Mitt Romney joins me at 10:40... Senator Ron Johnson at 10:07.. and (yes) The Donald (Trump) at 9:35...
Some links to get you in the mood:
Johnson acknowledges that he doesn’t have operatives to offer Romney’s sprawling Wisconsin campaign, but he still carries significant weight with conservative activists, who two years ago lifted Johnson from obscurity during a contested party convention. In a state where Republicans constantly battle for power, he says, endorsements matter, so he wanted to weigh in.
If Romney wins, as he’s expected to do, the question will be his margin.
“Is he going to get double-digits?” said Charlie Sykes, a well-known and highly-influential conservative radio host in Wisconsin.
With support from Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Ron Johnson, Romney has, he noted, “the entire conservative infrastructure of the state…that ought to be very influential with the primary voters.”
Romney also enjoys as “favorable a climate among conservatives as he could have had there,” Sykes said, given what he described as the “pragmatic, principled conservative electorate” within the base — as well as a lack of any real “Stop Romney” movement on state talk radio
Which delivers us, inexorably, to the best and most fact-driven running mate choice for Mitt Romney: House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. There are strong reasons for this conclusion, each of which justify the choice. When taken together, the case for Ryan appears too compelling to avoid.
The first reason for Ryan to be on Romney's ticket is that the Ryan Budget will be a major issue in the campaign regardless of who Romney's running mate is. Who better to defend it -- clearly and strongly -- and attack Obama's reckless, feckless spending than its author? Ryan, as The Almanac of American Politicssays, is "…regarded as an intellectual leader in the GOP for his unrivaled influence on fiscal matters." And he uses that influence courageously, taking on the whole budget mess from taxes to the Medicare entitlement program in a way that is both fiscally responsible and reasonable.
The Ryan Budget cuts the deficit, reforms Medicare, and includes a whole host of tax reductions resulting in a balanced budget by 2040, which is too far in the future to satisfy those of us who want to roll back Obama's spending spree. But it has the advantage of being more likely to be achieved.
After the House passed Ryan's budget, White House flak Jay Carney issued a statement characterizing it as Republican action to "… shower millionaires and billionaires with a massive tax cut paid for by ending Medicare as we know it and making extremely deep cuts to critical programs needed to create jobs and strengthen the middle class." Which is false, and exactly what you'd expect from Obama's White House.
The calumnies are coming thick and fast. Obama said of the Ryan Budget, "I will not allow Medicare to become a voucher program," which Ryan's plan doesn't make it. The hyperliberal New York Times called the Ryan Budget "cruel," insisting it would "leave millions of struggling American families desperate for food, shelter and health care." That it would do none of those things is of no matter to the Dems or the Times.
Romney's business credentials are strong, but his economic policy pronouncements -- as good as they are -- are a lackluster list of tax cuts and a bit more. In the day-to-day windsprints through the primaries, Romney hasn't taken the time to explain them. He will be busy doing that during the post-nomination campaign and trying to draw contrasts with Obama. Now that Romney has endorsed Ryan's plan, Ryan can be an enormous help.
The second big reason for Ryan to be the choice is that he's more than up to the task. If you listened to Paul Ryan three or four years ago, his intelligence and command of the issues were clear but he was less so. The man used to talk as if he were reading a spreadsheet. In the succeeding years, as House Budget Chairman, he's become used to the national spotlight and seems comfortable speaking in terms people use at their kitchen table. He's likeable, young (at 42, only two years older than Rubio), and will be good at the convention and on the stump. He can speak to younger voters in terms they'll identify with: this is your money Obama is spending, folks, and if you elect us we'll make sure you can keep it and enjoy a better life than your parents have had.