Comedian Andy Borowitz joked on Lawrence O'Donnell's show last night that Paul Ryan has replaced Sarah Palin as the dumbest veep pick ever, although Borowitz wasn't laughing. I doubt anyone in the audience was, either, because Borowitz's joke was actually a vivid, irrefutable political assessment.
Still, it's funny as hell; funny in a baffling, mind-boggling, Romney-must-be-joking sort of way. This clown made how many millions in high finance? Just goes to show you: If you start with enough advantages, you can't possibly lose them all. Thus even the dumbest of the rich just keep getting richer.
But back to Ryan. The only potentially admissible argument for Romney's choosing this Randian twirp was that he shored up the base. Yet Ryan is synonymous with the extermination of Medicare, and, according to a Kaiser Health Tracking Poll of this year, 53 percent of Republicans "say they would prefer to keep Medicare as currently structured, rather than move toward a defined contribution model that offers the choice between traditional Medicare or a private plan."
So Romney's singular argument for Ryan is rendered not merely pointless but counterproductive, leaving embarrassingly laughable justifications to be made only by the likes of the Weekly Standard. How laughable? "Having won over the crowd with pleasantries, Ryan imperceptibly worked his speech to a crescendo" as the "famous wonk wisely ... made a series of moral arguments." Jesus! Pass the insulin.
It is conventionally observed, and I've observed it myself, that veep picks, since Lyndon Johnson, haven't amounted electorally to a warm bucket of spit. Well, there's one convention that's dead--done plugged by the unsteady hand of the magnificently witless Mitt Romney.