I think I agree with the general consensus from Democrats/liberals that Ryan is an exciting opponent to go up against, and I wanted to try to articulate why.
Let’s imagine for moment that instead of Ryan, Romney chose someone that was essentially a clone of himself as a running-mate. The election would have proceeded with the Romney/Clone ticket being non-specific about what they would do with the presidency, which would make this election more a referendum on Obama than the country thinking Romney was the right guy for the job. Now, I think Obama would still win that match-up, but how would the Republican party and conservative movement respond to that loss? They would argue that Romney was not Republican enough. He wasn’t conservative enough. Or at least not strong enough of one. Tea Partiers wouldn’t take the blame either, because he was never a voice for them. So they would come away thinking that, next time around, they just need a stronger Republican/conservative/Tea-Partier. And who the hell wants that? What we want is to convince as many Republicans and conservatives as possible that their ideas are wrong, not to have them go back and try to figure out a way to win with their current agenda.
So Ryan gives us that chance. Ryan embodies the current Republican mindset. He’s pretty young, so he comes off as the future of the Republican party. He’s even got a little bit of the Tea-Party fairy dust on him. And now we have a chance to beat all of those things in a presidential election. If Obama and Biden can do that with a decent margin of victory, the repercussions would help to dismantle some of what’s preventing the progressive movement from…. progressing. It would also damage the idea that austerity is what we need to fix our fiscal problems.
So maybe a “thank you” is in order.