Paul Ryan and the Vice Presidency

I’m starting to thing this pundit business is easy.

Two days ago I posited the following:

So let’s look at the kind of guy Mitt Romney is. He’s a business guy. He’s managerial. He’s serious. He’s sober. He plans and works and works and plans. Which is to say, he does not fly by the seat of his pants, determinedly believing that he will not go down in flames, this time, as a certain maverick senator who shall not be named does.

He does not want his running mate to overshadow him, to become the story. He does not want to have someone he has to keep an eye on.

Now, I’d be hard pressed to think of someone who fits this bill better than Paul Ryan. Ryan is serious, smart, and experienced, yet has a goal beyond getting re-elected. He’s about the best choice Romney could have made, and it reflects exactly that side of Romney that makes him electable. Or, as Jennifer Rubin puts it:

Romney is above all else a problem-solver, a doer and a fixer. Ryan, likewise, is a policy maven who has since 2007 been trying to advance budget, tax and health-care reforms, moving the Republican Party to become the champion of market-based reform. Ryan is a smart man, certainly the smartest in Congress, with an eye for detail and a facility with numbers. Romney prizes brains, precision and the ability to wield numbers. Ryan uses a scalpel, not a sledge hammer in skewering his opposition; Romney likewise uses piles of data to slay his competitors (as he did in the Florida and Arizona GOP primary debates). Ryan is personally and professionally disciplined, a straight arrow with a gee-whiz brand of optimism. Romney is as well.

Now, to the downside. Having Ryan in the Old Executive means not having him in Congress pushing Boehner rightwards. As Dav O, one of Stacy McCain’s commenters, puts it:

With Ryan out of the House, Speaker Boehner no longer needs to worry about spending, cuts, taxation and so on.
Senator McConnell may see a VP Ryan on occasion doing his official Senate duties, but a Veep who isn’t a member of the club is easily dispatched.

So who replaces Ryan? An Establishment GOP? And in the House? Jerry Lewis returns to provide the intellectual and moral underpinnings of GOP Budget-Think?

He has a point. However, I think it overstated for one reason: we’ve moved beyond the “bucket of warm spit” era of the Vice Presidency. The last man to suffer the indignities of the post without a serious role in the executive branch was probably Dan Quayle. Gore was more significant to the Clinton Administration, Cheney even more significant to the Bush (43) administration. “Sherrif Joe” Biden is a not insignificant part of the Obama White House. So I expect Paul Ryan to be a junior partner of a Romney administration, one who has experience and capital that Romney wants to tap.

So I was right. Mitt Romney’s Veep pick is boring, and by boring, I mean boringly excellent.


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