The selection of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) means that Mitt Romney is going to run a serious, policy-oriented campaign that highlights differences with President Obama. He truly believes that the economic status quo must be overturned. His selection is Romney’s acknowledgment that America is in trouble. It says a lot about what Romney really thinks and what he wants to do as president. 

Ryan is a good package in that he is young, he is bullet-proof as a conservative — he worked for Jack Kemp and for Sam Brownback — and he is from the Midwest state of Wisconsin, which Romney could steal from Obama. Ryan is a thought leader, credible on the economy, good on live TV, funny and self-effacing. He is even a bow-hunter, so he is use to sneaking up on his prey, which is always a useful skill in politics. Oh, and by the way, Ryan will pack-’em-in at the campaign fundraisers.

Ryan is a dangerous choice because he has been so bold and honest about the realities of the U.S. government’s spending. He is just about the only senior leader from either party who hasn't abandoned what we know about math when constructing a budget for the government. According to his longtime friend and Wisconsin political ally Bob Wood (former Tommy Thompson chief of staff), Ryan is perfectly qualified to be Treasury secretary and secretary of Health and Human Services at the same time as being vice president. Ryan can get deep into the issues and won’t be intimidated by the complexities of government.

His seriousness probably frightens Obama, but all the specific budget cuts Ryan has called for probably delights Obama. The next 48 hours are crucial. Ryan must perform well on the biggest stage that he has ever seen in his life, and as Carter suggested this week, the Obama crowd thinks they are ready for Ryan. It won't be easy for the congressman.