Bill Kristol has always struck me as an aspiring Fox News version of George Will, a kind neoconservative Republican who would inevitably endorse a Mitt Romney or a Tim Pawlenty or a Newt Gingrich. Oh, sure, he has said some nice things about Sarah Palin in his capacity as a commentator, but having worked in the George H.W. Bush administration, it just seemed logical that he would support the establishment candidate who wouldn't rock the Beltway boat too far in either direction. It seems I was wrong.
It all started when I watched Kristol on Fox News Sunday and heard him call for a ticket that made me want to run out and vote for it tomorrow — make that today! I was only half listening, but since I had the program recorded, I backed it up to make sure I had heard him correctly. Did I really hear Bill Kristol endorse a Ryan-Rubio ticket? As in Paul and Marco? Be still my heart! I'm in! Sign me up! Where do I get my early ballot? The election really can't come soon enough.
For those who may be scratching their heads and asking, "Who?" — allow me to explain. Paul Ryan is the idea man Newt Gingrich only thinks he is. As the chairman of the House Budget Committee, Congressman Ryan (R-Wis.) has been the anti-Obama for the last two years. Not only has he had the guts to put forth a real budget with real numbers that actually work — something Obama and the Dems only talk about — Paul Ryan has offered up a true fix to save Medicare for today's seniors and reform it for future generations. He is adamantly opposed to Obamacare, which is a ticking time bomb set to destroy the whole Medicare system by robbing half a trillion dollars from it. As a pro-life, pro-family social conservative, he should also be acceptable to that wing of the Republican Party.
Then there is Marco Rubio. Forty years old, newly elected U.S. Senator from Florida, former Speaker of the Florida State House of Representatives, this man is a fiscal and social conservative's dream candidate. A first-generation Cuban-American, his parents knew exactly why they came to the United States — liberty! — and they passed that passion on to their very talented and articulate son.
Both these men are Roman Catholics, which could be a problem with a certain segment of evangelical Republicans, but think of the sizzle factor. By this I mean that Barack Obama is going to have a billion dollars, the national media and the slickest demeanor in politics going into his 2012 re-election race next year. The GOP desperately needs to nominate a pair of exciting, passionate, charismatic policy wonks — a rare breed, to say the least, but a perfect description of Ryan and Rubio.
Interestingly, Kristol's Weekly Standard has handicapped the race in such a way that the Republican Party almost has to nominate a Ryan-Rubio ticket — or one like it — to win. According to their analysis, of all the current candidates, Ryan would have the greatest geographical advantage against Obama. In fact, to beat the incumbent president, Congressman Ryan would only have to carry GOP-leaning Florida, Ohio and Virginia, as well as his home state of Wisconsin — all of which went to Obama in 2008 — and we will be calling him President Ryan come January 2013. And what better way to lock down Florida than to put its newest favorite son, Marco Rubio, on the ballot?
In 2008, it was tired, old John McCain versus fresh, new Barack Obama. A creative, pro-growth ticket of Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio pitted against the tired old Socialist rhetoric of Barack Obama and Joe Biden would be a stark contrast indeed. In fact, this may be the GOP's only hope. Whomever the Republican Party nominates, they had better represent the future, not the past.
© 2011 by Doug Patton
Doug Patton describes himself as a recovering political speechwriter who agrees with himself much more often than not. Now working as a freelance writer, his weekly columns of sage political analysis are published the world over by legions of discerning bloggers, courageous webmasters and open-minded newspaper editors.