Since Mitt Romney's running mate Paul Ryan is such a famous budget hawk, you can expect the political attacks on him (and by him) to be some of the wonkiest in a presidential election memory. Ryan's economic skills already thrown into the spotlight, with help from both sides. But just because the focus is now trained on complicated budget maneuvers that doesn't mean this campaign is going to lose its bitter partisan attacks. It's still a sound-bite war; the bites are just a bit more technical.
At The New York Times, Paul Krugman has been attacking Ryan's budget knowledge for years. Just today, he wrote that Ryan "has shown no competence at all on the numbers thing," but that he's been able to trick reporters into covering him as a thoughtful economic conservative. From within the Obama camp, the attacks on Ryan's economic prowess are even more basic. Speaking on CBS This Morning Monday, senior Obama adviser David Axelrod attacked both Ryan's and Romney's budgets as equally destructive: "For the middle class it’s like a choice between a punch in the nose and a knee to the groin."
Meanwhile, right-wing sites such as Free Republic and Townhall have been boasting of Ryan's economic savvy, flogging this video from 2010 in which Ryan "destroys" President Barack Obama's health care plan in a single question. (The pull-quote from Ryan: "Hiding spending doesn't reduce spending.") The video most people are sharing, however, doesn't include Barack Obama's response to Ryan, in which he makes the case that the private-partnering Medicare Advantage program, for which Ryan was arguing, hasn't been shown to save taxpayers money or make seniors healthier. See it for yourself starting at about 55:45 in the original C-Span video, below.
In the end, we're right back where we started, with neither side "destroyed" and both throwing around a lot of very technical arguments. Voters better brush up on their math skills.