In a Saturday morning appearance on the Fox News Channel, Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer reacted to the announcement of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s running mate choice, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan.
Krauthammer said that the choice changed the race by shifting it from a referendum on Obama to an idea-driven race powered by the young, “Kennedy-esque” Ryan.
“I think the picture sort of changes the dynamics of the race,” Krauthammer said. “Up until now it was Romney running as the guy who could do a better job — ‘I know how to fix the economy. The other guy is a failure.’ But it was a star-led choice, he’s a better technocrat. When you look at the two there are two things different than Ryan’s presence on the platform. The first is youth. I mean, he’s the future. He has a youthful look. If you like Kennedy-esque boyish enthusiasm and energy.”
Krauthammer said that Ryan’s speech indicated that it won’t be just a policy ideas Ryan will put forth, but a broader philosophical ones.
“But second is also the shift in grounds, the dynamic of the debate — the argument from stewardship, from who can do a better job. to ideas,” he continued. “When Ryan spoke, he mentioned our rights are from nature and God. That’s a fairly fundamental idea. It isn’t even a policy. It’s a philosophy. He wants to make the debate about the philosophy of government and the policies that then follow. And I think by doing this they are now running on what is essentially an argument, ‘No to the status quo.’ It’s a complete reversal of 2008. Obama in 2008 was hope and change. ‘You don’t like status quo, we’ve got ideas.’”
But with those two things, Krauthammer said it takes the 2008 “change” theme away from Obama and puts it on the side of the Republicans.
“Now here are the Republicans four years later saying, ‘well, you had your shot at charisma with this idea of hope and change. It’s not hope and change. It’s a dismal, sort of declining America. We have the ideas. We have the policies. We’re willing to risk on them. We are willing to lead on them, lead from in front.’”
“And that’s what I think shifts the whole debate. It is a dynamic one about future, ideas and change. Change is now on the side of Republicans, where as it was on the policy of this side of the Democrats in 2008. And they can make a coherent case of that as we heard Ryan doing in his introductory remarks.”