The selection of Paul Ryan for the VP slot on the Republican Presidential ticket is a bit of a surprise. I never considered Ryan to be a serious contender for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that he isn’t qualified to be President if the need arises and I don’t see the possibility of Ryan enduring as an heir apparent leader of the Republican Party. I don’t see the logic in it, unless the purpose is to flip Wisconsin, and even then it seems like a silly reason for the choice. It won’t matter to win Wisconsin if we lose Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania or a handful of other swing states.
On the upside, if Romney manages to pull off a win despite his pick of a hyper-partisan for VP, we will have one liquidationist Republican plucked out of the House leadership and put on ice. Ryan has, at least once, threatened to strip the Fed of its full employment mandate. Not that it makes much material difference in the present because the Fed is currently ignoring it anyway, but it’s the thought of locking in this terrible economic situation as the new normal that counts. Ryan would certainly be a roadblock to Romney rebuilding the economy if Republicans see huge gains in November and that might have had something to do with this choice, especially if he wants to recreate the magic of the Reagan years. But we don’t know who will take Ryan’s leadership role once he’s gone. The liquidationists might be just like the glamour boys; take one out and another one just takes his place.
On a more personal note, I felt a bit of despair when I heard the news of the VP pick with my first thought being that Romney just lost. I could be wrong, and I hope I am, but if Romney can’t get out there and tell voters who Ryan is before the Democrats do, it will be game, set, and match. Newt Gingrich made a valid point about Ryan’s entitlement reform; first you have to win the argument and then you win the vote. They can’t just go making massive changes to those programs without having a vigorous public debate about the particulars which is exactly what Paul Ryan tried to do. The Democrats got a huge political boost from it, running ads of a Paul Ryan lookalike wheeling an old lady over the cliff. It will come back to haunt them, and if they can’t make the case for what they want to do before the Democrats successfully demagog them for trying, there’s no hope.
I’m not thrilled about Romney in any sense, but given that Obama has done nothing with the Fed, and doesn’t seem to understand why we’re in such miserable economic shape I don’t look forward to the possibility of his reelection. He’s had his chance and blew it. He needs to go while I take my chances with Romney. Romney couldn’t possibly make it worse, but Obama would with his tax plan while the Fed is stubbornly clinging to its deflation targeting.
One other reason for despair is that the exception to horrendous economic conditions persisting with the presiding President being voted out of office over the course of US history is FDR; and Obama isn’t the charismatic leader FDR was. He is a bit charismatic, but certainly lacking in the leadership department that has nasty side effects like bureaucratic departments all out of control and doing their own things, including the Fed. We don’t have to put up with this, and I am at a loss as to how Obama can be ahead anywhere when even my cat would be an improvement. Romney’s got a problem, one that many conservatives warned of during the primaries that Romney’s social status makes him difficult to sell as someone who can relate with average Joe. He’s not the kind of person people get excited about and unless people get even more excited about seeing Obama go, Romney will likely lose and his VP pick isn’t going to change that.