I’ve never been a big fan of Governor Mitt Romney. I find his principles too negotiable and moderate. But he changed things up with his VP pick.

Paul Ryan is a credible and reliable conservative.  He is not perfect, however; it’s true that Ryan voted against conservative principles when it came to TARP, the Medicare prescription bill, and the auto industry. These bills added almost $2 trillion dollars of additional government spending (the auto bailout at a $25.1 billion, the Medicare bill at $1.2 trillion, and TARP at $700 billion). These are clearly not cuts to government spending.

So why do I (and other conservatives) like Paul Ryan so much?  It’s simple. Mr. Ryan gets it.  This election requires boldness and leadership. The Republican from Wisconsin offers both.

Mr. Ryan is the man that began the conversation on entitlement spending.  In other words, Congressman Ryan talks about the 62% of entitlement spending in the federal budget according to the Office of Management and Budget rather than the relatively miniscule funding of Planned Parenthood, NPR, or foreign aid.  Ryan’s fellow Congressman Frank Wolf is right — “every penny of the federal budget will go to interest on the debt and entitlement spending by 2025.” In order for the U.S. to cut the national debt and return to an era of prosperity and global leadership, we have to address that ever increasing 62% entitlement rate.

And Congressman Ryan delivered big when it came to the budget.

Ryan’s budget, entitled “Path to Prosperity,” was rated by the CBO, which concluded that Congress would balance the budget by 2030 if it were to adopt his ideas. Ryan’s budget would change the way government spends on entitlements. That’s the important part of Ryan’s biography, not the votes on TARP, auto bailouts or Medicare.

Ryan’s budget makes a set of very substantial conservative and necessary reforms: Medicaid would become a state grant and would be transformed into a voucher system for those under the age of 55 (a system similar to that which Congressmen enjoy), social security would be reformed by adopting the Simpson-Bowles commission’s ideas, and tax reform would be enacted by lowering tax rates and eliminating tax loopholes which many big corporations enjoy.  Democrats would like people to think that Ryan’s proposal threatens seniors’ healthcare, ends social security, and gives tax breaks to big businesses. Refusing to talk about tax reform or entitlement spending like President Obama does is what is threatens seniors and social security.  In fact, President Obama is the one treating America’s situation, not Congressman Ryan.

Where is Obama’s proposal on entitlements?  Ryan at least has a vision. Ryan has the conservative and brave vision for this country. That’s why Romney picked him and that’s why conservatives can’t get enough of him. Democrats should propose a plan and contribute to the debate on entitlement spending. They should come up with a budget wonk for their side if they want to be honest with the American public. This can be a great election if both sides would just talk about what matters. Right now, only the Republicans are addressing the issue of the national debt.  Romney addressed it by picking Ryan.  The Ryan pick solidifies Romney’s conservative message and assures the American people that he is serious about changing the way things are done in Washington. Romney couldn’t have picked a better candidate.

So conservatives, take a deep breath. Get enthusiastic about Romney; we have a good ticket. President Obama does not offer a positive vision for this country. He offers more of the same; more spending, more taxes, and a bigger government. Haven’t we had enough of that for four years?  Or eight years under the Bush Administration where government ran amuck?  We have a clear contrast from Romney/Ryan and Obama/Biden.

I believe the country is ready for leadership. It’s now a matter of who can step up to the plate and deliver it. Gimmicks, scares, and non-existent plans dumb our debate. Let’s talk about where the spending matters and get America back to prosperity.

Alex Uzarowicz | Knox College | @AUzarowicz