Mitt Romney’s pick for vice-president is House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan. Ryan, 42, is a Republican congressman from Wisconsin primarily known as a conservative Catholic whose proposed budget gained attention as a serious solution – which severely and rightly cut government spending – to the nation’s urgent fiscal crisis. While he is regarded by the mainstream media as a pure Tea Party activist type, he is also known as something of a me-too Republican who, lacking a moral defense of capitalism, buckles in support of the welfare state. Ryan may default to actively mixing religion and government. For example, though he had previously spoken highly of Ayn Rand, who offered egoism as the moral basis of individual rights, he gave an interview to National Review in April in which he rejected Objectivism, declaring: “[Give] me Thomas Aquinas. Don’t give me Ayn Rand.”
As an influence on the U.S. executive branch, Catholic philosopher Aquinas is better than the nihilism dominating the White House under Barack Obama, who is rapidly ruining the country. Still, as with Mitt Romney, whom I’ve denounced for creating the precursor to ObamaCare for several years, those of us inclined to support Romney/Ryan as – and because it is – the ticket which is not Obama/Biden, should know what Rep. Paul Ryan stands for (I reviewed his televised response to the 2011 State of the Union here). Like his running mate, he is a religious conservative with a track record of saying and doing anything to get elected. But that describes most of today’s opponents to Obama and at least Congressman Ryan brings serious ideas to the arena for serious debate, as Mr. Romney wisely designated as his selection criteria in advance, at one of the most crucial moments in our nation’s short history.
As political theater, Ryan’s a good choice. He comes from Wisconsin, where the Republican Party was founded as a political party passionately opposed on principle to the Democratic Party and its unyielding support for slavery. Wisconsin is where the Republican governor recently took on government regulations favoring unions and won, twice, the second time by a wider margin than the first. And Wisconsin’s Republicans are known not for their advocacy of Big Religious Government, though Ryan served under Christian fundamentalist Sen. Sam Brownback, as they are for arguing for a limited role for government. Wisconsin is a beautiful state – America’s dairyland – across the lake from Romney’s home state of Michigan. In marketing terms, Romney/Ryan gives the impression of a potentially sober, realistic, middle class-friendly, pro-capitalist, Midwestern team ready to create solutions to the nation’s deepest economic problems. They do not represent anything close to a moral opposition to the catastrophically New Left Obama presidency, which was born of the disastrous Bush presidency; they’re the only opposition we’ve got. Yes, the Republican ticket could be better. But Mitt Romney’s pick could have been worse and the alternative is a dishonest president hellbent on destroying the United States.