The GOP Base’s Veep Of Choice

Aug 10 2012 @ 1:02pm

by Patrick Appel

Chait argues that "Romney may have no choice but to pick Paul Ryan": 

At this point, joining Ryan to the ticket would be a huge gamble. Romney would be tapping into Ryan’s immense political talent, but giving up on his win-by-default strategy that has taken a beating but might look good again if, say, some international disaster craters the recovery between now and November. In any case, the conservative drumbeat for Ryan has grown so overwhelming that it’s no longer even clear that Romney could turn Ryan down for an Incredibly Boring White Guy, even if he wants to. The Republican Party belongs to Ryan.

I'd still bet on Romney selecting an Incredibly Boring White Guy. But, if Ryan is picked, Ezra Klein thinks Ryan will share blame if the ticket loses:

[I]f Romney chooses Ryan — if he makes this the “big election over big issues” that the Wall Street Journal editorial page wants — then his loss will be their loss as well. He’ll still be blamed, of course. But the fact will remain that he took conservative counsel, adopted conservative ideas, named a conservative hero as his vice president, ran on the Ryan budget, and lost to a liberal. The right will not be able to pretend they weren’t on the ticket. They will have chosen the ticket. The right will not be able to say Romney ran a cautious campaign. They will have cranked his campaign’s strategy up to 11.

Weigel counters:

There are two words missing from this argument. They are "Sarah" and "Palin." Conservative base voters, and some of the movement's elites, are convinced that Sarah Palin boosted the sure-to-lose McCain campaign. The people who donated to McCain in September and October 2008 agree; political scientists disagree. But it's a truly essential article of conservative faith.