Well if it ends up being true, Mitt will announce Paul Ryan as his running mate sometime early this morning.
So much for the “etch-a-sketch” theory. Aside from Santorum I can’t immediately think of anyone he could have plausibly picked who would signal that he’s doubled-down on his newly found extreme conservatism than Randian Ryan.
I can only conclude that the “tack-back-to-the-center-after-the-primaries” strategy is now abandoned completely. Not that Romney’s people ever sounded like that’s where they were headed anyway — most of that speculatron punditry was coming from the legions of, well, pundits, and pundits who it seems to me have yet to fully grasp how complete the colonization of the GOP now is.
Ryan has less experience in running large organizations of any kind than even Sarah Palin, if we can imagine that. No diplomatic or foreign policy experience worth mentioning at all either. He did work at McDonalds at one time, I seem to remember reading somewhere. And he did vote for TARP, the Iraq war, and Medicare part D, all of which contributed to increased spending.
I need to think about this some more, and the middle of the night, having been woken up by some critter crashing about outside (a bear, I think, stripping the berries off a serviceberry tree) is not the time to do it, but shooting from the hip here it looks like Romney is reaching for a hand grenade in an attempt to get back in the game of controlling the message. One thing this does do is sharpen the contrast between the two alternatives. Oh sure, there are others — libertarian and green candidates etc — but we all know either Obama or Romney is going to be President, so they’re not alternatives at all, but merely possible places to cast a vote. Away.
The factions who have insisted that this race be about ideology, about the contrast between preserving and improving the remnants of the New Deal, and the Randian/Austrian School vision of shrinking the public sector to as close to zero as possible, look like they have won, because that’s certainly what it’s going to be about now.
Nothing new there in principle, but it is now out in the open more than ever before. The old excuse than we have heard periodically about how Romney’s record as governor of Mass shows him to be more “liberal” than he’s sounded throughout the primary campaign now has no legs at all. He’s gone full-metal “magic hand of the market” in a pretty unambiguous way.
Ryan does come with a plan — the much fetishized “Ryan Plan” — which does indeed fill a space that has heretofore been left empty in Romney’s campaign, and he brings a certain personality into the mix, a space also unoccupied up until now. How all that might play out is beyond my clairvoyant abilities at 3 am, however..
I’ll enjoy reading your first impressions. I guess I need to bone up on Ryan’s stated positions. I do recall he’s for privatizing anything that moves, particularly Social Security, and eviscerating Medicare.