Rep. Paul D. Ryan and Mitt Romney visit supporters before a North Carolina… (Saul Loeb, AFP/Getty Images )
Re "GOP ticket goes on the road," Aug. 13
As a lifelong Democrat, I am thrilled that Mitt Romney picked Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) to be his running mate. I hope this means the negative ads will stop and the real debate will begin.
I agree with those who say the most important decision a presidential candidate makes is the selection of a running mate. Now that Romney has passed that test, it's time for the candidates to turn their full attention to the issue that divides them most: What kind of America do we want now, and what kind of America do we want to leave to our children and grandchildren?
To be sure, these questions have been raised in past elections. But with the House Budget Committee chairman on the GOP ticket, certainly the questions will be raised more often.
Romney has argued all summer that America needs his business experience to turn around the economy. He has discussed his four years as governor of Massachusetts only occasionally.
Now, he turns 180 degrees and selects a seven-term member of Congress who has no business experience and whose only claim to fame is developing an incomplete budget that pays tribute to the ideology of Ayn Rand.
At least now we know what Romney plans to do to turn the country around — a U-turn.
I am puzzled by the talk about "energizing the base." Didn't Republican voters have many opportunities to pick a nominee with "tea party" values during the long slog of the primary process? One by one, the "base" candidates were rejected, leaving Romney as a default winner. And now he is looking to Ryan to define his campaign in much starker terms than he previously dared to formulate.
Could Ryan be another Dick Cheney? Or maybe Romney will end up like John McCain.
As some express the hope that Romney's vice presidential pick will elevate the campaign to a substantive debate, one is reminded of John F. Kennedy and Barry Goldwater.
For the 1964 election, they had planned to tour the country for a series of debates on the overriding issue of the day (as it is now): the proper role of government in the lives of Americans. But Kennedy was assassinated and Lyndon B. Johnson became president and the 1964 Democratic nominee. His campaign produced the infamous "daisy ad" warning of nuclear war under Goldwater.
So far for 2012, we have conservative "super PACs" accusing President Obama of preferring welfare to work and the despicable ad from a pro-Obama group accusing Romney of killing U.S. workers. Kennedy and Goldwater are turning over in their graves.
Re "The Paul Ryan divide," Editorial, Aug. 12
The Obama-Biden team has shown itself more than willing to cut Medicare, Medicaid and other programs designed to improve the lives of average citizens. The Obama-Biden team still has troops in Afghanistan, is participating in several other wars and engages in diplomacy with unfriendly states amounting to no more than delivering ultimatums with open threats of bombing and invasion.
The choice between the two tickets isn't quite as stark as your editorial suggests. Either team will continue the policy failures of the past. With Romney-Ryan, the failures will become more obvious sooner.
John R. Yates
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