August 13, 2012 by NaFkEnF

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									August 13, 2012

George Will on the Ryan pick.
When, in his speech accepting the 1964 Republican presidential nomination, Barry Goldwater
said “extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice” and “moderation in the pursuit of justice is
no virtue,” a media wit at the convention supposedly exclaimed, “Good God, Goldwater is going
to run as Goldwater.” When Mitt Romney decided to run with Paul Ryan, many conservatives
may have thought, “Thank God, Romney is not going to run as Romney.” ...

... Romney embraced Ryan after the sociopathic — indifferent to the truth — ad for Barack
Obama that is meretricious about every important particular of the death from cancer of the wife
of steelworker Joe Soptic. Obama’s desperate flailing about to justify four more years has sunk
into such unhinged smarminess that Romney may have concluded: There is nothing Obama
won’t say about me, because he has nothing to say for himself, so I will chose a running mate
whose seriousness about large problems and ideas underscores what the president has
become — silly and small.

He on whose behalf the Soptic ad was made used to dispense bromides deploring “the
smallness of our politics” and “our preference for scoring cheap political points.” Obama’s
campaign of avoidance — say anything to avoid the subject of the country’s condition — must
now reckon with Ryan’s mastery of Obama’s enormous addition to decades of governmental
malpractice. ...

... Romney’s selection of a running mate was, in method and outcome, presidential. It
underscores how little in the last four years merits that adjective.



In May James Pethokoukis wrote a Paul Ryan background piece for Commentary.
It’s probably safe to assume that no elected official in America understands the ins and outs of
the labyrinthine U.S. budget the way Paul Ryan does. The 42-year-old Wisconsin Republican
and chairman of the House Budget Committee has dreams of completing the small-government
Reagan Revolution so that America might avoid repeating the “managed decline” of Old Europe.
Ryan knows the numbers and projections and models backward and forward. He knows the
strengths and weaknesses of his own arguments about reforming the Entitlement State and of
those espoused by his opponents across the aisle and inside the Obama White House. He
knows how the legislative process can breathe life into ambitious budget plans or, far more
often, suffocate them in the cradle.

Ryan knows it all to a fine granularity. And that is not all he knows. As a veteran of the
conservative movement who started out writing speeches for Jack Kemp and William J. Bennett
at their joint think tank, Empower America, Ryan knows how three decades of off-and-on
conservative governance in Washington have given credence to the notion that, in domestic
affairs, Republicans understand how to cut taxes—and not much else. This has certainly been
the case when it comes to fixing America’s social-insurance entitlements. Creating a financially
sustainable safety net that does not sap America’s economic dynamism has been a political and
policy puzzle, and repeated attempts to solve it have ended in economic or political disaster, or
both.
Consider this: In 1983, President Ronald Reagan and House Speaker Tip O’Neill struck a deal
to save Social Security through a combination of benefit cuts and tax increases. The agreement
continues to be highlighted by Democrats as a model for bipartisan reform. Yet not only was
Social Security not saved—the program almost immediately veered back into long-term
insolvency—but several decades of surpluses in the Social Security “lockbox” were used
cynically to make federal budget deficits look smaller than they were. For instance, if you don’t
count “borrowings” from the Social Security trust fund, the four-year, $559 billion surplus in the
late 1990s was really a two-year, $88 billion surplus. ...


And just a few days before Romney's pick, David Harsanyi wrote, "Why Not Paul
Ryan?"
... So, no matter whom Republican Mitt Romney finally taps as his vice presidential nominee,
Democrats will accuse this person of crimes against common decency and fairness. This person
will, you can bet, be indicted as someone hellbent on “dismantling” Social Security, sacrificing
Medicare to the gods of social Darwinism and “slashing” the safety net into worthless tatters.

If that’s the case, why not pick a politician who actually speaks about reforming entitlement
programs in a serious way? Someone who has actually come up with some ideas that reach
beyond platitude? Rep. Paul Ryan, who was spotted pushing a frail wheelchair-bound elderly
woman off a cliff in a political ad last year, is really the only person on the shortlist we keep
hearing about who fits the bill.

Obama strategist David Axelrod has already written that Ryan, like Romney, has “a conviction
that our future will be brighter if we simply pass even bigger tax cuts for the wealthy;
dramatically shift health care costs from Medicare to seniors, and walk away from our national
commitments to education, research and development, and new energy technology.”

Rest assured David Axelrod is going to regurgitate the exact same nonsense no matter whom
Romney picks. ...



Robert Costa profiled Ryan for National Review.
... According to Romney insiders, Romney deeply appreciated Ryan’s willingness to privately
share his critique of the campaign during the heated Republican primary, where Romney often
struggled to make his case. As he watched from afar, long before he endorsed, Ryan drafted a
series of detailed strategy and policy advisories, and discussed them with Romney over the
phone. For Romney, those corporate-style memos made a lasting impression — and catapulted
Ryan into Romney’s circle, where he has remained since.

