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Today Mitt Romney announced that he had capitulated to radical rightwingers in his party and chosen Paul Ryan (of Ryancare fame) as his Vice-Presidential pick. In case you’re not familiar with Ryan’s claim to fame, his budget (which Romney – in spite of his efforts today to pretend otherwise – has repeatedly endorsed), the following video will tell you all you need to know:

Pretty dreadful, right? Bear in mind that the issue of Ryan’s awful economic theories goes far beyond the presidential race. Todd Akin – along with most GOP House candidates – has also endorsed the radical and cruel Ryan budget. A vote for  Romney is a vote for Ryancare, a vote for Akin will double the damage, and sending GOPers back to the House will more than tripple the harm that Paul Ryan will manage, through their agency, to do to the middle class.

The selection of Ryan is not only problematic from an economic point of view,  however. I noted above that Romney is reluctant to emphasize his past endorsement of the Ryan plan, which suggests an additional concern about his ability to function as President. What does it say about his character, when he tries to weasel out of his own VP pick, deny his own stated economic beliefs – while touting a vague Romney budget plan that has not yet been vetted – and which, hence, cannot be criticized as thoroughly as the unpopular Ryan budget? Only fools think that in the political sphere they can always, in the words of the aphorism, have their cake and eat it too. Apropos of which, Ed Kilgore writes:

I struggle for a suitable analogy: becoming a Lutheran and saying you’ll maintain your own views on the sufficiency of faith for salvation? Hiring Mike Leach to coach your football team but reserving the right to tell him to install the Wishbone Offense? Marrying Kim Kardashian on condition she will avoid publicity?

Of course, any assumption that Romney would differ from Ryan on important issues like Medicare presupposes that his right-wing billionaire support base would even permit that type of independence. Romney certainly hasn’t had what it takes to stand up to the new, hardcore, fringewing GOP so far, which is why his running mate is a man described by The Globe and Mail as the ” Tea Party’s favourite nerd,” or an “intellectual version of Sarah Palin.” Intellectual in this context, of course, means that Ryan can speak in coherent sentences.