If you tuned in today to hear me celebrating the selection of Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney's running mate you are going to be disappointed. To me, Ryan's selection is no big deal--and may, in fact, hurt the effort to bring sanity back to the Federal budgeting process.
Presidential nominees don't select their Vice Presidential nominees to be policy consultants. They are chosen to shore up holes in the top-of-the-ticket resume. John Kennedy selected Lyndon Johnson because he needed to win Texas. Jimmy Carter tabbed Walter Mondale because he was even more dour and boring than him. Ronald Reagan picked George Bush because he needed to win Texas and other southern states. George Bush tabbed Dan Quayle because he was the only person more milquetoast in Washington. Bill Clinton chose Al Gore to satisfy the far-left wing of the Democratic Party. George W Bush selected Dick Cheney to satisfy the far-right wing of the Republican Party. Barack Obama picked Joe Biden because he was a long-time Democratic Party insider who had been in Washington forever.
Mitt Romney didn't select Paul Ryan because he actually wants to balance the budget, create sustainable entitlement programs and end price-inflating subsidy programs. He picked Paul Ryan in the hopes that it would make Republicans forget about Romneycare, increased entitlement spending in Massachussetts and his stance on abortion. (He also wants to appeal to those of us who can do simple math as well--but more about that tomorrow).
And when was the last time you said "Wow, the Vice President is really leading the way on getting this law passed--or why isn't the Vice President doing more to fix this problem?" You've never said that--because being Number Two in Washington may as well be dead last. It's a dead end position that no longer serves as a springboard to the Oval Office.
And that is why Democrats should be jumping for joy in Paul Ryan's selection as VP. That means he will no longer chair the House Budget Committee--where he actually would have been able to influence spending and taxing decisions. He will no longer be the darling of the Sunday morning talk shows--laying out the numbers that show the Obama Adminstration policies violate the laws of basic mathematics and economics so badly that it's often embarrassing. However, a Mitt Romney loss in November makes Ryan the automatic front-runner for 2016 as the only nationally-known candidate with the guts to fix the even bigger mess that will be left after another four years like the past four years. Maybe that is what Dems are so afraid of.
Anyway, no celebrating here today, as the leader of the fiscal conservative revolution chooses a path that could put him in a corner for a long time.