“Both men are intelligent and very empirically minded, driven by facts,” says Peter Wehner, a
friend of Ryan’s and a former Bush and Reagan administration official. “When he looks at Ryan,
Romney probably sees somebody like himself, a person he’d want at his side in the business
world or the political world. They approach complicated problems the same way.” ...
Sara Murray writes an interesting piece for the WSJ on the behind the scenes of the
pick logistics.
The day before Rep. Paul Ryan was introduced as Mitt Romney's running mate, he
surreptitiously walked through his backyard in Janesville, Wisc., and was smuggled, with the
help of a congressional aide and a 19-year-old, to a Fairfield Inn in North Carolina.

"We wanted to try to do this very quietly and looked at maps and put it together," said Beth
Myers, the woman who coordinated Mr. Romney's pick, recounting the tale in an airport hangar
here after Mr. Ryan of Wisconsin had been named as the Republican running mate and Kid
Rock's "Born Free" had been blasted at Romney-Ryan rallies Saturday across Virginia.

She mostly got her wish. Even though plenty of aides had been briefed on the vice presidential
pick -- foreign policy adviser Dan Senor, senior adviser Ed Gillespie, chief strategist Stuart
Stevens, campaign manager Matt Rhoades and longtime friend Bob White, among others-- the
news stayed under wraps until just hours before the official announcement.

Ms. Myers gleefully unraveled the events of the weekend, explaining how Mr. Ryan stole past
his childhood treehouse in an a quiet escape from Janesville Friday and ultimately landed in
front the U.S.S. Wisconsin in Norfolk Saturday morning, where he was announced as joining the
the 2012 Republican ticket.

Getting to the moment of the surprise announcement was a long and tortured process. ...




Washington Post
Romney’s presidential pick
by George F. Will

When, in his speech accepting the 1964 Republican presidential nomination, Barry Goldwater
said “extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice” and “moderation in the pursuit of justice is
no virtue,” a media wit at the convention supposedly exclaimed, “Good God, Goldwater is going
to run as Goldwater.” When Mitt Romney decided to run with Paul Ryan, many conservatives
may have thought, “Thank God, Romney is not going to run as Romney.”

Not, that is, as the Romney who 12 months ago, warily eyeing Iowa, refused to say a
discouraging word about the ethanol debacle. Rather, he is going to run as the Romney who,
less than two weeks before announcing Ryan, told the states — Iowa prominent among them —
that he opposes extending the wind energy production tax credit, which expires soon.

This may seem a minor matter, as well as an obvious and easy decision for a conservative. The
wind tax credit is, after all, industrial policy, the government picking winners and losers in
defiance of market signals — industrial policy always is a refusal to heed the market’s rejection
of that which the government singles out for favoritism. But ethanol subsidies also are industrial
policy. And just a few days after Romney got the wind subsidy right, more than half of the 11
Republican senators on the Finance Committee got it wrong, voting to extend it. So even before
choosing Ryan, Romney was siding with what might, with a nod to Howard Dean, be called the
Republican wing of the Republican Party. For Romney, conservatism is a second language, but
he speaks it with increasing frequency and fluency.

Romney embraced Ryan after the sociopathic — indifferent to the truth — ad for Barack Obama
that is meretricious about every important particular of the death from cancer of the wife of
steelworker Joe Soptic. Obama’s desperate flailing about to justify four more years has sunk
into such unhinged smarminess that Romney may have concluded: There is nothing Obama
won’t say about me, because he has nothing to say for himself, so I will chose a running mate
whose seriousness about large problems and ideas underscores what the president has
become — silly and small.

He on whose behalf the Soptic ad was made used to dispense bromides deploring “the
smallness of our politics” and “our preference for scoring cheap political points.” Obama’s
campaign of avoidance — say anything to avoid the subject of the country’s condition — must
now reckon with Ryan’s mastery of Obama’s enormous addition to decades of governmental
malpractice.

Obama is, by now, nothing if not predictable, so prepare for pieties deploring Ryan’s brand of
“extremism” that has supplanted responsible conservatism. Goldwater, quoted above, infuriated
the sort of people who, regardless of what flavor of conservatism is in fashion, invariably purse
their lips and sorrowfully say: “We think conservatism is a valuable thread in our national fabric,
etc., but not this kind of conservatism.” Goldwater’s despisers did not recognize his echo of
words by Martin Luther King Jr. 15 months earlier.

In his “Letter From Birmingham Jail,” King wrote, “You speak of our activity in Birmingham as
extreme. . . . But though I was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I
continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label.
Was not Jesus an extremist for love. . . . Was not Amos an extremist for justice. . . . Was not
Paul an extremist for the Christian gospel. . . . Perhaps the South, the nation and the world are
in dire need of creative extremists.”

