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Is he the ghost who haunts Rob Portman's hotel?The Weekly Standard, the Wall Street Journal editorial page, and even ol’ Starburst are all engaged in furious last-minute lobbying to persuade Mitt Romney to select that nice young Boy Scout down the street who’s offered to fix our finances, Paul Ryan, as Vice President. The problem with such a selection is obvious: Romney would be picking someone recommended by the Weekly Standard, the Wall Street Journal editorial page, and even ol’ Starburst, instantly guaranteeing that it would be a colossal failure. Other problems: Paul Ryan wants to destroy all of the most popular government programs and is famous for wanting to do that? No matter, the conservatives say — it would be a serious campaign of Issues! The ‘merkin people will respect an “honest” view of the future! Again, these are all conservative arguments in favor of picking Paul Ryan.

Here’s the Wall Street Journal today, echoing most pro-Ryan arguments:

Personalities aside, the larger strategic point is that Mr. Romney’s best chance for victory is to make this a big election over big issues. Mr. Obama and the Democrats want to make this a small election over small things — Mitt’s taxes, his wealth, Bain Capital. As the past two months have shown, Mr. Romney will lose that kind of election.

“Mr. Obama and the Democrats” do enjoy making fun of Mitt Romney in every possible way, sure, but what is this assumption that they wouldn’t be down for a nice long discussion of Paul Ryan and his big issues? They assume that all critiques of Ryan and his budget plans are and can only be demagoguery, and that demagoguery vs. credibility is a fight they’d win. That’s a nice, simple argument; why did it take them 80 years of the welfare state to realize how very easy it would be to undo it? It’s possible they’re fundamentally misjudging both the opposition and the electorate… but that’s something only a demagogue would say!

Anyway, have at, you guys. There will be a lot more to say about this, later.

[Politico]

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