Time will tell whether Mitt Romney’s choice of Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate is a game changer with respect to the outcome of November’s presidential election. But it already is clear that the Ryan selection has served to sharpen the policy differences between President Obama and Governor Romney.
Within hours of Mr. Romney’s announcement, President Obama said in a campaign speech in Chicago:
Too many folks still don’t have a sense that tomorrow will be better than today. And so the question in this election is, which way do we go? Do we go forward toward a new vision of an America in which prosperity is shared? Or do we go backward to the same policies that got us in the mess in the first place?
In sharp contrast, Congressman Ryan, doubtless reflecting the Romney view, said,
We Americans look at one another’s successes with pride, not resentment, because we know, as more Americans work hard, take risks, and succeed, more people will prosper, our communities will benefit, and individual lives will be improved and uplifted…. America is more than just a place, it’s an idea. It’s the only country founded on an idea. Our rights come from nature and God, not government. We promise equal opportunity, not equal outcomes.
Mr. Ryan is known for his oratorical skills and is expected to be Mr. Romney’s point man on economic issues.
On another front, President Obama has taken to lavishing much praise on Israel and to increasing military and intelligence cooperation between Washington and Jerusalem. He has also stood up for Israel at the United Nations. Yet the first two years of his presidency were characterized by sharp disagreements between the two countries and open hostility on the part of Mr. Obama toward Prime Minister Netanyahu.
This uneven record makes us wonder what the president may have in mind for Israel in a second term.
On the other hand, Mr. Ryan has been considered a strong friend of Israel. Indeed, his website states:
America has no better friend in the Middle East than the nation of Israel. Not only is Israel the region’s only fully functioning democracy, with a government based on popular consent and the rule of law, but it is also a valuable ally against Islamic extremism and terrorism.
In this Mr. Ryan seems to echo the Romney view of the Middle East, and his choice as Mr. Romney’s running mate would seem to underscore what a Romney presidency might mean for Israel.