrupt even as it blows the rest of the budget.
Ryan, who is hard not to like, is well-positioned to make the case for compassionate conservatism without having to use the word "compassionate." The angry Left is, of course, working overtime to demagogue the Ryan budget. The problem for them is, if they’re going to convince Americans that a Romney presidency means that it’s over for senior citizens, they’re going to have to convince us that Ryan—whose budget has passed the House—is callous.
Advantage team Romney.
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By Will Anderson