4:07 PM CDT, August 13, 2012
Having been on vacation until today, I'm late to the Paul Ryan party. But as someone who thought the selection of Sarah Palin thoroughly discredited John McCain's judgment, I have to say Mitt Romney has passed the most important test to date of his fitness to be president: choosing a running mate who would make a plausible president.
Ryan has been tarred as an ideologue and an extremist. But Palin was as well, and she lacked any of the assets he brings to the table. First is that he has dedicated himself to elected office over seven terms in the House. Second is that he has shown a serious interest in the substance of policy, while acquiring genuine expertise in an important area, the federal budget.
He has earned the respect of his fellow House members. And he's capable of answering policy questions in an intelligent, articulate way. Ryan can be of use to Romney in carrying out the goals of his administration, if the Republicans win.
All this may sound like I'm setting the bar awfully low. But after the Palin scare, modest virtues don't seem so modest. And there were serious GOP presidential candidates who weren't much better than Palin, including Herman Cain and Rick Perry. Ryan isn't any more conservative than a lot of tea party darlings. He is, however, a lot more competent.
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