I’ve read a lot today about Mitt Romney’s pick of Paul Ryan for the VP spot on his ticket. The best was Paul Krugman referring to them as Gekko and Galt: the “greed is good” character from Wall Street and the demigod from Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. But overall, nothing I read sounded correct. To me, the pick of Paul Ryan was forced on Romney by the Republican establishment. But this was not done because they thought it was a winning ticket. Quite the opposite.
I think the Republican establishment has decided that Romney will lose this election. The pick of Ryan is a way to pull their hero into the national spotlight. Although it is hard for political junkies to understand: the vast majority of the nation has no idea who he is. This is the opportunity to set Paul Ryan up for a presidential run in 2016. They think he will be Reagan 2.0.
If they were really smart, these power brokers would have gotten Ryan nominated this year. This is the best chance for a really vile candidate like Ryan (or Romney) to get elected. In another four years under Obama, the economy will very likely be doing quite well. And this will provide Hillary Clinton with an excellent chance to be the next president.
Of course, it is still possible that Romney will win this election. But I don’t think the Ryan choice has anything to do with this. I’m sure the thinking is: great if Romney wins, but let’s make the best of the likely loss. As usual, the conservatives are overplaying their hand. They think that if the people just get exposed to Ryan and his “ideas,” they will love them. I think things are just the opposite. I’m glad that Paul Ryan will get more attention. He deserves more attention—just not the kind the Beltway pundits like to give him.
Mark Thoma has put together a great set of Paul Krugman articles about Paul Ryan that are very much worth reading.
Update (12 August 2012 6:47 pm)
Although I have not read it, it appears my idea is not novel: