COLORADO SPRINGS, August 12, 2012 —Saturday morning the radio announcer made an unusual announcement. He said first that he had not seen this information on the wire services or the major news outlets, but he advised that Mitt Romney was going to announce his vice presidential pick at 7am.
I was not surprised. For years now, the current administration has been releasing important news stories late Friday night when almost no one is paying attention. It is usually the middle of the next week before we are aware of an executive order with significant consequences. Now the Romney campaign goes one better and makes the announcement on Saturday morning and the major news outlets are caught napping. Word that the announcement was going to happen was first made on Twitter with a tweet by Romney Communications Director Gail Gitcho at 11:06pm Friday night.
As everyone knows by now, the announcement was Paul Ryan as vice presidential nominee and the announcement was made in Norfolk, Virginia in front of the battleship USS Wisconsin. I was raised in Wisconsin and I think that’s pretty cool.
Social media have certainly come of age. The news was all over Twitter as soon as I could open it up so I don’t really care that the once-major media weren’t covering the event. The Twitter tweets-per-minute timeline is fascinating. Another great resource for instant news is Michelle Malkin’s Twichy site. It’s a Twitter aggregator and yes, there’s an app for that.
When they did respond, the media’s bias was clear. CNN’s story headline was “VP announcement comes as Romney’s poll numbers slip,” referring to their own poll from Thursday which had already been debunked Friday. To be fair, CNN reporter Ashley Killough posted at 2:41am Saturday before the actual name was announced. Never say the left isn’t leaning forward, ready to pounce.
Unfortunately in this day of social media and almost universal internet connectivity, when they do pounce the quarry has already moved. They simple cannot respond to events. A couple of months ago I was at a Saturday political event and spotted a local reporter I know taking pictures with his cell phone. When I teased him about that he said that his newspaper—a major Colorado Springs paper—had only one part-time photographer on staff and he wasn’t available that day. There were lots of people in the audience with cell phone cameras.
But enough about the press: how about the substance?
Conservatives are uniformly happy with the Ryan pick. As speculation ran rampant the past month or so, Florida Senator Marco Rubio led polls by wide margins as the Tea Party favorite. Much as I like Rubio, he has his problems: like Obama, he is not a natural born citizen (i.e., his parents were not U.S. citizens at the time of his birth) and although it is only the vice presidential slot, it makes little sense to nominate someone who would not be eligible to take over should the need arise. Another strong contender was Representative Allen West, a firebrand conservative. While both of these men have the potential to grow into great statesmen, let’s give them time. We just elected an inexperienced first-term senator with disastrous consequences. Let’s not repeat the mistake even with people whose ideas are better.
Ryan is a great choice because he is exactly the sort of conservative we would have liked to see at the top of the ticket. If you don’t know Ryan, read his 2010 book The Young Guns. I reviewed it on my website. He had the political courage to challenge the budgetary sacred cows with his budget plan. While not as fast-acting as the Tea Party Debt Commission plan or Senator Rand Paul’s plan, his path breaking plan made these others possible. He confronted the tough questions and that is what makes him a statesman.
Matt Kibbe, president and CEO of Freedomworks, wrote this about the choice:
“For progressives, Paul Ryan is their worst nightmare: A policy wonk who understands what they are all about, who has solutions, and who has an easy style and ability to communicate. For that very reason, they will try to destroy him. Think about the attacks on Sarah Palin — on steroids.”
I’m one to tell you to go to the source. Paul Ryan’s speech from Saturday is printed in full at the Washington Times. He said a lot of the right things in that speech; as a constitutional conservative, this struck me as key:
“But America is more than just a place…it’s an idea. It’s the only country founded on an idea. Our rights come from nature and God, not government. We promise equal opportunity, not equal outcomes.”
With this choice Mitt Romney took a stand, a principled conservative stand. He made the announcement at a place and time of his own choosing. He’s on the offense and my guess is that he will stay that way right through to the election and beyond. There’s a clear choice coming in November: between the slide toward statism and mediocrity or a restoration of our republic and greatness. It’s a choice between Tyranny and Liberty and the choice has suddenly been made clearer.
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