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From Paul Ryan's endorsement of Mitt Romney earlier this morning:

I think this primary has been productive. I think it's been constructive up until now. I think it's made the candidates better, but I think we're entering a phase where it could become counterproductive if it drags on much longer. So that's why I think we need to coalesce as conservatives around Mitt Romney and focus on the big task at hand, which is defeating Barack Obama in the fall.
It's amusing to see Mitt Romney get yet another one of these tautological endorsements (Romney has won, therefore I'm endorsing him, because he needs to win), but it's truly hilarious—and as a Democrat, reassuring—to hear Paul Ryan's political analysis.

If he thinks the primary has been "productive" and "constructive," he hasn't been paying attention. Mitt Romney is a far less popular candidate now than he was last June and the Republican brand has been seriously tarnished by the clown show their candidates have put on. In retrospect, President Obama's decision to move his jobs bill speech to another night to avoid preempting last September's first Republican debate looks like a stroke of genius. Putting these guys on display has been their undoing.

So while Ryan is right that continuing the primary would be "counterproductive" for Republicans, he's wrong to suggest that it would "become counterproductive." It already is, and it has been. But as big a liability as their primary might be for Republicans in November, it'll be nothing compared to the radical right-wing agenda that Paul Ryan has advanced. Thanks to him, Republicans—Romney included—have repeatedly gone on record in support of some of the most unpopular ideas in American politics, including, of course, the Republican plan to end Medicare as we know it.

These guys really believe that campaigning on a platform of turning Medicare into a voucher system is a stroke of political genius. Despite all evidence that it's actually a political death wish, they are plowing forward undeterred. Purely on substantive grounds, it's a terrible idea—but as they will learn in November, it's also a political miscalculation of epic proportions. No wonder Democrats are so happy he endorsed Mitt Romney.

Originally posted to The Jed Report on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 07:10 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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