So I was wrong when I predicted Mitt Romney would pick Pawlenty or Portman.
Instead, House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis) will be his running mate, Romney announced the pick in Virginia this morning.
The choice of Ryan marks the final descent of Mitt Romney into Tea Party hell. Ensnared by his lust for power at all costs, Mr. Etch-a-Sketch has relinquished whatever shreds were left of his claim to an authentic mind of his own.
On its raw politics, picking Ryan is evil brilliance. On its utter disregard for America’s long term economic future and the American values of equal opportunity and justice, it’s just plain evil.
But Romney’s pick does sharpen the choice for voters. The question now is whether Obama will take the opportunity he has been given to define that choice clearly on his terms and to his advantage.
I liked Michael Tomasky’s take:
So he’ll get some good press, and he’ll generate great enthusiasm among conservative intellectuals. But the introduction of [Ryan] to the American people will inevitably involve some other things, too. It will involve explanations from the media that he is the GOP’s archconservative theoretician. It will involve explaining who Ayn Rand is. It will involve going into detail on his budget, and in particular his plans for Medicare. Learn that now, folks, if you don’t know it already. It will involve endless interpretations exactly like mine, about Romney sending a signal that he is running an ultraconservative campaign. The Ryan controversy will overtake the campaign. Romney will become in some senses the running mate—the ticket’s No. 2.
Romney’s Freudian slip calling Ryan “the next president of the United States” at the press conference seems to second that opinion.
Ryan assures an even larger gender gap in November. And most likely a new age gap. So here’s a new prediction: Young women afraid of losing their access to birth control and seniors fearing loss of Medicare may well form the biggest new voting bloc in history. Let the games begin.