Having been critical of Mitt Romney in the past, I am frequently asked about my views of Romney as a presidential candidate, and more recently the Romney-Ryan ticket. I’ve received a few emails lately prompting a response on the blog.
Those who support Romney-Ryan tout Romney’s experience as a business leader. Paul Ryan adds a passion for reform, knowledge about the budget, strong communication skills, and solid conservative credentials. This ticket is more focused and reform-oriented than McCain-Palin. Obama has been a disaster, and Romney has a real opportunity to turn things around.
But others see things differently. Conservative-minded detractors don’t attack Romney’s character per se, but point out his lack of consistency on a number of key issues. Ryan’s passion and knowledge notwithstanding, his proposals don’t go far enough. Romney-Ryan might be better than Obama-Biden, but we’d still be headed for the cliff, albeit at a slower pace.
Consider that Ryan’s Medicare reform proposal would make no changes for anyone 55 or older. They’ve paid into the system and have planned their retirements around Medicare, so I understand the point here. However, the Medicare trustees tell us that the program will go bankrupt by 2016 if you exclude Obama’s double-counting. Even if actuary Richard Foster is off by a few years, this would happen before any reform takes place. Those on the left who characterize Ryan’s plan as draconian are burying their heads in the sand. To be frank, an ideal solution would be much more aggressive.
Our nation has declined precipitously since Obama’s election, but we must admit that he is not entirely responsible for the current state of affairs. We didn’t get to a $16 trillion debt overnight and we won’t get ourselves out of it rapidly either. In my view, Romney-Ryan appear to be offering a legitimate move in the right direction. It may not be as far as we need to go, but it could be the first step. Moreover, IF Romney wins AND he gets (real) conservative majorities in both houses, then we MIGHT see more aggressive proposals. There are no guarantees here, but consider the alternative.
Many of today’s so-called conservatives seem more like moderates and most fail to understand the seriousness of the current economic challenges. I’m not entirely optimistic about the fiscal future of our nation and I’m not sure what we would get from a President Romney, but four more years of Obama might be more that our nation can handle.