The Daily Beast
By Zachary Karabell
August 13, 2012
The addition of Paul Ryan to the Republican ticket for the 2012 presidential election has been hailed by many as a welcome turn in the campaign away from vacuous mudslinging and toward a more substantive debate about pressing issues. Both Democrats and Republicans appear to welcome that debate, at least now. In that sense, Ryan’s nod for vice president is unequivocally a positive and does in fact inject what has been a curiously hollow campaign with a dose of real substance.
At the same time, Mitt Romney and the Republicans should be mindful of the adage “Be careful what you wish for.” The injection of substantive debate about government obligations for the health care of seniors and those at or below the poverty line may be welcome relative to an endless debate over the virtues or vices of Bain Capital. Ryan’s blueprint, however, is less a viable plan than a hope and prayer about the ability of “the market” to govern outcomes in a manner that serves the common good.
Ryan has made a name for himself the past two years as the leading champion in the House of Representatives for radical changes in the current trajectory of the federal government and future spending. The past two Republican budget proposals bear the moniker of the “Ryan plan” and are marked by a substantive attempt to deal with the escalation of health-care spending and the complexity of the federal tax code.