Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Politically, Paul Ryan is a proving to be a worse choice as a vice-presidential nominee than even Sarah Palin.

Sure, Ryan may be able to name the newspapers he reads, mark up an Appropriations bill and charm reporters. But where Sarah Palin added energy to John McCain’s ticket — briefly skyrocketing the 2008 GOP nominee past candidate Obama in the polls — any boost Ryan offered was marginal and quickly faded away.

Conservatives have already started the second-guessing of the Ryan choice, suggesting that Ohio’s Senator Rob Portman would be a huge asset in the Buckeye state, where Romney seems to be getting trounced. Medicare was a huge advantage for Republicans in 2010 and suddenly — thanks to Ryan’s signature budget that majorly revamps the program — the president is more trusted to preserve the program in swing states.

And what has Ryan added to the ticket?

Perhaps he’s prevented a complete revolt by the right-wing base when Romney does things like praising his health care plan, which inspired Obamacare? But if Romney is still worried about his base, he might as well save his anonymous donors a few million and pack it in.

Putting Paul Ryan on the ticket was just one of Mitt Romney’s terrible mistakes. But this mistake may be the best thing that has happened to our broken political process in years.

Let me explain.

From the moment Mitt Romney announced Ryan as his running mate, the congressman has been running from specifics of his famed Ryan Budgets, which had made him the darling of the conservative movement. This was to be expected… and a bit ironic, as Romney had adopted nearly all of Ryan’s ideas when his campaign was crumbling in the primary.

Ryan’s downfall began when his harmless fib about his marathon time was closely followed by a widely panned convention speech where his disregard for the truth came off as deliberate and invidious. This immediately cut into his image as someone who told “hard truths.” Instead he used half-truths and flat-out lies in order to make an unprincipled case against the president.

Was Ryan really arguing that the president hadn’t intervened in the private sector enough to keep one GM plant open, though he’d saved hundreds? No, the veep hopeful was trying to score cheap points.