Ryan's hope

The addition of U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin to the Republican presidential ticket lays the groundwork for a serious discussion of important issues.

Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney over the weekend injected a considerable measure of seriousness into a presidential campaign so far notable for its lack of that quality by selecting Wisconsin U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate.

The 42-year-old Ryan — a Catholic, a Green Bay Packers fan and a father of young children — is best known in Washington, D.C., as chairman of the U.S. House Budget Committee, a serious student of public policy and somewhat of a Boy Scout. He also has a reputation as a genial straight shooter who focuses on substance and makes it a point not to engage in personal political attacks.

In other words, what Ryan specializes in — honest discussion of issues — is exactly what this campaign has been lacking. He may not be entirely successful in changing the tone of the political back-and-forth, but it won't be for lack of trying.

It's been rumored for weeks that Romney would not wait for the Republican Party convention scheduled to be held in two weeks before choosing a running mate. He made that prediction come true over the weekend, choosing Ryan from among a number of prominent contenders.

In response, Democrats claim to be salivating over the opportunity to attack Ryan, focusing on Ryan's complicated budget-reduction proposals as well as his prescription for addressing Medicare's serious financial challenges.

Voters (and Republicans) ought to welcome this promised debate. These are important issues, and they deserve a thorough airing in this campaign.

Indeed, it's far better for the country to have the Democrats initiate an honest debate with Romney and Ryan about the financial challenges we face than continue the same bizarre attacks (Romney is a killer. Romney is a felon. Romney doesn't pay taxes. Romney's wife has a horse.) that they have launched against Romney. Unfortunately, Republicans have responded in kind with a series of withering assaults on Obama's record.

The public is ill-served by the kind of politically deceitful radio and TV advertisements we've seen so far. It's a mystery why anyone would believe such incredible tripe, but both political parties use these ads because they work.

However, they don't always work, and Ryan is an example of one politico who has survived this kind of demonization in the past without responding in kind.

Past anti-Ryan Democratic TV advertisements have actually featured a character identified as Ryan throwing a helpless grandmother off a cliff. That was the Democrats' idea of a reasoned discussion of Medicare-related issues. It didn't work not just because it wasn't true but because Ryan was willing and able to explain to voters' satisfaction why it wasn't true.

It's no secret that President Barack Obama's political advisers are placing their re-election hopes on waging a relentlessly negative campaign against Romney and now Ryan. As politics goes, that's not a bad strategy. It's intended to keep the focus off the incumbent's inability to get the economy out of the doldrums.

But the public deserves better than a war of 30-second TV and radio ads. It's our hope and expectation that Ryan will play a major role in seeing that the public gets the kind of substantive discussion so vital to the democratic process.

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pattsi wrote on August 14, 2012 at 11:08 am

Paul Ryan talks about how he would revamp social security. The following is an exerpt from his wikepedia page, which may or may not be accurate.

"Ryan was born and raised in Janesville, Wisconsin, the youngest of four children of Elizabeth A. "Betty" (née Hutter) and Paul Murray Ryan, a lawyer.[6][7][8] He is a fifth generation Wisconsinite.[6][9] His father was of Irish ancestry and his mother is of German and some English descent.[10] His great-grandfather, Patrick William Ryan (1858–1917), founded the Ryan Incorporated Central construction business in 1884.[11][12][13] Ryan's grandfather was appointed U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin by President Calvin Coolidge.

......When Ryan was 16, his father died of a heart attack in bed and Ryan found him there............His father’s death provided Ryan with Social Security benefits until his 18th birthday, which he saved to pay for his education at Miami University of Ohio.[15][16]"

EL YATIRI wrote on August 15, 2012 at 5:08 am
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Thanks for this info.

Typical hypocrite who got help from the government when his dad died and he was needy, but now acts like doing so is disgraceful.

read the DI wrote on August 14, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Nice how the N-G "compares" the lies spewed by the Romney campaign with the treatment of the presumptive nominee by the Democrats: The latter are called "bizarre attacks" and detailed and mocked, while the former are "withering assaults," with no suggestion that they are incorrect.

 

Let's look at Paul Ryan, shall we? He, through his wife's inheritance, is a multimillionaire at age 40. He has never worked outside of government. He has never had to earn a salary in order to eat. He has no foreign policy experience, and has never even been to Asia. He has no math or economics experience, yet is seen as a budget master (how's that again?). He is a proponent of Americans as some sort of master race, which is not only preposterous and insulting to citizens abroad, but it's scarily reminiscint of the worst aspects of the KKK and other neo-conservative organizations. Oh, and he's 42 years old. Remember those "withering assualts" the GOP laid on President Obama for being too young when he ran -- and he was 47 when elected. As Hank Hill would say, "That boy ain't right."

 

Sid Saltfork wrote on August 14, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Do you think that the News Gazette is partisan in politics?  Do you think that the media serves the citizens best interests when it is non-partisan?  The least partisan political news source in the area is the PBS Newshour on WILL at 6:00 p.m. Monday thru Friday.  I encourage you to watch it for a balanced perspective.  Right now, this country desperately needs a balanced perspective in the media.  Something between the Left, and the Right.

EL YATIRI wrote on August 15, 2012 at 5:08 am
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I loved how they had him coming out of a gunboat to announce his nomination.

Sid Saltfork wrote on August 15, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Yes; what did the historic naval vessel have to do with the nomination?  None of the four candidates are veterans.  Obama did not serve.  Romney hid out in France during the Vietnam War.  Biden took student deferments.  Ryan did not service in any of the Gulf Wars.  What was the need for a naval vessel backdrop?  Oh.....  it was cheesy patriotism at it's worst.