Thursday, August 30, 2012

Making It Matter

Today's WSJ has an editorial on The Ryan Difference:

What's going on? The Romney campaign deserves credit for staging an Inchon landing by skillfully using ObamaCare to go on offense against Mr. Obama on Medicare. Liberals and the reporters they dine with still can't bring themselves to believe that their historic achievement is unpopular, so they and the press corps refuse to admit that the Affordable Care Act has changed the entitlement debate.

But retirees know that Mr. Obama robbed Medicare's accounts to make ObamaCare's budget impact look benign. And even if they can't follow the deliberately convoluted details of phony Beltway bookkeeping, they are learning that Mr. Obama's Medicare "cuts" are immediate and Mr. Ryan's reforms won't apply to anyone over age 55. The Obama campaign won't give up on Mediscare, but it has been caught unprepared.

Mr. Ryan has also performed better on the national stage than even many of his supporters anticipated. Even Democrats have had to concede he's no lightweight and does his homework. He has put a new, youthful face on the Republican Party, and his earnest enthusiasm is a walking refutation of Democratic claims that he's a Randian radical. He looks and sounds like Janesville.

The latest assault is that Mr. Ryan won the genetic lottery, has no feeling for his fellow man, and thus wrote a budget that grinds down the less fortunate. These attacks will be on full display next week in Charlotte, especially now that it has become clear that Mr. Romney might win.

The best response to these attacks is for Mr. Ryan to keep showcasing his natural optimism and Midwestern equanimity, as he did on Wednesday. Mr. Ryan had the difficult job of introducing himself to a public that barely knows him while also fulfilling the running mate's traditional job of dismantling the record of his opponents.

He did the first by focusing on his family, his Wisconsin roots and by paying tribute to his mentor, the late Jack Kemp. On the latter, he showed the ability to expose the President's failures more in sorrow than in anger. His line about jobless college graduates in their 20s "staring up at fading Obama posters" in their childhood bedrooms is the line of the campaign and was Reaganesque in its subtle but still withering truth. This sets up Mr. Romney to offer his own positive vision and agenda on Thursday.

Anyone who watched last night's RNC and the speeches by Portman, Pawlenty, and Ryan should no longer have harbor any doubts about whether Romney made the right choice for VP.