Conservatives seem pretty happy with Mitt Romney's choice of Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., as his running mate. Actually, that's a real understatement. There's a lot of high praise for Ryan this morning, whom the Wall Street Journal endorsed this week. As the Journal argued, Ryan is the running mate who personifies the conservative side of the great debate of our time -- the future of the entitlement state.
The chief arguments against Ryan on the GOP side have been (1) that Democrats would ferociously attack his budget, and (2) that he would be less effective as vice president than he already is as chairman of the House Budget Committee. Conservatives are surely willing to roll the dice on that second objection -- who knows, he could play a very large role and perhaps even cast the tie-breaking vote on his own reform plan. As for the first, there is a feeling that Democrats' expected Mediscare tactics have lost a lot of their oomph over time. More importantly, those attacks are coming either way.
Ryan is a strong choice because he appeals to every kind of conservative. For example, even though Ryan is known for his keen grasp of fiscal policy, the first words of praise for him in my inbox come from social conservatives. Marjorie Dannenfelser of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List releases this statement:
“By selecting Congressman Ryan as his vice presidential running mate, Governor Romney demonstrates his commitment to protecting American women and unborn children...A longtime pro-life advocate and a strong fiscal conservative, Congressman Ryan has insisted that there can be no ‘truce’ when it comes to advancing the rights of the unborn and achieving fiscal responsibility. He has a pristine pro-life voting record and will be an asset to Governor Romney’s campaign...[W]e are thrilled with this pick.”
On the early news, John Dickerson of CBS news noted that by choosing Ryan, Romney shows that "he's not just trying to coast on the idea that he isn't Barack Obama."
Bob Schieffer quickly followed up by noting that Democrats will attack Ryan over Medicare, but that finally there will be some substance to this election. "This campaign has been about silly stuff up until now," he said. "Now, it's going to be about something."