The Insiders' Candidate

Paul Ryan Is a Great Choice

Paul Ryan's appeal as veep is to 30 right-wing Beltway insiders. Pick him, Mitt!

By which I mean, Paul Ryan would be a terrible choice for vice president, so by all means, Mitt, proceed!

It seems there's a division of opinion over Ryan in GOP circles between what Politico calls the "go bold crowd" and the "cautious corner." I have somewhat different names for them. How about the totally Beltwayized and out of touch with America clique versus the people who retain some remnants of common sense?

Ryan would be a disaster. Why would Romney intentionally tie himself to the man who wants to destroy Medicare? It's bad enough for him that he's endorsed Ryan's budget. We're not hearing much about this yet, but everyone in politics expects that this will be a big Obama attack line in October.

The only thing Ryan has going for him, as that one poll found a little while ago that I can't seem to find this morning, is that a near-majority of people don't actually believe that Ryan has proposed what he's proposed because it's all so radical that people don't believe a politician would propose such things.

Someone once said of the Iraq war that it never would have happened if 30 important neoconservatives and neoliberals hadn't been for it. This is kind of like that. Ryan's appeal is almost strictly to conservative intellectuals and their wannabees. It's a ridiculous, feather-headed idea, the kind of thing that conservatives like to make fun of liberals about, for being out of touch. And mark my words: He would hurt--yes, hurt--the ticket in Wisconsin. Not that it's much up for grabs anyway, but he would.

Tapping Ryan would very unusual for the risk-averse Romney, but boy, if this is the one risk he decides to take, will it be revealing of his character and his priorities for the country. The one "bold" thing he does is aimed at pleasing Bill Kristol and 29 other Beltway insiders who want to privatize the universe. As the man once said, bring it on!