The selection of Rep. Paul Ryan to be Gov. Mitt Romney's running mate was an excellent choice.
Nevertheless, the press corps happily bought into the Obama campaign's early response that, as the Washington Post's Dan Balz wrote:
"There was no one on Romney's short list of contenders they wanted to run against more than the chairman of the House Budget Committee."
The great thing about that statement is: It would have worked no matter whom Romney had picked. In this age of everything anyone has ever said or even thought about anything being available instantaneously on-line, there is no such thing as a candidate that can't be savaged in a 30 second ad by one SuperPAC or another.
The other alleged short-listers: Senators Rob Portman and Marco Rubio, former Governor Tim Pawlenty; and current governors Bob McDonnell (VA) and Chris Christy (NJ) are able and capable men but even I could mount a pretty complete opposition research campaign against any one of them. And I like them.
The Ryan pick will - or should - change the tone of this campaign. For the past month the Obama and Romney campaigns have sounded like two teams trash talking over the fourth-grade tetherball championships in a schoolyard. The most nuanced discussions have rarely risen to the level of "nanny-nanny-boo-boo."
On Friday night I wrote, in a column for the Daily Beast:
Ryan is a darling of the Tea Party because of his budget proposal, which, like the Affordable Care Act, has been talked about far more often than it has been actually read by the people who are doing the talking.
On Saturday, in another Daily Beast column, I more-or-less plagiarized myself by writing:
Ryan is one of the very few people in America who have actually read the Ryan budget, and therefore, has the upper hand in any questions about what is in it.
If you want to read it, there's a link on the Secret Decoder Ring page today.
On Saturday night Beth Meyers described to reporters the process by which Ryan was chosen and the cloak-and-dagger activity that got him and his family to Virginia for the announcement. This, in press-speak, is known as a tick-tock (as in the sound of a clock) taking the reader through the process in a linear fashion.
There was a scene where Ryan snuck out the back door of his house in Wisconsin, walked through the woods behind his house to a street where he was picked up in a car driven by his Congressional chief of staff, got on a plane wearing a baseball cap and shades and the process moved on.