After trying–and failing–to make Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) the Republican bogeyman throughout 2010 and 2011, Democrats are now telling the world that they are thrilled Mitt Romney has chosen him as his running mate, because they can run against Ryan’s ideas, including his proposed entitlement reforms. But no one should take such adolescent displays seriously–firstly, because if Barack Obama could win by running on the issues, he would be doing so already; and second, because such pretenses at glee are a Democrat tradition.
Some of the premature celebrations are, no doubt, mere postures for campaign purposes, but it is also likely that many Democrats believe their own propaganda, as do their friends in the mainstream media. They seem to live in an impermeable liberal bubble; NBC’s Chuck Todd even predicted on Friday evening that Romney would not make his selection for another week. And many seem not to have thought Ryan had a chance at all.
John Heilemann of the New Yorker, who admits he had ruled Ryan out as a possible choice, describes what many left-wing pundits and politicos have been repeating ad infinitum this weekend to cheer each other up:
With Mitt Romney’s announcement this morning that he had tapped Ryan, the very same flicker is enlivening the eyes of everyone residing at the Obama for America HQ in Chicago and in the warrens of the White House, coupled with grins wide enough to span the distance between the two.
Reading such accounts, I could not help but think back to the 2000 presidential campaign, when Democrats were high-fiving each other over the fact that George W. Bush had just picked Dick Cheney, certain that the choice all but cemented Al Gore’s victory in November. From the New York Times, July 26, 2000:
The intense speculation that had surrounded Gov. George Bush as he selected a running mate swung today to Vice President Al Gore amid signs that the Gore camp was relieved and even joyful at Mr. Bush’s choice of Dick Cheney.
Advisers for the vice president said the selection of Mr. Cheney, a 59-year-old oil executive and former defense secretary, gave Mr. Gore a freer hand in picking a running mate.
Democrats could hardly believe their luck.
”On our side, there was maybe 70 percent relief and 30 percent glee,” said James Carville, a Democratic strategist and longtime adviser to President Clinton.
We all know how that turned out, don’t we?