ABC, the Huffington Post, The Weekly Standard, and others are saying that Mitt Romney has picked Paul Ryan as his running mate.
My first reaction to that news was to go back and look at a David Frum post from February that seems newly relevant. It's titled "Norquist: Romney Will Do As Told."
The most quoted speech at CPAC this year was Mitt Romney's, but my vote for the most significant goes to Grover Norquist's. In his charmingly blunt way, Norquist articulated out loud a case for Mitt Romney that you hear only whispered by other major conservative leaders....Well, if the reports are accurate, Romney just confirmed that image of weakness in a big way with this pick.
All we have to do is replace Obama. ... We are not auditioning for fearless leader. We don't need a president to tell us in what direction to go. We know what direction to go. We want the Ryan budget. ... We just need a president to sign this stuff. We don't need someone to think it up or design it. The leadership now for the modern conservative movement for the next 20 years will be coming out of the House and the Senate.The requirement for president?
Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become president of the United States. This is a change for Republicans: the House and Senate doing the work with the president signing bills. His job is to be captain of the team, to sign the legislation that has already been prepared....To date, sad to say, Romney has worked hard to confirm this image of weakness....
See also Jonathan Chait yesterday:
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 was beginning to think that Romney was planning to go with an IBWG (Portman, Pawlenty), and that the calls for a Ryan pick were coming from right-wingers who thought Romney had already decided against Ryan, folks who were laying down a marker for why the increasingly likely Romney loss isn't a sign that America rejected their ideology. (If he'd listened to us and picked a True Conservative like Paul Ryan, he could have won!)
But Romney continues his desperate wooing of a voter base that's already solidly in his camp, out of hatred of Obama. Or maybe Romney's afraid he's going to lose the moneybags who are bankrolling his run, or the Murdoch media that's acting as his press office. (But where were they going to go if he picked an IBWG?)
On the other hand, Romney and Ryan are having a bit of a bromance:
(Or, looking at those pictures, maybe it's Ryan who's besotted and Romney just loving the adulation.)
National Journal says:
Though Ryan may initially seem like a person unlikely to play second fiddle given his own large aspirations, sources say that the two men share a similar analytical mindset and a love of data, an ability to pivot on their messaging and framing of key issues, and the patience and persistence needed to take the long view in the pursuit of victory. In Ryan's case, he's spent years honing an ideology about the country's fiscal trajectory that has become the House Repubicans' dominant message, while Romney has shown similar steadfastness in the years he’s spent chasing the presidency.Translation: Romney thinks of people as data points rather than flesh and blood, and he really digs the fact that Ryan looks at humanity the same way. They know final victory will be achieved only when the cosseted peons give up their pathetic perks (Social Security, Medicare) and free the country to run like a lean, mean business. But they know it'll take some time. They're patient.
"They connect on the fact that Ryan is one of the idea guys in our party," said former New Hampshire Republican Sen. Judd Gregg, who knows both men. "Romney likes people who think out of the box, who are capable of bringing substance."