I believe the selection of Paul Ryan is an indication that the Republicans are giving up on the Presidential race in 2012. But I think all of us dismissing this as another act of romneyblunder is a mistake.
No matter what the situation, the Republicans kick our ass at one thing, each and every time. The long game. The Ryan Pick is about shoring up the conservative base, but it's so much more. This is 'rolling out a new product.' This is about turning the Patagonian toothfish into the Chilean Sea Bass.
With the Ryan pick, the Republican power brokers are signalling that they are just going to play the long game with this election. It will be up to Obama, Democrats on all levels of government, and us to finally start meeting them in that long game, or they'll just continue our tectonic movement to the right. The Republicans are satisfied with steadily moving along in the direction they want to go waiting for the next opportunity to take another significant jolt toward Randian nirvana.
The Republican objective is to destroy any institution that prevents the wealthy elite from having all the money and power. But destroying Social Security and Medicare and unions and progressive taxation is like pushing over a port-o-potty. You don't just run up and give it a shove and knock it over. You have to get it tipping, back and forth, until it just barely creeps over its balance point, at which point it comes crashing down. The Republicans have seen that Romney's campaign is an ebb in their effort to topple the Social Security and Medicare and progressive taxation port-o-potties.
The Republicans also don't make the mistake of trying to sell policy through an honest debate. If they did, they would lose, each and every time. The Republicans sell products. (Matt Millers second paragraph should not be lost on any of us either). The Republicans have just introduced their spokes model for the marketing campaign they will roll out at the convention, through September and October, and over the next four years.
This Ryan pick has little to do with the Romney campaign. I don't believe that it is a coincidence that the person in charge of choosing Romney's running mate was Karl Rove Jr. The power in the Republican party knows they have a damaged candidate and are giving up on winning the Presidency. While they will be waiting to pounce if there is some sort of 'October surprise,' the rest of their campaign will be centered around selling Ryan and his ideology.
The Republicans will take a bunch of resources they intended for Obama smears, and direct that toward winning the Senate and limiting losses or even gaining in the House. As discussed by LeFeminista, they will then proceed to obstruct recovery for the next four years, holding every appointment and piece of legislation hostage. Making sure that Obama doesn't pass any legislation while at the same time screaming 'Obama's policies have failed, we need austerity and tax cuts for the rich, we need the Ryan budget!'
The 40 year con job (actually the 125 year con job) has been all about convincing people that trickle down is a good thing and the New Deal must be torn down. While it is nice to have had our voices heard, we have by no means won the 99 v. 1 debate. We have only just given our port-o-potty its first push. The economic sales job the Republicans have marketed since Goldwater are disturbingly popular with not just the Tea Baggers, but with the naive middle too. We need only look at the difficulty in winning back Ryan's home state on the state level.
While I certainly agree with many points made by LeFeminista, I disagree with the ultimate premise. My belief is the Ryan decision comes from the top. The Republican Party and the Tea Baggers completely agree on policy and the direction of this country. The only difference is the Tea Baggers think they can run up and shove the port-o-potty over with one push, while the men behind the curtain know they have to rock it back and forth a few times. And while the Republican establishment may occasionally have trouble herding their Tea Bagger cats, they remain nothing more than a useful tool that gives the Republican power structure the veneer of populism as they fight tooth and nail for corporations and the 1%
They also know that with a third of the voting populace drinking their kool-aid and their use of governmental functions for political purposes (redistricting, war on organized labor, war on voting, war on education, faith based initiatives, Citizens United, etc etc etc) they are only a couple of successful ad campaigns away from marketing their policies to enough of the voting populace before their port-o-potties cross the balance point and come crashing down. With the Ryan pick, the Republicans throw their base a bone, while rolling out a pleasant looking fellow to say "can you hear me know" ten million times over the next four years.
We need to stop gloating and dancing a jig upon every 'evisceration' like this is just another Romney gaffe. We can't treat this selection like McCain's choice of Palin, a desperate gambit to try to win an election. We need to open our eyes to the possibility that this is a well calculated gambit in the Republican long game, aka the war on the middle class.
Failure to do so means slipping further behind in that long game. Failure to do so brings us closer and closer to having the 1%'s port-o-potties come crashing down, covering us all in its contents.