The Great Debate©: Is Ryan a Good VP Choice?

Written by John Lounsbury and Fabius Maximus

The Support for Paul Ryan

by John Lounsbury

As editor of GEI I do not want to make this part of the debate about my political ideas and preferences. Therefore this side of the argument is a collection of material that is fully in support of Mitt Romney’s choice and/or substantially summarizes the facts surrounding the selection Of Rep. Paul  Ryan without negative opinionated bias.

What better way to start the pro-Ryan presentation than by watching the Romney speech announcing the selection this morning (11 August 2012).  If there was any doubt that Ryan was going to be the announced selection, it was removed when the announcement was scheduled to be made dockside to the USS Wisconsin, named after Ryan’s home state.

Another important video to watch is Paul Ryan speaking for himself about his background.

An article written by The CNN Political Unit said the nomination was a bold and risky move that would energize both sides in the campaign:

Ryan is a rising Republican star and the party’s leader on fiscal and budget issues. He is the architect of a Republican spending plan that would overhaul many entitlement programs, making him a favorite of conservatives, whose support for Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has been shaky.

Statements from Romney supporters found in the press are ubiquitous in their praise:

From CNN:

Accolades poured in from Republicans. In a statement, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell called Ryan, the House budget chairman, “a confirmation that Gov. Romney is serious about strengthening America’s economic future, tackling the deficits and debt that have skyrocketed under President Obama, and returning to a path to solvency and security.”


[Presumed final short-list member former Minnesota Gov. Tim] Pawlenty, in New Hampshire, called Ryan “a respected leader and a bold thinker regarding the changes needed to restore America.”


Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said the new teammates “have the knowledge, expertise and vision we need to get America working again and get our fiscal house in order.”


“Congressman Paul Ryan is an outstanding choice as our country’s next vice president, and today’s announcement demonstrates Governor Romney’s commitment to returning fiscal sanity back to Washington, DC.,” said former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who mounted the strongest conservative challenge to Romney’s campaign in the Republican primaries. “I have long supported Paul Ryan’s fiscal and entitlement reforms to return our country back on a path of fiscal health.”

From Reuters (via Yahoo)

Republican strategist Juleanna Glover acknowledged that Obama’s campaign will bash the Ryan budget plan but said that “this gives Romney something no amount of ads have been able to do – the ability to stand for something. The greatest handicap in his political career has been erased.”


South Carolina-based Republican strategist Adam Temple said the Ryan choice suggests Romney is thinking beyond November.

“Any choice Mitt Romney had to make carried risks, but the reward is greater in this case. Paul Ryanhas a clear understanding of the economy and how to improve it, one of Mitt Romney’s top priorities, and they both have demonstrated chemistry on the campaign trail,” he said.


“This is excellent news,” said Joanne Terry, a Tea Party organizer in Ozaukee County, north of Milwaukee. “I’m excited. I’m in tears.”

She said she waffled for a “long time” as to which Republican candidate to back.

“Weighing the options, he (Romney) was the best, but now with Ryan, he is definitely the best,” said Terry, who lives in Mequon.

More excerpts from another Reuters article (also via Yahoo):

“Governor Mitt Romney made a bold and reform-minded selection in Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. This election has to be about who is going to look out for the next generation. America needs a comeback team to turn around the economy and to turn around the fiscal status of our country. Romney and Ryan have the ideas and the experience needed to take on these core issues. This is a great day for Wisconsin and an even greater day for America.”  Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.


“Like Governor Romney, Congressman Ryan understands that government doesn’t create jobs, people do, and that the best way to create jobs is to get government out of the way. I’m confident that Congressman Ryan will be a great partner for Governor Romney in getting America back to work.”  Florida Governor Rick Scott.

“Tea Party Patriots welcomes the selection of Paul Ryan as the vice-presidential running mate forGovernor Mitt Romney. With this selection, Governor Romney and the Republican Party make it clear that they have accepted the Tea Party Patriots’ values of fiscal responsibility, limited government and free markets as the best course of action for economic recovery and restoring personal freedom and individual responsibility to our national values.”  Tea Party Patriots, a conservative advocacy group.


“Mitt Romney has made a great choice in Paul Ryan. He is an accomplished public servant and a leading voice on the most pressing issues facing our country. Paul is one of my best friends in Congress and someone I have worked closely with as a former colleague on the House Ways and Means Committee.”  U.S. Senator Rob Portman, Ohio, generally considered to have been on Gov. Romney’s short list of finalists for the VP nod.


“Paul is a good friend and one of the smartest guys I served with in Congress. He has the courage of his convictions, which is what our nation needs.”  Louisiana Governor Bobby Jinda, considered to have been one of those considered for the VP slot before the final short list was selected.

In a very objective Op Ed, Princeton history and public affairs professor Julian Zeitzer discusses how Ryan could help the Romney campaign.   Zeitzer uses many historical examples to illustrate his opinion.

In an article at The Daily Beast, Rich Galen explains why he thinks Paul Ryan is a very good choice.

John Dickerson writing in Slate gives very strong arguments why he thinks Ryan is a strong pick.  From his article:

The Ryan pick is thrilling.

Other articles in Slate also explain the positives for the ticket with Ryan as VP.  See David Weigel and William Saletan.

In the New York Times, pollster and statistical whiz Nate Silver said that recent poll results and continuing electoral college projections have indicated that Romney needed a game changer to improve his position in the race.  In this case the game changer may be quite positive because the game may change from the name calling that has ensued to at least one issue being mentioned:  fiscal policy.

# # #

In Opposition to Paul Ryan

by Fabius Maximus

Summary: Let’s consider the significance of VP Paul Ryan.  My conclusion: it makes little difference.  In our system the key decisions were made during the primaries, especially during the earliest months — when few paid attention.

