Analysts may be correct that the presidential election won’t primarily turn on entitlements reform, but by choosing Paul Ryan as his running mate, Mitt Romney can, contrary to conventional wisdom, make it a winning issue and lay the foundation for a reform mandate when he wins.

Besides, the economy and entitlements are wholly integrated issues: We cannot ultimately fix the economy long term without entitlement reform, and we can’t balance the budget or retire the debt without a growing economy.

Democrats appear jubilant about the Ryan pick, believing his close association with entitlement reform provides an opening for them to scare seniors into thinking they’ll lose Medicare and Social Security benefits.

But what they haven’t factored in, or are pretending to deny, is that Ryan’s presence on the ticket ensures that Romney and Ryan will tackle the entitlements issue head on and that Democrats will not have the luxury of merely fear mongering. They’ll have to deal with the substance of these issues, and this is a battle they cannot win, because the facts are their foe. Let’s examine these facts briefly.