Paul Ryan gave a very good account of himself in his speech at the convention last night. He was a little nervous at the start, but quickly warmed to the task in a 37 minute barnburner of an address.
New York Times:
"A Romney-Ryan administration will protect and strengthen Medicare, for my mom's generation, for my generation, and for my kids and yours," he said. "So our opponents can consider themselves on notice. In this election, on this issue, the usual posturing on the left isn't going to work. Mitt Romney and I know the difference between protecting a program and raiding it." Mr. Ryan's final line - which included the declaration "We can make the safety net safe again" - brought a cheer resembling something like a last-minute goal in overtime of a championship game.
The night gave the first real answer about what sort of wingman Mr. Ryan will be for Mr. Romney. He showed that he was more than willing to go after Mr. Obama, using a mocking tone often laced with humor.
"College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life," he said midway through his speech," eliciting laughter and delighted applause.
But he also showed that he would serve as a steadfast advocate for Mr. Romney, pivoting between the two messages.
"He helped start businesses and turn around failing ones," Mr. Ryan said of Mr. Romney. "By the way, being successful in business - that's a good thing."
"We can do this" and "We can get this done" have been a mantra spoken by all the major GOP speakers over the last two nights. The Romney campaign is seeking to overcome the inertia caused by a skeptical America that polls show doesn't believe either candidate can fix things.
Obama is banking on this skepticism; Romney needs to alter that dynamic -- not just during the campaign but if he takes office as well. The Obama administration hasn't exactly killed optimism, but America this summer has been subdued and fatalistic having been extremely disappointed in Mr. Obama's presidency which began with high expectations and much hope. Ryan very effectively took Obama to task for his failures:
Obamacare, as much as anything else, explains why a
presidency that began with such anticipation now comes to such a
disappointing close. It began with a financial crisis. It ends
with a job crisis. It began with a housing crisis they alone
didn't cause. It ends with a housing crisis they didn't
It began with a perfect AAA credit rating for the United
States. It ends with the downgraded America . It all started
off with stirring speeches, Greek columns, the thrill of
something new. Now all that's left is a presidency adrift,
surviving on slogans that already seem tired., grasping at the
moment that has already passed, like a ship trying to sail on
Good stuff, that. He is giving permission for voters to change their minds and vote for Romney. And to believe again in the promise of America.
He was a little short on specifics, which is fine -- nobody expects a dry dissertation on what a Romney presidency would do to jump start the economy. Besides, Romney is liable to get fairly specific in his big speech tonight.
Paul Ryan put the ball on a tee for his running mate last night. Romney should find it easier to hit a home run because of that.