Remember this episode when you hear, ad nauseam, that Ryan is directly, and Romney now is
derivatively, an extremist for believing (a) that “ending Medicare as we know it” will be done by
arithmetic if it is not done by creative reforms of the sort Ryan proposes, and (b) that the
entitlement state’s crisis cannot be cured, as Obama suggests, by adding 4.6 points to the tax
rate paid by less than 3 percent of Americans.

When Ryan said in Norfolk, “We won’t replace our Founding principles, we will reapply them,”
he effectively challenged Obama to say what Obama believes, which is: Madison was an
extremist in enunciating the principles of limited government — the enumeration and separation
of powers. And Jefferson was an extremist in asserting that government exists not to grant
rights but to “secure” natural rights that pre-exist government.

Romney’s selection of a running mate was, in method and outcome, presidential. It underscores
how little in the last four years merits that adjective.
Commentary
Ryan's Hope
by James Pethokoukis

It’s probably safe to assume that no elected official in America understands the ins and outs of
the labyrinthine U.S. budget the way Paul Ryan does. The 42-year-old Wisconsin Republican
and chairman of the House Budget Committee has dreams of completing the small-government
Reagan Revolution so that America might avoid repeating the “managed decline” of Old Europe.
Ryan knows the numbers and projections and models backward and forward. He knows the
strengths and weaknesses of his own arguments about reforming the Entitlement State and of
those espoused by his opponents across the aisle and inside the Obama White House. He
knows how the legislative process can breathe life into ambitious budget plans or, far more
often, suffocate them in the cradle.

Ryan knows it all to a fine granularity. And that is not all he knows. As a veteran of the
conservative movement who started out writing speeches for Jack Kemp and William J. Bennett
at their joint think tank, Empower America, Ryan knows how three decades of off-and-on
conservative governance in Washington have given credence to the notion that, in domestic
affairs, Republicans understand how to cut taxes—and not much else. This has certainly been
the case when it comes to fixing America’s social-insurance entitlements. Creating a financially
sustainable safety net that does not sap America’s economic dynamism has been a political and
policy puzzle, and repeated attempts to solve it have ended in economic or political disaster, or
both.

Consider this: In 1983, President Ronald Reagan and House Speaker Tip O’Neill struck a deal
to save Social Security through a combination of benefit cuts and tax increases. The agreement
continues to be highlighted by Democrats as a model for bipartisan reform. Yet not only was
Social Security not saved—the program almost immediately veered back into long-term
insolvency—but several decades of surpluses in the Social Security “lockbox” were used
cynically to make federal budget deficits look smaller than they were. For instance, if you don’t
count “borrowings” from the Social Security trust fund, the four-year, $559 billion surplus in the
late 1990s was really a two-year, $88 billion surplus.

In 1995, Newt Gingrich proposed $270 billion in cuts in future Medicare spending growth to help
balance the budget. Clinton accused Republicans of wanting to use the program as a piggy
bank to fund tax cuts for the rich and declared the cuts would hurl a half million seniors into
poverty. Eventually, the cuts were halved and the tax cuts dumped. Two years later, the
Balanced Budget Act created a new Medicare payment system for doctors that was meant to
lower Medicare cost growth. But the “sustainable growth rate” formula has been consistently
ignored by Congress—indeed, it has been violated year in and year out with the so-called doc
fix that changes the formula in the direction of medical providers. And costs have continued to
soar.

In 2004, right after the November elections, the newly reelected George W. Bush said he
wanted to spend “political capital” on reforming Social Security. But just a half year later, the
effort had imploded. Bush never proposed a specific plan or created a viable legislative strategy
with congressional Republicans. Today the once hot idea of letting Americans divert a chunk of
their payroll taxes into personal investment accounts is moribund, even in conservative
policymaking circles—a victim not only of the fear of dealing with Social Security politically but
also of the vertigo-inducing stock market gyrations between 2008 and the present.

This is the history of failure after conservative policymaking failure, helped along by plenty of
liberal and Democratic demagoguery. By the end of the Bush years, free-market reformers
seemed out of energy, out of ideas, and out of luck. The financial crisis gave Barack Obama a
near landslide victory in 2008. With supposedly unfettered capitalism getting most of the blame
for the meltdown, it seemed more probable that 21st-century America was on the verge of
assuming a New New Deal or an Even Greater Society program than it was of undergoing a
conservative transformation of the social-insurance Leviathan.

But three years into Obama’s presidency, his economic point man, Treasury Secretary Timothy
Geithner, was reduced to telling Ryan the following at a recent House Budget Committee
session: “We’re not coming before you to say we have a definitive solution to that long-term
[entitlement] problem. What we do know is, we don’t like yours.” Geithner’s favorite aphorism is
“plan beats no plan.” Yet here he was admitting that the administration had no plan to avoid a
future debt crisis by reforming entitlements, even though the sooner you begin dealing with the
problem, the cheaper and easier it is to correct.

