By Newt Gingrich
By picking Paul Ryan as his vice presidential candidate, Governor Romney may have set the stage for the clearest election choice since William McKinley defeated William Jennings Bryan in 1896.
In 1896 Democrats chose the youngest nominee in history. William Jennings Bryan won the nomination at 36 as a Populist, anti-industrial, anti-urban candidate. Bryan was a brilliant, compelling orator. He called for “grass to grow in the streets” and condemned the emerging industrial, urban America. His demagogic spirit of negative campaigning and class warfare deeply influences the Democratic Party to this day.
McKinley was the calm, sober, well organized advocate of an urban, industrial America. His symbol was the full lunch pail. He developed a deliberate contrast with Bryan’s frantic campaigning and emotional speeches by waging a “front porch” campaign. Bryan’s campaign literally transported hundreds of thousands of voters by train to McKinley’s home in Canton, Ohio in the best organized campaign in American history.
The modern world decisively defeated the divisive, retrograde Bryan campaign. Americans voted for jobs, technological change, and an optimistic future of prosperity and achievement.
Governor Romney has now boldly set the stage for a similar big choice election.
The Ryan vice presidential nomination virtually guarantees that this will be a big issues, big choice election. It creates a stark contrast with the petty, negative, gotcha politics the Obama campaign devolved into during June and July.
Governor Romney’s first major decision as a presidential candidate is historic, courageous, and bold. He has clearly decided that the American people deserve a campaign that focuses on facts, outlines proposals, and offers an alternative to Obama’s vision for a European-socialist style future. Obama and the entire Left (including much of the elite media) will try to turn this into a referendum on a false, distorted and dishonest version of Paul Ryan’s proposals. For example, every effort to frighten seniors over Medicare will collapse if Republicans repeat consistently and intensely that none of the proposals effect anyone over 55. If you hear a Democrat trying to frighten seniors over Medicare you know they are lying. It is that simple.
The actual choice will be much bigger than the budget.
The real choice is between an “Obama normal” and Romney prosperity.
The Obama Normal
Many columnists and analysts of the left write and talk about a “new normal.” They would like people to believe that the current economic disaster ( the worst recovery in 75 years) is simply the way things will remain. After all, from their perspective, if it is “normal” then it can’t be Obama’s fault.
There is no ” new normal,” however. This is the “Obama normal.”
The lasting unemployment, the economy so bad that the work force has been shrinking dramatically, the number of young people who can’t repay their student loans because they can’t find work–all these are the consequences of terrible government policies imposed by Obama and the left.
Obama can’t credibly campaign promising prosperity because he has had four years in office and has the worst economic record of any president in three-quarters of a century.
If Obama knew how to create prosperity he would have done so. And if you want an idea of where the Obama normal is headed, consider what big government, big bureaucracy, and centralized political power have done in Europe. Youth unemployment in Greece hit 54 percent this month.
Compare the extraordinary first term achievements of President Reagan and the strength of the recovery which propelled him to an easy re- election in 1984 with the continuing stagnation, high unemployment, bankrupt cities, and hopelessness of the Obama Presidency.
The Romney Prosperity
The real goal of the Romney Plan for a Stronger Middle Class is to create a generation of full employment and growing take home pay.
The Romney vision for America is very much like that of Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp.
Like those great conservative leaders, Romney believes that if you have a job and you have rising take home pay, you can take care of your family, work as a volunteer in your neighborhood and build a decentralized free society of enormous potential.
The contrast with the Obama model could not be sharper.
Romney believes in a bigger economy, more jobs and take home pay and a smaller government (which is essential to create the environment that allow the economic growth and increased prosperity).
Obama believes in a bigger government creating greater dependency, which inevitably results in fewer jobs, less growth, and as a result less prosperity.
The Obama model is self-fulfilling. By increasing the size of government, it kills jobs.
By increasing the amount of red tape and regulations from Washington bureaucrats, it discourages entrepreneurs.
By waging class warfare and attacking the successful, it disheartens those who might have started a new company or worked a little bit harder.
Having guaranteed dependency the Obama normal then asks people to vote to continue being dependent. Big government becomes an end in itself because under the Obama normal there is no alternative.
The remarkable thing about Governor Romney’s bold choice of Paul Ryan is that it guarantees this will be the most principled, philosophical and policy driven election of modern times.
Since the left will be doomed to defeat within the facts (after all, the Obama normal is a disaster for average Americans), the left will be forced to engage in the most dishonest, demagogic campaign since William Jennings Bryan in 1896.
The challenge for Romney, Ryan, and the Republicans will be to have the skill, the persistence, and the clarity to trump lies with facts, falsehoods with truth, and desperation with optimism.
This will be an election for the history books.
The choice of the American people will define our country for decades to come.
[Be sure to tune into the Republican National Convention tonight to hear Speaker Gingrich speak at 6PM.]