You all know the standard structure of a political ad, or at least one kind of political ad: attack your opponent with scary charges and off-putting images, then change the music, show the sun (metaphorically) coming out, and reveal the glorious image of the candidate or team that will lead us to the Promised Land.
So watch this ad (via Greg Sargent and Mark Halperin). What's going on?
Hmmm ... Obama and higher taxes, Obama and government-run healthcare, Obama and Evil Nancy Pelosi, Obama and higher taxes, Obama and Evil Nancy Pelosi...
Our saviors! The people who are going to lead us out of the wilderness! Mitt Romney and ...
Where's Paul Ryan?
Apparently he's been disappeared. The script says, "Mitt Romney and common-sense conservatives will cut taxes on the middle class," but Ryan seems not to be one of those common-sense conservatives -- he's not in the next shot, either. (That shows Mitt with two female Republicans, Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina. See? Republicans love women!)
Now, maybe Portman gets pride of place in the ad because Romney's going to run it primarily in Ohio -- but then why did Romney's campaign alert national media guys like Sargent and Halperin to the ad?
Ryan is remanded to a brief appearance with Romney at the very end of the ad, behind the closing credits, as Romney says he approves this message. Yeah, I know -- Joe Biden doesn't figure prominently in Obama ads. But this is Paul Ryan, dammit! The intellectual giant of the GOP! Wasn't the point of picking him to harness his sex appeal and persuasiveness, his mighty powers of thinkology and youthful leadershippiness?
I guess Mitt's first big decision as the GOP nominee is working out about as well as his 2008 predecessor's.