As I write this Friday night MSNBC reports three reliable sources saying Paul Ryan is the VP pick for Romney. CNN is being more cautious in their reporting. Fox is hedging its bets also.
I’ll update this post tomorrow morning after Romney announces his running mate at 8:45 am EDT.
MSNBC got it right and this morning at about 9:15 Eastern time, Mitt Romney announced Paul Ryan as his Vice Presidential running mate. Upon his introduction, Ryan came bounding down the stairs of the USS Wisconsin (now a museum), the picture of vigor and vitality. He looked genuinely thrilled to be there. In fact, unlike his benefactor, Ryan looked genuine all the way around. Not a false note in body language nor delivery. His speech had just the right balance of gravity, optimism and pride of country.
Debt, Doubt and Despair
I love it when politicians (or their speech writers) find these neat alliterative phrases to capture the moment. There is no arguing with the debt part of the equation. There can also be little doubt that a good portion of the country is filled with doubt and despair. After Ryan’s speech, I played Obama’s introduction of Biden four years ago and I could not help but feel a bit sad. Ryan’s description of our country is not far from the truth and no one who believed in Barack Obama four years ago could have imagined that debt, doubt and despair could remotely describe our country in 2012.
We promise equal opportunity, not equal outcomes
Right when Ryan’s just about got you by the throat and you’re ready to say “dammit, I’m tired of waiting for a recovery, it’s time for a change”, he tosses out that well worn conservative cop-out for keeping the poor, poor and the rich, rich. When Ryan says America promises equal opportunities, someone needs to ask him does America make good on that promise? The implicit message of Ryan is that there is an equal playing field and the outcomes are not equal by virtue of inadequacies in those who do not make it. It’s that old Herman Cain chestnut “if you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself.” Obviously self-reliance is a great virtue but what the liberal sees that the conservative fails to see is that there are systemic societal forces that interfere with self-reliance. There are many no-opportunity-zones in this country where there is little hope of escaping poverty.
I will be more impressed with Paul Ryan when he tells me how he is going to make good on that promise of equal opportunity. Once he and Mitt implement that plan, and opportunities really become equal, then I can make peace with the lack of equal outcomes.
Photo by United States Congress [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons