Paul Jacob
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Maybe it was the smile that spread across my face, or the extra bit of jubilance with which I poured my cup of coffee, but whichever telltale mannerism alerted her, my daughter certainly noticed. Our telescreen had just announced that U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) had been chosen by Mitt Romney to run as his Vice Presidential running mate.

“Is he good?” she asked.

Frankly, the budget-hawk Wisconsin congressman was immediately apparent as the best of the major party four: Obama, Biden, Romney, Ryan. Not even close, to be sure.

Figuring my little sunbeam didn’t want a 30-minute explanation, that’s basically what I told her.

Yes, I like Paul Ryan. You know, for a politician. Why? Because he, at least, is seriously talking about our country’s most severe concern: unsustainable government spending. Unlike so many mealy-mouthed Washington politicians, Ryan has crunched the numbers and written a budget blueprint that offers a more-or-less responsible way to restructure in-the-red programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

However, as I explained in my Common Sense e-letter, Ryan’s budget doesn’t balance for decades — possibly a half century. Solving the problem of debt mostly later, after many of us are dead and gone, sorta seems like a cop-out.

Not as much as having no plan or budget or clue at all is a bigger cop-out, mind you, so by Washington standards Ryan remains a giant.

But what about by our standards? By the standards of the electorate, or Republicans, or conservatives, or libertarians?

A sign posted and re-posted on Facebook, reads: “Paul Ryan voted for TARP, the auto bailouts, Medicare expansion, housing subsidies, unemployment extension, a national ID, making the Patriot Act permanent, surveillance without a warrant, No Child Left Behind, keeping troops in Iraq indefinitely, the 2008 and 2009 stimulus? Sounds perfect for Romney.”

It dawns on me, especially when explaining political reality to my children, that political reality just really stinks.

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Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.