A failure to act. A terrible, stunning legacy for any leader. But far worse when it is the president of the United States. And that’s the point driven home by Mitt Romney’s selection of the young Paul Ryan as his running mate. For Ryan dared to lead when Barack Obama did not.
After more than three years of what promised to be a historic, transcendent presidency, the nation still faces record unemployment, with nearly $16 trillion in debt and the looming insolvency of Social Security and Medicare. Yet Congress is paralyzed. And the president appears powerless to heal divides or change the direction of the country.
Through it all, Ryan stood alone, attacked from the left—and even the right.
He spoke not only of balancing the budget but also of rescuing entitlement programs through real reform. And it was more than “just words.” He actually came up with the plans to do so.
His reward? To be vilified. Branded a granny killer. (A desperate theme now repeated in a ludicrous charge against Romney as a murderer.)
In his remarks this morning following the announcement, Ryan spoke with his signature sincerity of “turning ideas into action, and action into solutions.”
“Politicians from both parties have made empty promises,” he said, “which will soon become broken promises—with painful consequences—if we fail to act now…We have a critical decision to make as a nation. We are on an unsustainable path that is robbing America of our freedom and security. It doesn’t have to be this way.”
“If we fail to act now.” Those are the words on which this election will hinge.