This may or may not turn out to be Veep Week for Mitt Romney and the GOP, but at least one leading conservative pundit feels the need to push back against the growing GOP chattering-class pressure for the “bold” choice of Rep. Paul Ryan. Here’s the Washington Examiner‘s Byron York:
In the last few days, there’s been new talk about Paul Ryan in the who’s-in-who’s-out game of speculation over Mitt Romney’s vice presidential pick. The speculation is striking, because of the four candidates mentioned most often — Ryan, Rob Portman, Marco Rubio, and Tim Pawlenty — Ryan is the choice that would fundamentally change the direction of the Romney campaign. How? By instantly elevating the Ryan budget plan to the top of the Romney agenda. Whether that change would be to Romney’s liking is very much an open question.
York goes on to richly document Romney’s wariness about identifying himself with the Ryan Budget’s philosophy of boosting the deficit via tax cuts and then trying to reducing it via destruction of the Great Society programs, notably Medicare. Yes, Romney is committed to support of the Ryan Budget, and anyone paying close attention knows that its immediate implementation utilizing the budget reconciliation shortcut would become the maximum demand of the entire conservative movement if November 6 produces a Republican-controlled Congress and White House. But Mitt doesn’t want to talk about it:
Of course, Democrats are going to bash Romney on spending cuts and Medicare reform regardless of what he does. Since that is inevitable, say Ryan supporters, why not put the plan’s most articulate defender, Paul Ryan himself, on the ticket? One reason would be that Mitt Romney has shown no inclination to make the Ryan plan the centerpiece of his campaign. Perhaps that’s what he’s planning — perhaps he planned all along to run on jobs until mid-August, only to pivot to entitlement reform for the rest of the campaign. But that’s not likely.
Translation: having prevaricated relentlessly about his agenda up until now, why would Romney want to start telling the truth at this late date? It’s a very good question, and that’s why even though most progressives are as excited about the idea of a Romney-Ryan ticket as anybody on the Right, it would be a shock if it actually happened.