Paul Ryan Is a Good Man, but Not a Game Changer

Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan
Republican U.S. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney (L) introduces U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) as his vice-presidential running mate during a campaign event at the retired battleship USS Wisconsin in Norfolk, Va., Saturday (Reuters/Jason Reed)

In choosing House Budget Committee Chairman Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate, former Gov. Mitt Romney has made a good choice, and it shows that Romney has his eye on one of the most important issues in this election: Washington's out-of-control spending. However, Ryan is not the bold conservative leader or boat rocker grass-roots conservatives and Tea Partiers were hoping for.

Ryan is a good man, a strong family man and one who by all appearances lives according to conservative principles; he will help reassure social conservatives that Republicans stand for traditional values.

While Ryan gets a lot of credit among fiscal conservatives for having the gumption to propose a plan to balance the budget, his plan takes 28 years to do so. It is hardly the kind of radical change in Washington's culture of spend, borrow and tax that Democrats make it out to be, and conservatives think is required to save our country from bankruptcy.

But the Ryan plan is a start, and if Romney and Ryan are elected—and get a Republican majority in the House and Senate—a bolder budget plan building on Ryan's work might yet emerge from a Romney/Ryan administration.

To lock up the support of those 4 million independents and right-of-center voters who walked away from the Republicans in 2006, but came back in the Tea Party wave in 2010, Romney needed to make a bold choice. Ryan is a good choice, but not a bold choice.

In selecting Ryan, Romney has chosen a running mate who has many small government constitutional instincts, but who has not set about translating those instincts into the bold action conservatives have been looking for.

However, Ryan knows Obama's spending problem better than anyone. If in choosing Ryan as his running mate Romney is signaling that he plans to make Obama's spending, deficits and debt a centerpiece of his campaign, then his selection is a good sign to conservatives that the campaign is headed in the right direction.

Richard A. Viguerie is the chairman of ConservativeHQ.com and author of Conservatives Betrayed: How George W. Bush and Other Big Government Republicans Hijacked the Conservative Cause.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of Richard A. Viguerie and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charisma editorial staff.


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