Republicans (and conservatives generally) say they’re thrilled. Although he’s spent his whole adult career as a Washington lawmaker, he’s viewed as a young, fresh face outside mainstream politics – not at all like those other members of Congress held as a group in very low public regard. Google “bold” and “Paul Ryan” and you get more than 3 million results.
Democrats and liberals, while moving immediately into attack mode, are happy in their own way to have a vice presidential opponent who brings (in their view) considerable political baggage – the man who would end Medicare, if not Western Civilization, as we know it.
Here’s a sampling of initial response to Mr. Ryan’s vault to the national political stage, first from supporters.
Former President George W. Bush: “This is a strong pick. Governor Romney is serious about confronting the long-term challenges facing America, and Paul Ryan will help him solve the difficult issues that must be addressed for future generations."
Former US Senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum: "In addition to Congressman Ryan's stellar fiscal conservative positions, he is indeed a full-spectrum conservative. He is solidly pro-life, pro-family, and will be an advocate for our military and our national security priorities.”
Charmaine Yoest, president and CEO of Americans United for Life Action: “This election is a referendum on President Obama’s championing of a health care plan that is the largest expansion of abortion since Roe v. Wade. And AUL Action welcomes Congressman Paul Ryan’s strong stance against buttressing the abortion industry with American’s hard-earned tax dollars.”
Columnist and author Michelle Malkin: “PHEW. After a week marred by a not-ready-for-prime-time staffer who had movement conservatives questioning Team Romney’s competence, sanity, and willingness to fight the brass-knuckles White House and Chicago thug operatives, the Romney campaign made the right decision.... Paul Ryan is fresh, young, energetic, smart, courageous, and ready for prime time. Paul Ryan is a policy wonk AND a front-line warrior whose budget and long-term entitlement reforms have the entire Dem-Soros-lapdog media machine unhinged.”
IN PICTURES: On the Campaign Trail with Mitt Romney
Unhinged or not, here’s some of the reaction from those to the left of Ms. Malkin.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi: “There is no question that former Governor Romney now owns the Republican, Ryan budget that puts millionaires ahead of Medicare and the middle class. Congressman Paul Ryan led House Republicans in voting to end the Medicare guarantee, which increases costs on seniors and weakens America's great middle class in order to give tax breaks to millionaires, Big Oil and corporations that ship jobs overseas.”
The New York Times: Mitt Romney’s safe and squishy campaign just took on a much harder edge…. Voters will now be able to see with painful clarity just what the Republican Party has in store for them.
Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz: “Congressman Ryan laid the groundwork in Congress for Mitt Romney’s budget-busting scheme that gives an additional $250,000 tax cut for millionaires while punishing middle-class families with tax hikes of up to $2,000 a year.”
Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund: “Just like Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan wants to end safe and legal abortion, would work to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood’s cancer screenings, birth control, and other basic health care, and would repeal the Affordable Care Act, denying access to birth control, well-woman checkups, and other preventive care to millions of Americans.”
American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten: “Rep. Ryan’s record speaks for itself. He would reduce, not expand, real opportunities for all students to have access to high-quality public education.”
Rep. Chris Van Hollen, senior Democrat on the House Budget Committee Rep. Ryan chairs: "Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and the GOP want to provide a gilded path to prosperity for the already wealthy, while leaving working Americans, seniors, and future generations behind. We tried trickle-down economics under President Bush and it clearly failed.”
Vice presidential candidates traditionally take a prominent attack role in campaigns. But for one day, at least, Vice President Joe Biden was Mr. Nice toward the man he’ll debate.
“Vice President Biden reached out to Congressman Ryan earlier today to congratulate him on his selection and welcome him to the race,” the Obama campaign said in a statement. “The Vice President urged Congressman Ryan to enjoy the day with his family, and said he looked forward to engaging him on the clear choice voters face this November.”
To which one can only say to Mr. Ryan: Watch your back.