There is a reason Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is on the short list for VP. On “Face the Nation” he made a point that Mitt Romney and his campaign spokespeople don’t make often or well enough regarding the amount of policy specifics put out by Romney:
Paul Ryan: Well, he’s been doing that. Look, this is why I think Mitt Romney won the primary. This is why I endorsed Mitt Romney in the primary here in Wisconsin because he was more specific than anybody running for president about specifically what he would do to prevent a debt crisis, to create jobs, to reform the tax code, to reform these entitlement programs from bankruptcy.
Look at the record Barack Obama has to run on: It’s the worst economic recovery on record, the highest deficits and biggest government since World War II, the worst jobs quarter in two years, and the highest poverty rates in a generation. That’s not a record you can run on and Mitt Romney has been very clear and very specific with how he’ll do things differently to get our economy turned around, to save us from a debt crisis and so he will continue to emphasize those things. At the end of the day, it’s going to be a big choice about two futures. Do you want the path the President has put us on-- a path of debt, doubt, and decline, a welfare state with a debt crisis-- or the Mitt Romney path, which he has been very clear about prosperity, the American idea, turning the economy around and getting us back to growth again.
Bob Schieffer: Again, I go back to my point here, isn’t he going to have to say something beyond “we’ve got to keep taxes low on businesses to get this economy going again”? Isn’t it going to take a much bolder plan that that? This economy is in bad shape. We don’t know what’s going to happen with the European economies. There are all sorts of factors going into this beyond just keeping taxes low for business. Shouldn’t we expect more from him on that front? What would you suggest?
Paul Ryan: Yes and we’re getting more. We in the House have already passed a specific budget detailing exactly how we would solve this problem. The Senate hasn’t passed a budget for three years. President Obama hasn’t tried for four years to deal with this problem.
Mitt Romney has put out more specifics on reforming the tax code, cleaning up the corporate system, getting rid of special interest loopholes, lowering rates to 25% on corporations. He has put out more specifics on how to reform entitlement programs, to save Medicare from bankruptcy, to cut government spending, to reduce the deficits than Barack Obama and the United States Senate has. He has put out these specifics so I think this narrative is kind of false in many ways because what Mitt Romney has done is given us not only specific plans but also is reapplying those core principles that made America great in the first place, on how to restore economic growth, and get the American idea with the safety net back on track because I really have to tell you, Bob, the next few years are going to make it or break it for America.
Ryan is right, and it is a mystery why Romney himself and his operatives haven’t drummed home that message. Maybe they figure there will be time enough for that in the fall. Perhaps that’s true, but Ryan remains the most persuasive surrogate in weaving specifics into general campaign themes.
Republicans can bemoan the media’s disinclination to convey the details of Romney’s immigration tax, energy, Medicare, Medicaid, labor, Social Security and national security proposals. (Why fellow Republicans pile on to this no-specifics bandwagon is a mystery, but Republicans dumping on Republicans is the main way for right-leaning pundits to get attention.) It would be swell but entirely unrealistic for the media to chide Obama for lacking complete tax, entitlement and spending reforms. In short, if Romney and his team don’t do it, no one will, and that’s an excellent reason to put Ryan on the ticket.