If and when Romney becomes our president-elect, we must temper our euphoria with level-headed vigilance over Romney’s policy agenda. One particular threat we must confront will be Romney’s attempt to disarm House conservatives by deploying Paul Ryan to keep them in line.
Last week, Politico published an article detailing the strategy for Romney’s first few months in office, based on interviews with campaign staff. There is a lot of disturbing information in the article, but this one is the most disconcerting:
One of the biggest worries for a Romney administration, according to the aides, will be keeping conservative lawmakers happy when the most urgent task, dealing with the nation’s fiscal emergency, is going to immediately alienate the loud, powerful wing of House Republicans that is resistant to raising revenues, even though their leaders recognize it is a mathematical necessity.
That would be the most urgent task for a Vice President Paul Ryan, who has credibility with the tea party wing of House Republicans from his stint as a reformist House Budget Committee chairman.
“We’re going to come in and need to be able to do a lot of things that aren’t easy to do,” the official said. “Ryan is going to have to help keep the conservatives at bay and on the field. Some of them are going to expect us to come in and do a lot of things that we aren’t going to be able to do.”
Of course, this comes as no surprise to our readers and activists. When Romney initially tapped Ryan as his running mate, we offered robust applause for his bold move, but articulated our concerns with him as well. While Ryan is an indefatigable and articulate spokesman for limited government and free markets, his voting record doesn’t always reflect that. In fact, he was one of only 6 Republicans to vote for every bailout. It’s not that he’s insincere about his convictions, it’s just that he buys into the Washington deal-making mentality. When the rubber meets the road, he feels that we must cut deals with Democrats, even if they completely abjure the very principles he so passionately defends.
What makes Ryan so dangerous as a potential VP is that he would have a unique relationship with House conservatives – the very people who must serve as a bulwark against Romney’s wayward policies. He still commands a great degree of respect with House members, and this Politico article only confirms our initial concern that Ryan would be used as Romney’s “whip” to beat conservatives in line.
Make no mistake about it, we are all looking forward to calling Paul Ryan Mr. Vice President. But we are willing and ready to hold him to account for violating his own policy promises. We are certainly prepared to elect conservatives in 2014 who will be inoculated from any pressure to cut bad deals with Democrats.
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