What does the Paul Ryan pick really mean?
Every election we get all fired up when the VP pick is announced, but why? The 24 hour news networks have to fill time and we all understand that. But why do we get so caught up in it election after election? How short are our memories? What has a VP ever meant to any of us? How many Vice Presidents can you name that didn’t take over as President that were truly impactful? Cheney and??? How many can you name at all? How many can you name that lost in an election? Who gives a shit?!
The pick is important in certain cases, no doubt. McCain choosing Palin was important. McCain was 72 years old and a former prisoner of war. The Cheney pick was important because Bush was lazy and in over his head and he knew it. (Cheney actually picked himself if you’ll recall…) But in all other cases in recent history the VP pick has been largely unimportant. What has Joe Biden meant to your life for the last four years? Are we worried about a guy who’s never had a drink keeling over before he’s 70?
I won’t argue that the VP is entirely meaningless. Only that it is usually meaningless and absolutely over-hyped.
But more important than the pick itself is what it says about Mitt Romney. Indeed, the pick proves what we already knew. Romney is insecure about his Conservatism. So insecure in fact, that he made a horrible strategic decision in choosing Paul Ryan.
The strategy, as the RNC calls it—and rationale, I say—is that Mitt needed Ryan to “energize the base.” I must have missed something. This is the same base that believes a Kenyan Socialist is systematically dismantling the Constitution, right? The same base that goes to rallies holding signs of Obama with the Hitler ‘stache? The same base that won’t abide another penny of taxes for the wealthy? These are the people who weren’t going to make it to the voting booth to vote out the most hated Democratic President of all time?
I call bullshit. Whether they’re voting against Obama or for Romney is inconsequential. The result is the same. The base is coming out en masse this November. However fragile Romney’s Conservatism, he’s not Obama. And he’s rich and white, and almost a Christian. Definitely not a Muslim anyway. This pick wasn’t made strategically. It wasn’t tactics. It was fear based. It was a choice made based on Romney’s insecurities as a Conservative and a Mormon in a party with a base that’s further Right than it’s ever been and overwhelmingly Christian.
This is the thought that keeps me up at night.
Sure he’s goofy. And disconnected. And probably an alien. But he seems pretty harmless. He sings off key. He repeats some strange line about trees being the right height. Despite his support for rich guy tax policy you get the feeling that underneath it all he’s not that different than Obama—the Obama we’ve seen the last four years anyway. He was governor of one of the most Liberal states in the Union after all. He did implement Obamacare before Obama did. Doesn’t seem all that radical to me.
And I don’t think he really is all that radical. But he is something potentially more dangerous and the Ryan pick confirms it. He is utterly insecure.
Insecurity is dangerous when it’s attached to tremendous power.
LBJ was famously insecure and this, according to many Presidential historians, led him to drive us deeper into Vietnam. The result as we all know was millions of lost lives and widespread and enduring suffering. If Johnson could be bullied why not Romney?
Against all sanity he chose a VP candidate who is way further to the Right than he is. Thankfully, this is a move that will cost him the election. Independents won’t swing for Ryan. And running with a rabid ideologue shoots new life into a Democratic base that has been frighteningly quiet thus far.
His curse is our gift. And the move that proves how dangerous he really is ends up being the same one that saves us from that danger.
I was terrified of his insecurity and now I am grateful for it.