Paul Ryan is the latest Republican to throw his support behind Mitt Romney – endorsing the former Massachusetts governor last Friday. It was easy to shrug off the others who filed in line behind the GOP’s candidate: Bush 41, Chris Christie, John McCain, establishment Republicans, the usual suspects, etc. But Ryan’s endorsement set off a warning flare for conservatives. Members of the establishment have been telling us that a drawn-out primary process is bad for the party and bad for whoever our candidate might be. That sort of thinking now seems to be permeating within the ranks outside of the establishment – as evidenced by Ryan’s sudden endorsement.
Marco Rubio officially hung his hat on Romney’s campaign last Wednesday possibly signaling the shift among non-establishment Republican types. Obviously, Rubio and Ryan are looking to curry favor with the party but let’s hope they don’t get sucked into the McCain wing of the GOP. We need fewer progressives and more rogue-Republicans a la Ronald Reagan. If Jim DeMint or Rand Paul endorses Romney before the convention, the conservative movement could succumb to congestive heart failure.
Ryan explained his choice, as quoted by the New York Times:
“We’re going to be entering a counterproductive phase in this primary if it keeps dragging on,” Mr. Ryan said in a telephone interview. “Who would make the best president? Who has the best chance of winning? Mitt Romney wins on both points.”
“I can’t walk 20 yards down the aisle of the grocery store without someone saying, ‘Who should I vote for in the primary?’” Mr. Ryan said, adding that he made his decision because Mr. Romney had a better grasp of the deep fiscal burden facing the country.
“At the end of the day, whether a candidate has a gaffe on Tuesday or Thursday is not going to decide the campaign,” Mr. Ryan said. “Voters are looking for someone who will show them a contrasting vision to the one that Obama has given us.”
Conventional wisdom has apparently taken hold of Mr. Ryan. Given hiss leadership in the House and constant display of principled conservatism, I find it hard to believe that he thinks Romney would make the “best president”. A moderate Republican from Massachusetts is going to pull us back from the brink and take a hatchet to the size and scope of the federal government? The probability is very low.
I don’t doubt Romney’s ability to beat Barack Obama in a general campaign but I completely disagree with the Congressman on how a Romney presidency would shake out. The governor would make a better president than Gingrich or Santorum? It depends on how you’re quantifying “best”. I would hope Congressman Ryan is not putting to much stock into Romney’s “severe” conservatism.
If this primary drags on all the way to the convention, it’s still not going to change one simple fact. Jimmy Carter, Jr. is a weak incumbent president and Romney, Santorum or Newt could wipe the floor with him in the general election.