The plan Ryan has, the one Geithner doesn’t like, is his “Path to Prosperity” budget blueprint. It
would fundamentally revamp Medicare, the single biggest driver of America’s long-term debt, by
transforming the system from an open-ended, defined-benefit plan into a limited, defined-
contribution plan. Seniors could use Medicare dollars to choose among various plans, both
public and private. A combination of competition and consumer choice would push insurers to
be innovative and boost productivity, resulting in massive cost savings with no sacrifice in
quality.

But for entitlement reform to work, the politics have to work as well as the policy prescription.
And Democrats in the past successfully skewered plans far less ambitious than Ryan’s. Their
“Mediscare” tactics soundly defeated the Gingrich Republicans, and they were cutting only
hundreds of billions from future Medicare growth. Ryan wants to cut trillions while also
completely restructuring the entitlement, so popular with seniors, in such a way that Democrats
can easily accuse him of surreptitiously trying to privatize it. And, of course, they have been
doing exactly that.

But Ryan is a new kind of combatant. He does not panic. He adjusts. And he takes the long
view. He released the first version of his entitlement plan in January 2010, and Democrats
jumped all over it. They believed Ryan had unwittingly given them a powerful weapon against
the Tea Party Republicans who were trying to win back Congress. But the GOP took back the
House anyway and narrowed the Democrats’ edge in the Senate.

In March 2012, for the second year in a row, the GOP-controlled House passed Ryan’s budget
plan. Republicans knew they would again be attacked by Democrats for wanting to “privatize
Medicare” and to “end Medicare as we know it”—and they were—but they voted for it anyway in
overwhelming numbers. Only 10 of 242 Republicans rejected the Ryan budget, with the
defectors mostly arguing that the Ryan plan didn’t go far enough fast enough.

The dynamics of the GOP presidential primary contest show that although Republicans can
argue for change even more radical than Ryan’s proposal, making the case that Ryan goes too
far is out of the party mainstream. When Gingrich called it “right-wing social engineering” in May
2011, he hindered his own claim to be the candidate who represented innovative conservative
policymaking. Meanwhile, Mitt Romney’s plan for reforming Medicare is a transition into a
“premium support system, meaning that existing spending is repackaged as a fixed-amount
benefit to each senior that he or she can use to purchase an insurance plan.” That is specific,
bold, sweeping—and it is all Ryan. Now compare that position with what John McCain was
offering in 2008. At the second presidential debate with Obama, McCain was asked how he
would fix Medicare. His reply: “What we have to do with Medicare is have the smartest people in
America come together, come up with recommendations, and then, like the base-closing
commission idea we had, then we should have Congress vote up or down.”

The change from McCain to Romney, from 2008 to 2012, indicates the way in which the policy
ground on Medicare reform has shifted. Ryan deserves a large amount of the credit for that.
That the GOP and conservative intellectuals have embraced Ryan’s approach to fixing Medicare
is every bit as significant as the party’s embrace of tax cuts as a core principle in the 1980s
when Reagan took office. Not long before that, good Republicans would vote against tax cuts
that weren’t paid for through offsetting spending cuts. Barry Goldwater voted against the across-
the-board tax cuts of 1963 proposed by John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. And
Reagan’s main opponent in 1980 for the nomination, Ambassador George Bush, derided his
tax-cut plan as “voodoo economics.” But just as the supply-side approach to tax cuts has
become the default GOP policy position, the same goes for Ryan’s Medicare plan.

Ryan has had an easier time making his case thanks to the rapid and alarming deterioration in
America’s fiscal position during the Obama years. In 2008, publicly held debt as a share of GDP
was 41 percent. The Congressional Budget Office’s best guess is that it will be 73 percent this
year and 94 percent by 2022—with annual budget deficits averaging $1.1 trillion for the next
decade. And it is in 2022 that Medicare really starts to contribute to our fiscal instability, as the
single devastating chart at the heart of Ryan’s entire political project, illustrated below, indicates.




Washington budgeteers like to joke that the U.S. government is really just a giant insurance
company with an army. Not true, at least not yet. But the day is coming. And when it does, even
the Army might need to get cut from the equation. Last year, Washington spending amounted to
24.1 percent of GDP—the second highest level since World War II and its immediate aftermath.
Separating out interest payments on the $11 trillion national debt leaves 22.6 percent of GDP
spent on what most Americans consider federal programs. And of that amount, nearly half (10.4
percent) was spent on the three safety-net entitlements: Social Security (4.8 percent), Medicare
(3.7 percent), and Medicaid (1.9 percent). By 2035, the Congressional Budget Office says, 16.5
percent will be spent on those social insurance programs. Add back 8.9 percent for interest
payments, and you will have already spent 25.4 percent of GDP without yet ponying up a nickel
for whatever else Americans think worthy of taxpayer funds over those 23 years: not only the
military and infrastructure and the like, but nuclear-fusion pilot projects, space-traffic controllers
for orbital tourist cruisers, brigades of drone marines. (Oh, and sugar subsidies.) Beyond that,
Medicare in particular will continue to gobble up a larger and larger share of the pie. And this all
assumes that a debt crisis doesn’t bring the economy down by then.

