What a difference a couple of days can make! Last week there were conservative pundits from coast to coast urging Mittens to dump his entire campaign team and revamp his strategy, because only the most partisan of Republicans could envision a Romney victory in November given Mitt's dismal performances of late.
But yesterday Mitt announced his selection of Rep. Paul Ryan for his running mate, and suddenly EVERYONE! is spastic with excitement about this "dream team."
I hate to be the one to burst their 'optimystical' bubble, but an enthusiasm bump is par for the course when announcements like this are made. Usually, the announcement is made to garner just such a bump, especially when the campaign seems to be sinking in quicksand.
But the choice of Ryan is problematic for Mitt on a couple of levels. First of all, the same people who were critical of Obama's candidacy three years ago due to his lack of foreign policy experience are suddenly trying to sell Romney and Ryan's combined inexperience as an advantage for the Republicans. Noot Gingrich, who blasted Obama's inexperience, is now saying that they'll be better equipped to handle foreign policy headaches because they "aren't part of the current mess."
And then there's Rep. Ryan's vast experience as a legislator to examine. So far, after a decade in Congress, Ryan has seen two of his sponsored bills advance to become law. One was to name a post office in Wisconsin, and the other was a bill to amend the IRS tax code concerning imported arrows. Arrows, as in "bows and arrows." Apparently, one of America's most pressing problems, in Ryan's eyes, was the fact that imported arrows had a sales tax levy imposed. Being a bow hunting enthusiast, Ryan saw that as a legislative priority. He had the code changed so that arrows were taxed at a flat rate of 39 cents each.
Quite a record.
Of course, he's also authored several plans to reform Social Security and Medicare. But Team Romney is already crawfishing away from the specifics of those proposals, because to boldly go where no man has gone before (vouchers for Medicare) would take balls, and we all know better than to think Mitt has a pair.
So what you've got is a candidate for president who's proven adept at saying whatever his current audience wants to hear teaming up with a guy who says some of the most unpopular things anyone could imagine trying to sell to older Americans.
Romney knew better than to select this guy at this time. But Romney was being pilloried by his own base, raked over the coals in a very public display of buyer's remourse, and he had to do something to calm the restless natives who were threatening to abandon his candidacy completely. So he took their "advice" (some might call it a coerced threat) and nominated Paul Ryan to run on his ticket.
Here's what we can expect: Romney's numbers will "soar" in comparison to his tepid poll results of late, and conservatives will swoon. We'll hear a lot of talk about "turning a new corner" in the campaign, and donations will pour in from average people (and not just his millionaire buddies.)
But before the Republican convention begins later this month, those numbers will begin to sag. The convention will give another temporary boost to his campaign... and then it will all begin a long, slow, slog down the drain.
Just read that Ryan will only release two year's worth of tax returns, although he had to provide a hell of a lot more than two years to pass inspection. Just wouldn't do for the Veep to offer up all of his returns when his "boss" is unwilling to share more than the one year (and partial second) he's coughed up.
We've been told all year that this will be a very, very close election, partly because of the economy's woes, and partly because of the influx of unlimited, undocumented cash on the Republican side.
But even with those advantages factored in, along with a highly coordinated effort at nationwide voter suppression, this won't be close. Romney just handed Barack Obama a second term on a platter. And I think Mitt knows it, deep in his heart.
He would have preferred a safe choice, but was instructed to "go bold!"
So he went "bold."
Hide and watch. This won't be close in November.