When I first heard last night that presumed Republican candidate Mitt Romney was going to name Wisconsin representative Paul Ryan as his running mate, my initial reaction was to think how very plastic pictures of the two of them would appear and how very, well, Republican, of them that would be. I mean, does this look like a Ken and Ken ticket to you or what?
Ok, it's true. I used to joke that I sometimes entertained myself by viewing Fox News Channel so I could laugh at the Republican hair and makeup. I went further. I'd postulate you could tell whether or not a politician was Republican or Democrat by lookin' at nothing more than their hair and makeup and entertained at parties by proving I could.
Ok, the party part of that is only a slight exaggeration, but you know where I'm coming from here, yes? I suppose that in the grand scale of things that makes me a bad person. I mean, laughing at the appearance of another isn't very nice. I could rationalize that it's not really my fault these people feel compelled to appear so plastic and (gasp) controlled (anal?), but the bottom line is mah mama would not like mah manners on this. That bein' said, I'm not sure I'll ever see them together and not think of Mattel.
By this morning, the internet is abuzz with questions about Romney's choice. I personally think it's easy to understand why Mitt and Paul would be a couple now. If you pay any attention to the bizarre world that is the right wing these days, you know Romney has had to outrun his reputation as a liberal within his own party. We endured a primary season during which nothing seemed as important to anyone as that they choose anybody but Romney. So, how'd you like to be a fly on the wall in conference rooms where the train has to immediately change track?
Here's what I think. I think the Ryan choice is Romney's way of telling the critics in his party and the voters that he's really the cold, heartless bastid they want him to be. You know, that whole health care thing back in Massachusetts was all a big mistake, hahahahah, I'm really as mean as any Bachmann or Perry or Gingrich you really wanted to support. Go team R.
Is this good or bad for the Obama camp? Well, what the peeps on the internet are sayin' this morning is that this is a gift for them. First response seems to be the Democrats will have easy pickings with this pair and that they'll be able to exploit their, well, innate insensitivity to what their austerity politics would do to this country.
I think they're being overly optimistic. Wishful thinking, if you will. Let's look at this a minute. Ryan being from Wisconsin is important for more than one reason, not the least of which is the recent recall attempt of Governor Scott Walker. Walker survived that referendum rather handily and I'd take that as a harbinger of the mood in this country right now. I understand fully that outside money spent heavily in Wisconsin for that race, but it is what it is and Walker is still the governor. That's a victory that's held very smugly by the right wing and Ryan is associated with that.
I think there is a considerable segment of our population that is mean spirited now and that they want mean. I think there are those who are secretly (some not so secretly) gloating this morning and this ticket and thinking of it in terms of how they'll "show" all "those people" who think they're "entitled" a thing or two now. Yes, I'm saying I think a part of this country wants mean right now. That's why Romney chose Ryan, because he knows it too.