So it helps that Americans are now far more aware than they ever have been that Washington,
like the profligate nations of old Europe, is on the wrong fiscal track and headed for a nasty
confrontation with global bond markets. But to take advantage of that opportunity, Ryan needed
a plan where both the numbers and values worked—one that could absorb the punishment
Democrats would surely inflict when they once again reopened the Mediscare playbook.

To achieve that, Ryan hasn’t been afraid to tweak his plan along the way. He learned from the
invective that greeted the 2011 version. Obama described the plan this way: “Instead of
guaranteed health care, you will get a voucher. And if that voucher isn’t worth enough to buy
insurance that’s available in the open marketplace, well, tough luck. You’re on your own. Put
simply, it ends Medicare as we know it.” An infamous ad showed a Ryan dopplegänger pushing
an old woman in a wheelchair off a cliff. Wildly unfair, but the charges had just enough factual
basis to make Republicans, such as Gingrich, nervous about selling it to the nation. First, the
2011 Ryan Plan did eliminate fee-for-service Medicare as an option for future seniors. Second,
the government’s premium support—what Obama mischaracterized as a voucher—would only
have risen at the rate of inflation, under the theory that competition among plans would lower
costs. But, partly driven by Medicare, health-care inflation in America has consistently grown
nearly twice as fast as inflation in the overall economy.

Ryan’s 2011 plan proved far too ambitious for former Clinton White House Budget Chief Alice
Rivlin. Ryan and Rivlin had together created a premium-support plan that annually increased
Medicare dollars at the rate of GDP growth plus 1 percent. When Rivlin heard about Ryan’s
proposal, she balked, stripping it of any bipartisan veneer: “I don’t support the version of
Medicare premium support in the Ryan plan. It’s both because the growth rate is much, much
too low, and because it doesn’t preserve fee-for-service Medicare as the default option.” Even
many conservative policy analysts thought that increasing premium support only by inflation was
too risky—not to mention that the entire idea of government arbitrarily deciding how fast
Medicare spending could grow sounded like some price-control idea right out of command-and-
control ObamaCare.

So for 2012, Ryan adjusted the plan, improving it in the process. He added Medicare as an
option within the premium-support system, thus achieving the assent of Sen. Ron Wyden, an
Oregon Democrat, to sign on. And instead of Washington bureaucrats picking the rate at which
the premium support would increase, private plans would bid against each other to supply a
Medicare-like benefits package at a low price, thus injecting market forces and competition into
the system. Seniors who wanted plans with more benefits would have to pay more. Those who
wanted a skimpier benefit package could pocket the difference. This was an important
improvement because the main thing driving health-care costs in this country is the disconnect
between the people buying health-care services (you and me) and those who pay for it
(government and employers). Now seniors would have some skin in the game.

These changes certainly made it harder for the liberal media to attack the 2012 version of the
Ryan plan for ending Medicare because it explicitly doesn’t end Medicare. In Ryan’s less
ambitious design, moreover, Medicare spending as a share of output would still rise to 4.75
percent by 2050 versus 3.25 percent today. That’s far less than if it continued on its current path
(7.5 percent), but it’s still a concession, so much so that the conservative group Club for Growth
declared its opposition to Ryan 2012, which it called “disappointing.”

Even Ezra Klein, the Washington Post’s liberal blogger, was forced to admit the Ryan plan had
a lot going for it. “Competitive bidding has certainly shown some savings success,” he wrote.
“Could [it] slow the cost of Medicare to hit Republican budget targets? There’s some evidence it
would.” Some evidence? There’s all the evidence one could wish for in the program called
Medicare Part B, which uses a competitive bidding process. The technique has helped spending
on the program come in about 40 percent below the projections at the time of enactment back in
2003.

Now none of this has stopped the attacks from the Mediscare playbook. After Ryan presented
the Path to Prosperity 2.0, Obama described the plan as “thinly veiled social Darwinism.” Vice
President Joseph Biden quickly and perfunctorily recycled the argument that RyanCare would
“end Medicare as we know it.” That sort of claim is much less powerful than claiming Ryan
would end Medicare, full stop. And besides, “Medicare as we know it” simply cannot be saved in
its current form. Even ObamaCare acknowledges that reality by creating all sorts of pilot
projects to experiment with ways of restructuring the program. The most notorious is the
Independent Payment Advisory Board, a small panel of bureaucrats directed to cut spending to
Medicare providers—which will probably push more and more of them to stop accepting
Medicare payments. (This is what Sarah Palin dubbed a “death panel.”)