This is America in the 21st century, irony ascendant.  Ryan is chairman of the House Budget Committee — the House being the senior chamber on money bills — with his primary distinction being his inability to craft a plan that adds up. Or remotely matches GOP priorities, or any rational sense of national priorities.

In this respect Ryan matches his running mate, whose economic proposals are ruining the reputations of the experts who signed them.

The saddest aspect of this pair of charlatans is that they’ll be treated as serious statesman — obsequiously so — by the legion of journalist-stenographers who will dog their footsteps until November.

No, that’s wrong.  The saddest aspect of this is that it marks the second time the GOP has nominated a team woefully unqualified for the Presidency. The elderly crank and his Alaskan fruitcake VP.  And now the innumeracy twins. All living proof that our political system broke years ago, and we didn’t notice.

But half of America will love them, applauding their every word. Just as the Democrats will applaud Mr. Hope And Change, despite that he broke most of his 2008 campaign pledges — and their hearts. It’s all about tribes today.  Who we are (or pretend to be), rather than policies.

Now for the good news:

It might not matter much difference who wins. Our candidates are much like our beers, indistinguishable in blind taste tests.

Obama’s economic and foreign policy largely continued those of Bush Jr. If elected, Romney probably will continue most of Obama’s policies.  Both are servants of the ruling elites in America, running America while we doze before our TVs.  That gives the system continuity and stability unappreciated by its critics.

The much discussed bitter polarization exists in rhetoric only, disguising the lack of substantive policy differences. Since they plan to do similar thing, their marketing pros turn up the volume. My candidate is an reforming angel of God; your’s is Hitler-Satan.

Now you can skip the rest of the campaign, except as entertainment (it’s primary function).

For more information

The posts from the 2008 election could have the names changed and be run again.

About Romney

About Ryan

About Obama

For all posts see the FM Reference Page about Obama, his administration and policies.

  1. Obama’s national security team: I hope you didn’t really believe in change?, 26 November 2008
  2. Obama supporters mugged by reality (and learn not to believe in change!), 9 December 2008
  3. Change you should not have believed in, 10 February 2009
  4. Obama knows how to lead America by exploiting our fears, 5 June 2009 — A key skill for 21st C Presidents
  5. Stratfor looks at Obama’s foreign policy, sees Bush’s foreign policy, 30 August 2009
  6. Motto for the Obama administration: “The more things change, …”, 5 September 2009
  7. Change, the promise and the reality, 11 October 2009

About elections (in general)

  1. Lilliput or America – who has a better way to choose its leaders?, 19 November 2008
  2. About campaigns for high office in America – we always expect a better result from the same process, 17 June 2009
  3. Why do awesome people – like us – have such inadequate leaders?, 2 April 2012 — Because we vote.

The important posts about our political system

  1. How long will all American Presidents be War Presidents?, 21 March 2008 — The 7th year since 9/11, with the only debate about the Long War being what nations America should fight. We see this even the speeches of the most “liberal” candidate, Senator Obama
  2. These days all American Presidents are War Presidents (part 2), 13 September 2008
  3. These days all US Presidents are War Presidents (part 3), 23 November 2008
  4. About Obama’s coronation – wisdom from Fred, 23 January 2009
  5. Our leaders have made a discovery of the sort that changes the destiny of nations, 1 September 2010
  6. We have the leaders we deserve. Visit McDonald’s to learn why., 30 October 2010
  7. The good news: America’s politics are neither polarized nor dysfunctional. That’s also the bad news., 16 November 2011

5 replies on “The Great Debate©: Is Ryan a Good VP Choice?”

  1. Well, now that you’ve given equal space to Mr. “I’m for whatever you’re for,” and Mr. “Let’s starve the economy to feed the government, on behalf of the 1%,”and President “Lots of hope, but no real change,” how about equal space to someone who will tell the truth:

    1. The misnamed “deficit” is how the economy gets its money, and equals net personal saving.
    2. The misnamed “debt” is just the total investment in Treasury Securities, and has no effect on GDP growth.
    3. Cutting the “deficit” (i.e personal saving) starves the economy to feed the government, and the government doesn’t need feeding.
    4. Cutting the “deficit” (i.e personal saving) increases the income gap between the 1% and the 99%.
    5. Cutting the “deficit” (i.e personal saving) is another name for austerity, which always destroys an economy.

    So, if you earn less than $250K per year and/or care what happens to the 99%, you should vote for “Lots of hope, but no real change.”

    But if you are wealthy, and don’t give a hoot about the 99%, vote for “I’m for whatever you’re for,” and “Let’s starve the economy to feed the government, on behalf of the 1%.”

    Simple choice.

  2. Good article but I’d sure like to see Rodger Mitchell expand on his “novel” concepts of debt and deficit and how they are respectively are “of no consequence to GDP” and “….equal to net personal savings”. This seems akin to saying that “helicopter drops of greenbacks” is good for the economy. In 40+ years of reading about markets and economies, this is the first time I have been so “enlightened”. Somehow these ideas seem a bit reminiscent of recent Paul Krugman utterings which I find equally baffling.

  3. ?? are you saying that non-orthodox views in economics have been banned or ostracized incredibly effectively?

    In 40 years, how could you never have read Marriner Eccles, Wynne Godley, Gardner Ackley, Farley Grubb, Beardsley Ruml, William Vickrey, Robert Eisner, Marc Lavoie, Abba Lerner, David Colander, Richard L Owen … let alone long time monetary operations authors like RM Mitchell, Bill Mitchell, Warren Mosler & Randy Wray?

    If you’re ignorant of a few key things, it’s your problem. If you’re ignorant about half or more of everything in your field … then it’s your country’s problem!

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