As a rule, when your opponents seem really happy about your choice in running mates, it’s fair to say you’ve made a provocative choice.
And this morning, Democrats are practically giddy, unable to believe their good fortune.
Three different sources close to the Romney campaign indicate to NBC News that Mitt Romney will announce House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan as his vice-presidential running mate at tomorrow’s campaign event in Norfolk, VA.
The announcement will be in front of the U.S.S. Wisconsin – which just happens to be Ryan’s home state.
With recent national polls showing Romney trailing President Barack Obama, Ryan is a bold pick.
“Bold” is certainly one way to look at it.
Readers may recall that I tend to think running-mate choices fall into one of three categories: Augusts, Novembers, and Januaries. If a nominee picks a January, he or she is looking for someone who can help govern once inaugurated. If he or she picks a November, the nominee is picking a running mate intended to help win the general election. And if the candidate picks an August, he or she is trying to bring a party together and satisfy intra-party demands.
Paul Ryan is an August. Romney, who never quite made the transition from the primaries to the general election, has been subjected to heavy pressure from conservatives to choose the right-wing House member, and it appears the lobbying campaign was successful. The Republican nominee still feels the need to satisfy the demands of his base, and Romney isn’t in a strong enough position to disappoint them.
As a result, both the left and right have the Republican running mate they hoped for – Romney has picked the architect of a radical, Medicare-crushing budget plan, debated by the least popular Congress since the dawn of modern polling. Indeed, it’s fair to say the radical Ryan budget helped make this Congress so widely disliked, which makes his VP nomination that much more remarkable.
For months, Democrats have been trying to inject the “Romney-Ryan plan” into the political bloodstream, and now, the Republicans’ presidential candidate has made Dems’ job easier. The Obama campaign hoped to make Ryan Romney’s effective running mate, never expecting the GOP candidate to make this literal.
The result is a dynamic that was hard to predict. Romney isn’t even trying to reach out to moderate voters; he’s taking the most far-right candidacy in modern American history and turning it to 11.
Postscript: Just as an aside, this will be the first Republican ticket in American history not to have a Protestant. Romney’s a Mormon and Ryan is Roman Catholic.