Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Paul Ryan's Not-Palin VP Audition

As Washington continues to make April the most confusing and "cruelest month" in memory, at least half of the 2012 Republican ticket is becoming clear.

For clowns contesting for the top spot, Paul Ryan has positioned himself as a young, wonkish, issue-oriented counterweight--next year's knowledgeable not-Palin for Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Michele Bachmann, Haley Barbour et al and even Palin herself, freeing them to blather Tea Party and Social Conservative banalities while hiding behind his "expertise."

The irony would be a GOP VP candidate who seems to know too much replacing one who clearly understood little of anything. The question is: Which would be worse?

In a campaign, Ryan could easily gloss over criticism of his manifesto such as that of Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, "This isn’t a serious proposal; it’s a strange combination of cruelty and insanely wishful thinking" and the two Pinocchios it earns in rigorous fact-checking for "dubious assertions, questionable assumptions and fishy figures."

As he has been doing on talk shows, the handsome, smooth-talking 41-year-old Congressman would project sound-bite seriousness to offset anti-Obama rants of the GOP presidential candidate, a quality that might have helped in 2008.

Tactically, it would be a good move for Republicans who have been beclouding voters' intelligence for a decade to have their own pseudo-intellectual on the ticket. For the rest of us, it would be adding the ultimate injury to insult.

At least with McCain and Palin, we knew what we would be getting. With whoever and Ryan, the picture would not be nearly as clear.

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