Obama will surely be reminded of these reality checks by Mitt Romney this fall since, to a
significant degree, the Romney and Ryan policy agendas have merged. And should Romney
win, he will be able to argue that he possesses a mandate for the biggest changes in the U.S.
welfare state since the 1960s. Should Romney lose, the inarguable justification for the Ryan
budget—that chart showing Medicare swallowing up the federal government in relatively short
order—will be no different the day after the election from what it was the day before.
Human Events
Why Not Paul Ryan?
by David Harsanyi




The other day, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi nonchalantly explained to a group in Florida
that conservatives are in the “E. coli club.”

The next day, a pro-Barack Obama super PAC began running an ad blaming Mitt Romney and
Bain Capital for the death of a steelworker’s wife (who actually had insurance and passed away
seven years after Romney ran Bain and five years after her husband was laid off from a money-
losing steel plant).

The Obama campaign has, more than once, implied that Romney is a felon.

We often have the tendency to believe that political attacks are purely cynical, but that’s
probably not the case. Some attacks are presumptive.

Many liberals already believe that Republicans wouldn’t mind seeing children (poor, minority
and handicapped children, at least) contracting deadly bacterial diseases, even if conservatives
won’t explicitly say so. Many liberals assume that the wealthy (especially those who have an
exotic career, such as “banker”) never really pay their share in taxes and probably cheat and
devastate the poor to achieve success. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid might not have any
proof that Romney hasn’t paid a penny in taxes in a decade, but it plays to a larger social truth
about conservatives; it is a given.

So, no matter whom Republican Mitt Romney finally taps as his vice presidential nominee,
Democrats will accuse this person of crimes against common decency and fairness. This person
will, you can bet, be indicted as someone hellbent on “dismantling” Social Security, sacrificing
Medicare to the gods of social Darwinism and “slashing” the safety net into worthless tatters.

If that’s the case, why not pick a politician who actually speaks about reforming entitlement
programs in a serious way? Someone who has actually come up with some ideas that reach
beyond platitude? Rep. Paul Ryan, who was spotted pushing a frail wheelchair-bound elderly
woman off a cliff in a political ad last year, is really the only person on the shortlist we keep
hearing about who fits the bill.

Obama strategist David Axelrod has already written that Ryan, like Romney, has “a conviction
that our future will be brighter if we simply pass even bigger tax cuts for the wealthy;
dramatically shift health care costs from Medicare to seniors, and walk away from our national
commitments to education, research and development, and new energy technology.”

Rest assured David Axelrod is going to regurgitate the exact same nonsense no matter whom
Romney picks.

Some in the GOP also view Ryan as a liability, and the hand-wringing over his tepid budget is a
sad testament to the future of fiscally responsible government. Ryan’s plans still would have
Washington running a $287 billion annual deficit, and they would increase government spending
by about 35 percent over 10 years. That, sadly enough, is what passes for bravery these days.

On the other hand, Ryan also champions a voucher-style reform and other ideas that are
excellent starting points. If there is any time to champion free market ideas on that front, it’s
before Obamacare is codified. His budget may be wrong, but it’s a lot less wrong than, say,
Obama’s proposed budget, which would add $11 trillion to the debt over the next 10 years.

And it’s doubtful he would hurt the ticket. Any retired Floridians who believe that pinstripe-suited
goons are about to seize the 1 percent return they’re making on Social Security will never shed
that gullibility. Right now, though, working Americans are paying more in Social Security taxes
than they will receive in benefits when they retire. That’s what matters.

Of course, the veep pick is perhaps the most overvalued decision of a presidential race. Put it
this way: If the vice president had any effect on your chances, Obama would be down 20 points
by now. Ryan, though, would add a measure of number-crunching earnestness to a campaign
(and then, more importantly, should it happen, to an administration) that lives on broad strokes.



National Review
The Ryan Way
by Robert Costa

As Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin has risen in the vice-presidential sweepstakes, a few
political observers have joked that the athletic 42-year-old congressman, with his jet-black hair
and square jaw, looks like one of Romney’s five sons. But according to Romney confidants,
Ryan’s appeal to the former Massachusetts governor is more professional than filial.
“He is the kind of smart, young guy that Mitt likes and Mitt would have probably hired at Bain,”
says Mike Murphy, a former Romney adviser. “He shares the intellectual talent and positive
outlook of the guys who Mitt mentored for decades.”

Back when he was running Bain Capital, Romney was known for following a management
method called the “Bain Way.” In their book, The Real Romney, Michael Kranish and Scott
Helman describe it as “intensely analytical and data driven.” It required a “healthy ego,” the
authors write, “to go into a business and tell an owner how to run his own firm better.”

It also required a specific type of talent. Bain Capital operated as a small shop, and Romney
took care to hire ambitious and serious business-school graduates — fresh-thinking young men
he could develop, not just seasoned Wall Street hands.

