Mitt Romney made a smart executive decision selecting Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate. Ryan's genial personality, serious policy wonkery and political courage have dazzled conservatives and won respect even in a few liberal circles. Romney scores points for political courage as well. He knew liberal politicians and journalists would talk in punishing terms about Ryan's budget ideas.
They did not disappoint. It took only minutes for the onslaught to begin. At the same time liberal media outlets acknowledge the country now faces two opposing visions of government, why is only the Romney-Ryan vision "polarizing" and "extreme"?
To be sure, Ryan's early press clips weren't terrible when compared to the immediate viciousness that greeted Sarah Palin four years ago. Still, reporters predictably unloaded with the Freddy-Krueger talk of "budget-slasher" and Ryan "ripping" into the middle class.
Start with ABC's Bianna Golodryga. On Sunday, she announced, "New battle lines have been drawn after Mitt Romney chose conservative congressman and budget-slasher Paul Ryan as his running mate." This is not only wrong, but it's also a classic example of ABC's partisan shamelessness. Golodryga is married to former Obama budget director Peter Orszag.
Then came ABC's David Kerley, unloading all the Democratic-National-Committee talking points: "Sen. Harry Reid claimed that the pick of Ryan caters to the far right rather than standing with the middle class. Others called Ryan extreme. The ticket, a match made in millionaires' heaven. Ryan, the author of disastrous budgets."
The next day, ABC's David Muir added "Ryan is known in the political world for his controversial budget plan that would call for steep cuts and the Obama campaign said it would change Medicare as we know it."
On CNN, Obama-loving Soledad O'Brien asked Gov. Robert McDonnell "how does a Paul Ryan pick help you with that when you look especially at the budget which, you know, looks really closely and rips out a lot of the entitlement spending which will affect the middle class. I think that could be potentially a big problem, wouldn't it?"
On CBS, Bob Schieffer insisted, "There's some really tough stuff in there. I mean, he really slashes into social programs ... in order to try to get this budget back into balance." On NBC, Peter Alexander painted Ryan as "the architect of a politically polarizing budget plan to slash trillions in federal funding, including cuts to Medicare."