The hysterical reaction to Mitt Romney’s naming of Paul Ryan has been nothing short of comedic for those of us who bother with such trifles; every one of the usual suspects from the loons at MSNBC to the more mainstream hacks like Brian Williams and Diane Sawyer have that deer-in-the-headlights panicked expression as they intone their admonitions in that most ominous mock seriousness. At the same time Tea Partiers, fiscal conservatives and capitalists of every stripe cheer the advent of one so full of straight talk and that all important (and mostly absent from post-modern politics) BS repellent, the facts. But there is more to it than the moment, the message, or the star power of the young man. The pick of Ryan is a critically important lens into the very soul of the guy who did it.
Newsweek, that moribund, barely breathing organ of the American Left, made reference—on the cover, no less—to some kind of “wimp factor” that they would have us believe dogs the presumptive nominee. Hogwash. And to demonstrate the efficacy of that epithet, witness the naming of a buff, incisive, forthright, handsome, quick-witted nice guy. Wimps fear competition, they cannot brook threatening strength and they most certainly panic at the specter of one who might successfully vie for attention on a common stage. But as Kevin Williamson points out this week in National Review (“Like a Boss,” page 16), Romney is in every sense of the term an alpha male. Who else chooses a hunk whose pastimes include body building and bow hunting, as well as the architect of the first common sense look at the federal deficit in modern times, as his running mate? Only a man who is absolutely comfortable in his own skin, knows himself and his own character, and more, only a man who not only enjoys strong company but one who, as leader, demands it.
While it is clearly too early to start drawing parallels, the last guy to hold the big boy chair with that kind of self-confidence and clarity was Ronald Reagan, a man known his whole life for his principled independence, strength of character and moral resolve.
The Ryan pick tells us more about the man than just his tastes in strong people; it is a window into his brand of leadership, his desire to put success before self, and his fundamental requirement that those around him be powerful and competent in their own right. Just imagine a cabinet full of the likes of Paul Ryan; finally we could look on them around that big table without having to fight off images of the bar scene in Star Wars. No kooks or wacked out pseudo-intellectuals, no bomb-throwing left-over hippies, and no more tax cheats in the very epicenter of the seat of Western power. Instead, if we can glean anything from Mitt’s choice of Ryan, it is that the man will seek, discover, choose and then empower the best people he can find. He did it at Bain Capital, where he not only got rich but enriched those around him and routinely saved the jobs of—thereby enriching—thousands of people whose employers were foundering. Ryan is matinee eye candy for the ladies, alpha male carnivore for the guys, and the big dog who is striking fear and dread in the squishy hearts of the world of post-modern liberals everywhere. But if you like Paul, thank the guy who made him famous, the text book non-wimp, Mitt Romney—leader, wealth producer, and advocate of excellence. He will win.