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Thursday, July 19, 2018


The economic crash of 2008 clearly didn’t help John McCain’s chances of becoming president. But his decision to “suspend” his campaign at the beginning of the crisis is remembered, along with his “game-changing” choice of running-mate Sarah Palin, as the worst strategic blunders of his campaign. The selection of Paul Ryan by Mitt Romney combines both of these blunders into one massive mistake.

You can discern what the Rove-era Republicans view as their most troubling weakness by noting whatever they attack. Their full-court press on the credibility of Joe Biden proves that the right knows Romney’s choice of Ryan hasn’t resulted in a bounce and carries tremendous downside risk.

For months, Romney had vowed to make this election entirely about the economy. And in the heat of August he chose Paul Ryan and changed the game.

Ryan has none of the tabloid drama of a Palin pick. He’s used to answering questions and humoring reporters. His kids aren’t about to become teen parents and/or abstinence spokespersons. But his arrival shook up this campaign in a way that Romney couldn’t have wanted.

With Palin, the burbling celebration curdled into buyer’s remorse within a few weeks after the Republican convention. With Ryan, that same emotion has taken hold among Republican insiders two weeks before their convention.


Image credit: AP Photo/Phil Long