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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Is That An Avalanche I Hear?

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Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, right, is introduced by vice presidential running mate Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., arrive during a welcome home rally, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012, in Waukesha, Wis. At left is Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Romney's wife Ann Romney, rear right. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
Bill Kristol is exactly right on the impact of the selection of Paul Ryan on grassroots conservatism across the country. Charles Krauthammer helped provide the explanation in his Friday column and it comes down to this: Paul Ryan is thoroughly conservative –a reliable, electable conservative– who also provides the sort of charismatic leadership the center-right has longed for since Reagan and which George W. Bush could only provide at intervals and usually only on the war. Thus in Ryan there is a long term promise of renewal of the party and the movement, one preceded by the rise of the Tea Party and the accumulation of authority by serious conservatives in the Senate led by Jim DeMint and in the House with the rise of Cantor/McCarthy/Jordan and of course Ryan.
It is to Mitt Romney’s great credit that he picked Ryan and recognized these benefits would follow even when many, including me, were urging the conventional pick of Tim Pawlenty and others of Rob Portman. Romney went big. It telegraphs how he will staff his administration and how he will govern. The selection of Ryan is a signal that Romney will govern with a reform agenda, will promote genuine talent and not just friends, has confidence in ideas and his ability to explain them, and aims to reform the federal government while renewing American military strength.

Key graph in Kristol’s piece:

But perhaps the most important effect of the Ryan pick is this: It turns the GOP effort from a campaign into a movement. It transforms a mere electoral effort into a political cause. The Romney 2012 campaign no longer brings to mind its Republican predecessor, the McCain campaign of 2008. Instead, Romney-Ryan could end up more closely resembling Obama 2008.


Key thought in most young conservatives’ minds: “I might want to work for this Administration.”


There is a transition team already at work, but I hope Mitt Romney is sending detailed instructions to it and has added “Be sure to consult Ryan.” The opportunity to engage the 35-and-under demographics is enormous, and all it will take is a few speeches by both Romney and Ryan on the years beyond 2020 and even 2030 and how they can be defined by American strength or American eclipse, both as to finances and as to military power.


I discuss in my Washington Examiner column Monday the possibility of Ryan conducting townhall events for the 25-and-under voters, perhaps moderated by and questions provided by younger journalists like Guy P. Benson, Mary Katharine Ham, Conn Carroll and Tim Carney. Talking heads and scribblers under 40 see a very different world than the Andrea Mitchells of the Beltway who are comfortable in their quasi-retirements and who want to refight old battles and keep their friends in places of power as they complete their circuit.


Mitt Romney is definitely from far outside the Beltway and Ryan is from far outside the ruling age demographic. Together they are a powerful combination that has panicked Chicago even as the president has lost his game and is afraid to meet with the White House press corps for fear of “You didn’t build that” questions or additional unforced enormous errors.


The momentum is all with Romney/Ryan and the money is flowing in. (Have you contributed your $25 or $50?) It will be a great week in Tampa Bay and a fine fall, but the real fun will be in 2013 as things long undone finally get done, and the country explodes in the sort of productivity and optimism that marked the Reagan era.


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