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« First Thought on Paul Ryan | Main | Third Thought on Paul Ryan »


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El Jefe

And here's the rub. The thing that you said.

I mean, I see where they where with this. The fact Romney managed to drag his gut across the nomination line despite the fact his own party loathes him (one of the last points of contact with a common humanity many of those folks have) means he and his team aren't completely stupid. Within the limited bounds of their world, I get the logic. They've seen the numbers lately. They know, despite all the fretting by lefties like us and the anxious emails from Team Obama and DFA and the DSCC and so on about the Romney Money Bomb That Will Eat Our Souls, that if the election were held this Tuesday, our guy would win comfortably. Not the thumping of last time, but an Electoral College well into the 320s-330s and a popular majority, a no-questions win. Their answer to that, like moderately intelligent campain ops, was to shore Romney up with the base and pick one of the indelibly blue regions (in this case, the Midwest-less-Klandiana) and try to chip away at it. In the feudalist world they inhabit House Romney ought to deliver the fief of Michigan (because, of course, George=Mitty and junior never said anything mean, vainglorious, and Scroogishly stupid about Detroit) and the Next Serious Man In Washington should be able to pull Wisconsin or at the very least juice the numbers in the red swathes of Ohio. So, a zombie-eyed granny starver (Pierce's inimitable phrase) is, well, just the ticket.

There are three major problems with this:

1) The Republicans are congenitally awful at VP picks. Truly. Ike was not a stupid man, by any stretch, and plenty of the GOP already lay to the right of him in his day. Lots of options besides Richard Effing Nixon. Who does he pick? Richard Effing Nixon. Spiro Agnew? Really? And Ford spent the rest of his life kicking himself for ditching Rockefeller -- who, to be fair, was loathed by more of the emergent modern-GOP base than even Betty Ford, bless her -- in favor of Bob "Democrat Wars" Dole. (We forget the '76 campaign at our loss, it was a barn-burner in times relatively similar to our own. Among other things we forget how, along with Ford's famous "no Soviet domination" gaffe, Fritz Mondale helped pull Carter's fading star out of the fire by being a mild-mannered Minnesotan versus Dole's eye-twitching Jack D. Ripper impression in the VP debate.) Quayle? Good Lord. Cheney? Pass me a stake and find a nice crossroads to bury the body. The less said about Princess Dumbass of the Northwoods the better. The only real success was Reagan's with Poppy Bush. Another of the annoyingly successful things about the old bastard.

2) This is *Mitt Romney* we're talking about here. A politician who *everybody* hates the more they see of him, which is exactly what's been happening to his numbers in the last six weeks. And he has created a situation which demands classic political skills -- being all things to a large chunk of the electorate. Requires deftness, and more than that, requires likeability. Romney has large amounts of neither. Despite Our Guy's genuine nous on the campaign trail, and boy does he have it as much as he doesn't in pushing legislation through like a chief executive, we are greatly helped by the Republican batting order. This is not their "B" team. The last "B Team" the GOP had was Poppy and his Second Coming of the Ford Administration. C-Minus Augustus was nicknamed well. Now, we're on to somewhere like "G" or "H" in the order. His announcement gaffe is the shape of things to come.

3) One of the two groups Romney to whom Romney must pivot are well described by a phrase that sounds like "nucking futs." Just when Romney needs to grin that Cylon grin and try to soothe greedy-but-not-crazy suburbanites hit by the recession, he puts a zombie-eyed granny starver on his ticket, a Randian true believer. At the same time, the very fact he needed to just indicates *more* to the breathtakingly paranoid core GOP voters that he's some kind of socialist Trojan Horse, buying them off with one of their own in the second spot. That's how crazy they are. And there exists this thing called "the Internet," which will do a nice job of recording his pitifully ingratiating efforts to convince these two dissimilar groups that he's on their side. Just collect the sound bites and show them to the other bunch. In moments of crisis, historically, Americans want either an air of command or a sense of authenticity. Guess which one Mittens has? Yes, that would be "neither."

Also, just to say again, Ryan totally looks like Peter Lorre in M. Also, strangely, like Bartok the Bat in Anastasia.

El Jefe

And, as if on cue, Yahoo!News, which is slightly to the right of the AP (ye gods), fesses up that Ryan's selection may "help put Florida back in play" (here's a hint -- despite the Gubna's fiercest efforts to reinstitute the poll tax Florida was already in play, because Mittens is death to favorability ratings.) I suppose, in a world where the same news wire claims we will have to suffer through a big-screen version of the TV show "ALF" (remind me to rip into you about your mild affection for the Eighties some time :) this will have to suffice for now.

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