What Ryan does for Romney is validate the generation of Republicans the party will need to replace an aging group of leaders. Ryan is 42, and while he might not win the race for Romney, he’s positioned to be in Washington for some time, and that gives Republicans another player with name recognition who will be around for some time as a keynote speaker.
The problem with Ryan is that he represents a virtual one-trick pony for Romney. Ryan’s siren song about the national debt is something we’ve heard before, but rolling back entitlements will not be easy or pretty — and probably not successful. The other problem with reforming Medicare and Social Security is that the debate Ryan and others are promoting assumes that personal income growth will not pick up the slack after decades of lag, which has severely hamstrung the sustainability of the programs.
At a chamber of commerce function last week in Delphi, Rep. Todd Rokita made a pitch for reform and said it’s time to have a serious discussion about the cost of government and how the country will deal with it. But a discussion and a solution are not the same thing, and there appears to be none of the latter on the horizon.
In reality, Romney may eventually regret he didn’t choose candidates who probably could have done more damage to the Obama-Biden ticket.
Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida was a natural choice and was mentioned more than any hopeful. He’s a first-term senator and would have given the GOP some hope of capturing Hispanic votes in two states the party really needs — Florida and Texas. Romney is so far down in the polls when it comes to Hispanic voters, he might have realized more benefit from energizing the traditional Republican base of white males. Obama has had a wide lead among women voters, Hispanic voters and African-American voters since the start of the campaign.