---- — Mitt Romney's choice of Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate raises the stakes in the Republican candidate's race against Barack Obama and makes it even more clear we face a transformative election in 2012.
That's why we welcome Romney's decision to run with Ryan. We will have a stark choice to make between the Romney-Ryan and Obama-Biden tickets.
Romney up to now has been all about the economy.
Can a turnaround specialist and unabashed capitalist halt our economic slide or do we stay the course with Obama's Democratic formula of more government stimulus and increasing dependency? The selection of Ryan also makes this election about our long-term future and the bedrock principles of our republic.
Romney could have played it safe, as many expected he would, by picking the bland Ohio Sen. Rob Portman or Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
Instead, he made the bold decision to double down on his challenge to Obamaism by picking a man who has become a lightning rod for opponents of reform.
Ryan is a 42-year-old, seven-term member of Congress who leapfrogged more senior members of his party to become chairman of the House Budget Committee.
In that position, he has not been afraid to confront the harsh fiscal reality we face as a nation, including the ballooning entitlements that threaten to overwhelm future generations. Nor has he been unwilling to offer a detailed plan to deal with the issues we face.
For that, he has been demonized by Democrats as a right-wing zealot who wants to dismantle Medicare and stick it to the middle class, the old and the poor while pampering the fat cats.
Ryan, a serious, intelligent and articulate man, has proven himself more than capable of answering these cartoonish attacks. But no doubt they will continue and even intensify in the 85 days that remain until the election.
Bring it on, we say.
We welcome a vigorous debate over clashing ideas and hope voters will pay close attention to what the candidates stand and where they would take our republic and choose accordingly. This time, it seems, there's a real choice to be made.
North Andover, Mass.