Behind Paul and John’s hesitation about Ryan is the doubt that it is possible to have an “adult conversation” in the heat of a presidential campaign, especially when you will have to fend off the adolescent fantasies of Obama-Biden and today’s infantile Democratic Party. It is a reasonable fear, and not brand new: conservatives have long warned against the dire consequences of reaching the moment where a critical mass of American voters depend on the government for their well-being, and hence will vote to perpetuate the welfare state. Have we reached that point? Will we reach it if Obama gets a second term? Who knows. The point about Ryan is that we might as well go down with our best.
In this regard I’m reminded of Churchill’s warning to his own party in March 1945 not to be “socialist-lite” (though they turned out that way anyway):
This is no time for windy platitudes and glittering advertisements. The Conservative Party had far better go down telling the truth and acting in accordance with the verities of our position than gain a span of shabbily-bought office by easy and fickle froth and chatter.
All my experience of the British people, which is a long one, convinces me that never at any moment more than this have they wished and meant to face realities, and woe betide those public men who seek to slide into power down the slippery slope of vain and profligate undertakings.
This is no time for humbug and blandishments, but for grim, stark facts and figures, and for action to meet to immediate needs.
Sounds like the specs for Paul Ryan to me: who is better at handling the “grim, stark facts and figures” of our present crisis.