Yeah. Late to the party. Whatever.
It's pretty much a given that the Ryan pick represents a feeling that Romney wasn't holding his base. Traditionally, you pick a VP who fills some of the holes in your resume. Ryan is a complete hand-over to the conservative base who had been demanding in recent weeks that he get the slot.
I think that the sense was that by picking Ryan, they make it a contest of ideas rather than popularity. IMO, it's not a bad choice. Actually, I think it's a very good choice.
The flip side of this is that whatever pretend-moderate stances Romney might have taken are tossed out the window. He has aligned himself with an unpopular budget that dismantles Medicare and refuses to raise revenues to combat the nation's debt/deficit problems. Obama had been hoping to run against Ryan and now he has his chance.
I think that this may be a case of being careful of what you wish for, because you might just get it. I suspect that the tipping point for the decision of Ryan as VP was related to what we were talking about last week with polling. I watched some panel yesterday talking about it, and I guess that the NYT did a piece basically saying that this was what the Dems wanted because then they could make the election about ideas instead of Obama's record. But I think that the Romney camp realized (or feared) that the Left has sufficient influence with the media to run a successful distraction campaign right up to the election, effectively allowing them to avoid having to defend Obama's record anyway. Simply by bringing up a different negative attack on Romney and the GOP each week, they could potentially have pulled that off.
Basically, they don't want to have the public looking at Obama's economic performance and asking if someone else could do better. But with Ryan, they have a target to attack (his budget plans), that appears all tasty and fun. But I suspect it'll backfire. Because if they engage on that front, that gives the Romney campaign the toe in the door they need to make it about economics at least, and not who treats dogs worse, or who's filed how many years of returns, or whether someone's policies/actions resulted in someone dying. Get the Dems to engage on something related to economics, and it gives the Romney campaign the opportunity to contrast their plan with the absence of a plan on the Left. They can point to 3 years of no budgets from the Democrats. They can point to the lack of leadership from Obama.
I think the Dems will not be able to help themselves but to attack Ryan on his budget plans and along the way Romney on Bain. And I think that will ultimately help the GOP.
I don't know if Romney had a "better" option available. He was losing the election and a forgettable VP pick wasn't going to make him lose any less. But Romney is pretty boring and forgettable himself and this race may well turn into Obama vs Ryan just as last election was dominated by Obama vs Palin with McCain slipping towards the back. Ryan isn't Palin in that he can probably conduct himself better, is smarter and hopefully can name what newspapers he reads but Romney (intentionally or not) has just sidelined himself in relevance this campaign.
I think that the Left is making the mistake of thinking this is more about the people than the policies. Polling numbers today
aside (which are more about popularity), the last couple years have shown a voting public increasingly disappointed with more empty rhetoric and increasingly demanding actual plans and results. I think that the Ryan pick puts the Romney campaign firmly into the "we've go the ideas and solutions", and makes this an easy comparison between the guys who have those ideas and solutions and the guys who just hope they can distract Americans from their problems with clever rhetoric. It signals that Romney isn't going to just run on surface level politics, but will attempt to show that his team has skill and capability while the other side just looks pretty.
Oh. And Ryan will absolutely decimate Biden in any sort of debate. In an environment where the public demands straight talk, Ryan walks away with the win here.