The Post reports on dissatisfaction on the right with the way Paul Ryan is being used in the presidential campaign. Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute asks:
Why do you pick somebody like Paul Ryan if you’re going to run a referendum, Obama’s-done-a-bad-job campaign?
The answer to that seems clear. The selection of Ryan was more of an election gimmick than anything else. One reason for selecting Ryan was to placate his movement conservative boosters and to get them excited about Romney’s effort. Choosing Ryan was a consolation prize for movement conservatives, but a lot of them believed that it was a huge concession to them. The other main reason was to create the impression that the Romney campaign had become very serious about policy without taking the political risks that would be associated with making serious policy arguments. As a gimmick, it worked fairly well for the first two or three weeks, and now it isn’t working very well. It was just a matter of time before everyone noticed that the “campaign of ideas” wasn’t acting like one, and when that happened the gimmick ceased to have much of an effect.