In the late 1970s, “I was asked to help recruit bright, recently graduated MBAs to join the firm,”
Romney recalls in his book, No Apology. “We were a cutting-edge company, we paid high
salaries, and we usually landed the cream of the crop.”

Edward Conard, a partner at Bain Capital from 1993 to 1997 and the author of Unintended
Consequences, tells NRO that Romney’s effectiveness was sharpened by his relationships with
the rising-star consultants he recruited, so he is not surprised to see Romney form a bond with
the analytical Ryan. Romney may not have been an overly warm figure in the office, he says,
but he was clearly drawn to uber-competent thinkers.

“I saw it firsthand,” Conard says. “Romney challenged us to challenge each other, and he was
never afraid to ask tough questions, or answer them. He surrounded himself with the sharpest,
most talented guys and ran the place like a consulting firm, where employees were expected to
create value, to do their homework, and present proposals rooted in facts. In Ryan, you see that
kind of politician; he’s not slinging bull.”

Inside Romney’s Boston headquarters, aspects of the Bain Way have seeped into the campaign
effort. Spencer Zwick, a 32-year-old private-equity investor, who was dubbed Romney’s “sixth
son” by Politico, runs Romney’s finance team. Bob White, a mid-fifties former Bain Capital
partner, is one of Romney’s closest advisers, and a frequent presence at Romney’s side.

“Bob White is an important adviser, and he has known the governor since the early days at
Bain,” says Ron Kaufman, a Romney strategist and former White House political director. “While
they’re not the entire campaign, people like Spencer and Bob come out of the business world,
know the governor very well, and have perspectives and skills that are valued.”

A number of Romney sources say Romney runs his campaign “horizontally,” with advisers
working on specific projects, and Romney the obvious overseer of the enterprise. This approach
is similar to how Bain Capital was run, with a tight-knit group of senior partners reporting directly
to the chief executive, presenting him with various options.

These days, many of Romney’s top political advisers are youthful Republican whiz kids, such as
Lanhee Chen, the policy director, who holds four degrees from Harvard, and Alex Wong,
another Harvard-trained policy guru.
At Bain, “[Romney] searched for partners who fit his comfort zone,” Kranish and Helman write.
Chen and Wong fit that mold, as does Ryan, who is part of a kitchen cabinet of business leaders
and policy experts who talk regularly with Romney.

“We’re very much inclined in the same direction,” Romney told NRO in March. “We [have
spoken] together about my plans on Medicare, for instance, and ultimately the Wyden-Ryan bill
is very similar, if not identical, to what I proposed some time ago. We all have ideas about what
should be done with Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security — and we’re on the same page.”

According to Romney insiders, Romney deeply appreciated Ryan’s willingness to privately
share his critique of the campaign during the heated Republican primary, where Romney often
struggled to make his case. As he watched from afar, long before he endorsed, Ryan drafted a
series of detailed strategy and policy advisories, and discussed them with Romney over the
phone. For Romney, those corporate-style memos made a lasting impression — and catapulted
Ryan into Romney’s circle, where he has remained since.

“Both men are intelligent and very empirically minded, driven by facts,” says Peter Wehner, a
friend of Ryan’s and a former Bush and Reagan administration official. “When he looks at Ryan,
Romney probably sees somebody like himself, a person he’d want at his side in the business
world or the political world. They approach complicated problems the same way.”

Since Romney’s veep search has been hush-hush, no one knows whether Ryan’s budding
alliance with Romney will put him on the Republican ticket. But if Romney’s personnel practices
— at Bain and on the campaign trail — are any indication, it would make sense that Ryan is a
leading candidate for the job.

On the other hand, Bain Capital isn’t always going to translate into the political world. “Who
Romney hired at Bain and who he picks for vice president are two very different things,” Murphy
says. “Romney may want more of a political operative to be V.P., since the position isn’t about
being a policy star, which is Ryan’s strength, but going to a lot of state funerals, et cetera.”

Still, Murphy concedes, “the Bain analogy fits here, because Ryan has connected with
Romney,” personally, politically, and as savvy wonks. And at the eleventh hour of the selection
process, that kind of relationship, a type Romney has cultivated for years, could tip the veep
scales in the congressman’s favor.



WSJ
Secretive Wooing of Ryan Involved Backdoor Exits
by Sara Murray

DULLES, Va. -- The day before Rep. Paul Ryan was introduced as Mitt Romney's running mate,
he surreptitiously walked through his backyard in Janesville, Wisc., and was smuggled, with the
help of a congressional aide and a 19-year-old, to a Fairfield Inn in North Carolina.

"We wanted to try to do this very quietly and looked at maps and put it together," said Beth
Myers, the woman who coordinated Mr. Romney's pick, recounting the tale in an airport hangar
here after Mr. Ryan of Wisconsin had been named as the Republican running mate and Kid
Rock's "Born Free" had been blasted at Romney-Ryan rallies Saturday across Virginia.

