Obama's 2008 Voters Complain that Ryan is Vague (Not a Parody)
It comes as no surprise that the Left has taken hyperventilation to a new level since Gov. Romney asked Congressman Ryan to run for Vice President. All the emergent lines of attack are as disingenuous as they are easily dismissed, but one particular avenue the Democrats are trying to pursue is so comical as to merit special attention.
Over the past 72 hours, it's become trendy for liberals to complain that Paul Ryan's various and sundry proposals are not sufficiently detailed. They turn from painting the Congressman as a heartless, number-crunching sociopath to insisting that he really hasn't crunched enough numbers at all.
Paul Krugman's recent comments along these lines are – as always with his remarks – typical of the partisan Left:
[Ryan] asserts that he can cut taxes without net loss of revenue by closing unspecified loopholes; he asserts that he can cut discretionary spending to levels not seen since Calvin Coolidge, without saying how; he asserts that he can convert Medicare to a voucher system, with much lower spending than now projected, without even a hint of how this is supposed to work.
Let's set aside the fact that any conservative familiar with Ryan's work could dispute Krugman's accusation that it's all some giant mystery.
Since when does the same crowd that ardently cheered President Obama in 2008 harbor this abiding passion to make sure that presidential and vice presidential candidates dot every last "i" and cross each and every "t" in their 20,000 page whitepapers?
President Obama fought and won four years ago on a cocktail of policy vagueness and non-germane aesthetics. His 2008 campaign website (archived here) laid out such supremely detailed fiscal policy promises as:
- "Increase the efficiency of government" through "technology" and "stronger management"
- "Stop funding wasteful, obsolete federal government programs that make no financial sense"
- "Obama will level the playing field for all businesses by eliminating special-interest loopholes and deductions"
How brave! How specific! How controversial!
I can't even begin to count the number of times I exasperatedly complained to an Obama supporter in 2008 that the man was incapable of putting substantive plans behind his bromides and my words were met with a blank stare or shrug.
So as the narrative trickles down to all Democrat supporters, whether among the media elite or among your Facebook friends, that Paul Ryan owes us an explanation of precisely how the mechanics of his premium-support vouchers will work by 2030 and if that really won't impact his proposed caps on non-discretionary spending because if you carry the eight and then when two trains leave Delaware traveling at 70 miles per hour wouldn't Ryan's projections actually fail to account for -- well, feel free to remind them of just how ironic their demand for hyper-specificity really is, given the source.
The nuts and bolts of Ryan's proposals deserve a vigorous defense on the merits, and they will surely receive one. But don't let the Left's newfound obsession with the trees take our eyes off the forest: elections are a competition of governing visions. And with his inspired choice of Congressman Ryan, Governor Romney has made his vision explicit.