Friday’s buzz anticipating Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney’s more better vice presidential pick had the meme_ster imagining this delicious possibility. Yet my compassionate conservative side felt a shiver of caution, prompting this entry. Since then, of course, Mr. Romney has announced his decision and the punditry has gone slightly mad recalibrating itself. I will take the liberty of re-posting this, to help stoke the madness.
Yes, it would be a bold move for Mr. Romney who, swashbuckler in business, seems risk-averse in politics. It would definitely feel like a “game changer” at this point.
Ryan would give him the asset of one actual policy position (Ryan’s Path to Poverty budget plan), which is one more than Romney has now.
Ryan would excite the Republican conservative tea party-identified base, and might even drive them to volunteer for the campaign.
Ryan, having been batted around like a catnip mouse by President Obama on several occasions, would have no difficulty with the “attack dog” chores of the VP nominee.
Any help delivering Wisconsin—or any swing state, for that matter—would be extremely useful for Mr. Romney.
Ryan’s rock star status with Ayn Rand fan club members inside Congress and out in the wild would no doubt fill quite a few university library community rooms on the campaign circuit.
And Ryan’s tremendous cred within the House would probably make him an able policy navigator if the ticket is elected.
So why my creepy premonition-type feeling, like I want to warn Romney, out of the goodness of my heart: Don’t do it!
A Romney-Ryan ticket—just feel into it for a moment.
Get what I’m getting?
The “feel” of this ticket brings back the McCain-Palin experience, even though Ryan is in so many ways the antithesis of Palin: He’s smart. He’s experienced. He reads. He has ideas. He speaks in complete sentences. But in weird ways, Romney and Ryan play out the 2008 shudder-fest, even though they flip roles back and forth:
Ryan is young, shiny, a little wild-eyed. Romney, like McCain, “reads” old and boring.
Ryan would turn out excited crowds on the campaign trail. Romney, not so much.
Ryan would be able to answer questions in interviews, something Romney avoids.
Ryan’s the consummate Washington insider. Romney can’t find the Metro.
But like Palin next to McCain, Paul Ryan would outshine Mitt Romney by several magnitudes of glitter, enhanced by the delirious projections of conservative dreamers. And behind Ryan’s riveting eyes is Palin’s rigid adherence to a fantastical ideology, rife with hypocrisy, that evaporates when exposed to the practical need for governance.
To satisfy those who find his loyalty to extremism inadequate, Romney—a serial opportunist like McCain—may grab the gold ring on this carousel, but I don’t think a Ryan choice will serve him well. For every member of the base he picks up (and where else can they go with their Obama-hatred, after all?) he’ll lose a dozen independents.
On the other hand, I’m really hoping he’ll do it.
I like the prospect of 400 blue electoral votes.