In my experience, you're actually getting a more serious conversation over the issues if you listen directly to the two campaigns than if you're reading about the campaign as filtered through much of the media.
On several occasions, Paul Ryan has suggested he supports breaking up the nation’s largest banks to prevent future bailouts for too-big-to-fail firms. But he's never quite proposed a policy to get there.
Since the Romney campaign wants to run against President Obama's cuts to Medicare, it's something of a problem for them that Paul Ryan's budget includes those very same cuts to Medicare. And so they've come up with a somewhat confused and confusing argument to distinguish the two plans.
Three years ago, Mitt Romney proposed a constitutional amendment that would say "the president has to spend three years working in business before he becomes president of the United States." That would disqualify Paul Ryan.
It's a conservative myth that the White House hasn't put forward a Medicare reform plan. What that line really means is that White House hasn't put forward some variant of Paul Ryan's plan. But they've put forward their own.
Most Americans don't know much about Paul Ryan. Even some of Ryan's most ardent fans don't know much about his policies. So today, in Wonkbook, we've got the primer on Paul Ryan, his policies, and what he may or may not mean to the election. Read on for everything you need to know about the wonk from Wisconsin.
If you know about Paul Ryan at all, you probably know him as a deficit hawk. But Ryan has voted to increase deficits and expand government spending too many times for that to be his north star. Rather, the common thread throughout his career is his desire to remake the basic architecture of the the federal government.
If you've heard of Paul Ryan, you've heard of Paul Ryan's budget. But Ryan has been in the House of Representatives for fourteen years, and has proposed many, many others bills. Looking through the Library of Congress' records, by my count Ryan has sponsored 71 bills or amendments, and cosponsored 971 bills. That's a lot of legislation, and some of it is pretty interesting.
You don't make a risky pick like Paul Ryan if you think the fundamentals favor your candidate. You make a risky pick like Paul Ryan if you think the fundamentals don't favor your candidate. And, right now, the numbers don't look good for Romney: Obama leads in the Real Clear Politics average of polls by more than four percentage points -- his largest lead since April.
With Paul Ryan on the ticket, Mitt Romney's loss will be conservatism's loss, too. And if Romney wins, then Ryan will a footsoldier in the Romney White House, not an independent power center pushing for conservative policies.