She mostly got her wish. Even though plenty of aides had been briefed on the vice presidential
pick -- foreign policy adviser Dan Senor, senior adviser Ed Gillespie, chief strategist Stuart
Stevens, campaign manager Matt Rhoades and longtime friend Bob White, among others-- the
news stayed under wraps until just hours before the official announcement.

Ms. Myers gleefully unraveled the events of the weekend, explaining how Mr. Ryan stole past
his childhood treehouse in an a quiet escape from Janesville Friday and ultimately landed in
front the U.S.S. Wisconsin in Norfolk Saturday morning, where he was announced as joining the
the 2012 Republican ticket.

Getting to the moment of the surprise announcement was a long and tortured process.

Ms. Myers was named the head of the search process in April, when she and Mr. Romney had
pulled together a broad list of vice presidential possibilities. By May, she had turned to former
Vice President Dick Cheney and former Secretary of State James Baker for advice. And she
and Mr. Romney whittled the list down to a much shorter version. How many, she still won't say.

Mr. Romney called everyone on the short list and asked if they wanted to be considered, while
Ms. Myers brought in a handful of volunteer attorneys to help dig through their pasts. She
requested "several" years of tax returns, but wouldn't disclose how many.

"We locked the materials in an individual safe each day," in a secure room in the campaign's
Boston headquarters, she said. "No copies of the materials were ever made."

During a fundraising retreat in Utah in June, Ms. Myers met with some of the prospective
candidates to clarify questions that had arisen during the vetting process.

On Aug. 1, Mr. Romney met with Ms. Myers and told her he'd decided on the Wisconsin
congressman, who was best known for his controversial budget plan. He called Mr. Ryan and
arranged to meet the following Sunday, Aug. 5.

"By the time we met in person, I kind of knew it was going to happen," Mr. Ryan said on the
Romney campaign charter plane Saturday evening.

He donned casual clothes at the request of the campaign -- jeans, a baseball cap and
sunglasses -- and flew from Chicago to Hartford, Conn.

"We gave a lot of thought on how to make this work undetected, and we sent my 19-year-old
son to pick him up," Ms. Myers said. And so, Curt Myers picked up the soon-to-be running mate
in a rented SUV and shepherded him into the garage at the Myers's Brookline, Mass.-home.

Mr. Romney traveled from his vacation home in Wolfeboro, N.H., and he and Mr. Ryan had a
private conversation for more than an hour in Ms. Myers' dining room.

"We talked about the campaign and how it would be run," Mr. Romney said Saturday, and the
impact this would have on their families.
By the time the two left the dining room, they had agreed it was a match, though Mr. Romney is
still cagey about what swayed him in making his choice.

"He's a great guy," Mr. Romney told reporters Saturday evening about Mr. Ryan, but "that's a
big topic."

The challenge of shuttling Mr. Ryan to an announcement site without tipping off the press was
still to come.

After Mr. Ryan on Friday attended a memorial service for victims of a shooting at a Sikh temple
in Oak Creek, his chief of staff, Andy Speth, dropped the congressman off at his Janesville
home.

Mr. Ryan walked in the front door and out the back, ducking through the woods and past his
childhood tree fort before emerging at a nearby driveway, where Mr. Speth swooped him back
up.

"It's not a really big woods," Mr. Ryan said, downplaying the cloak-and-dagger nature of the
whole affair. "It's like 300 yards."

He was deposited on a charter plane bound for Elizabeth City, N.C., where Ms. Myers's son was
among those waiting for him. At the same time, Mr. Romney prepared to notify other potential
running mates on his list that their bids had fallen short.

There was one exception: Mr. Romney notified former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, arguably
Mr. Romney's most dogged surrogate, days earlier, on Monday. On Friday Mr. Romney set
about making the rest of his calls.

"You don't want people to be disappointed and angry about how they are told," said Steve
Schmidt, the senior campaign strategist to John McCain's 2008 campaign. "They almost
inevitably are."

Mr. Portman received a phone call around 7:30 p.m. but missed it, because he was speaking at
the opening ceremonies for a bike race fundraiser, according to someone familiar with the
conversation. He eventually connected with Mr. Romney later in the evening. New Jersey Gov.
Chris Christie also received a call Friday evening saying the pick would be announced Saturday
-- and that it wasn't him, according to one of Mr. Christie's advisers.

Mr. Ryan, meanwhile, spent his last night as a not-yet vice presidential candidate dining on
Applebee's take-out, retrieved by Ms. Myers's son, at the Elizabeth City Fairfield Inn. He was
joined by his family and campaign aides, including Ms. Myers.

Around 11 p.m. the Romney campaign blasted out a press release saying Mr. Romney would
unveil his running mate the following day.

As for Ms. Myers, " I turned off my phone."

								
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