I’ve been off the grid, so I didn’t think much about Mitt Romney’s pick of Paul Ryan as his running mate until today. As we were driving home, Russell, UJ, and I listened to a replay of Meet The Press, which featured the all-too-predictable conservative and liberal shouting match about whether Ryan’s budget plan will gut Medicare and destroy the student loan program — among other issues.
Of course, it’s too much to expect that any political debate these days could be done at a reasonable decibel level, without yelling or over-the-top metaphors. Nevertheless, I thought the discussion (if you can call it that) itself said something about the selection of Ryan. Rather than arguing about whether the pick would help Romney politically in this state or with that constituency, the commentators were talking about something of actual substance — the budget, our debt problems, and how we deal with them. How refreshing it would be if this election actually involved consideration of those crucial, meat-and-potatoes issues, rather than phony, grossly overheated topics like whether the evil Bain Capital caused a woman to die of cancer!
I think our exploding debt is the most important issue we face. I therefore applaud anything that gets our country to focus on its budget problems and the hard choices we need to make to actually address those problems. I recognize that my fellow citizens might disagree with my views on how we should address those issues — but that’s what elections are for, aren’t they? If the selection of Paul Ryan causes President Obama and Mitt Romney to lay out their plans on taxes and spending and the deficit in sharp detail, and the election becomes a referendum on those plans, I think our country would be much better off.
For these reasons, Romney’s selection of Ryan is a positive thing for us all. I hope we’ll be talking more about Ryan’s budget, and other fiscal issues, until Election Day. For now I say, let the debate begin — and let’s see if we can’t have that debate in a civilized way, shall we?