Though eleven weeks is an eternity in presidential politics, it now seems likely that Mitt Romney’s decision to choose Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate will come to be seen as the day when Barack Obama’s chances at reelection began to fade.
The 2012 presidential campaign is — at least for now — about substantive fiscal, economic, and regulatory matters, as well as about fundamental human freedoms. Romney has very serious problems in some of these areas. But Obama has failed miserably in all of them; Ryan’s presence on the Republican ticket will serve as a constant reminder of that indisputable fact.
Romney’s August 11 announcement electrified a GOP base which, though already motivated to defeat Obama, was having a hard time getting excited about their standard bearer. Now it seems that Romney himself has finally moved out of his previous robotic campaigning mode and may actually fight to win.
Meanwhile, the crowds lining up to see and hear Ryan speak have been so large and enthusiastic that the national establishment press has had to dust off its annual “March for Life” game plan and spectacularly lie about their size. The Associated Press and Politico claimed that Ryan spoke before a crowd of “hundreds of supporters” and “several hundred supporters,” respectively, at Ryan’s alma mater Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, on August 15, The New York Times counted “over 1,000,” but condescendingly noted that their number included “much of the current membership of his former fraternity.”
The truth? Every local news outlet reported that the crowd was in the “thousands.” A Dayton scribe relayed a Secret Service estimate of 5,500. WKRC-TV in Cincinnati reported that the crowd numbered 6,000, and uniquely told its viewers (but strangely, not its printed post’s readers) something even the rest of the local media “somehow” overlooked — namely that “a whole line of people were turned away, because there wasn’t enough room” to squeeze all who wanted to be there into the outdoor venue.
Romney’s move has clearly shaken the Obama campaign to its core. Less than a week after the pick, David Axelrod & Co. all but threw in the towel on disparaging Ryan, and instead made a desperate “offer” to stop attacking Romney over his tax returns if the former Massachusetts governor releases three more years of them — as if Team Obama can or even cares to hold their SuperPACs and press apparatchiks to that pledge.