The choice of a running mate can easily be over-stated. Did anyone vote for Obama because they like Biden? How about Dick Cheney? Or, for that matter, Joe Lieberman? The Veep doesn’t really change the ticket enough to make any real difference in the long run – but it can change the perception in the press and inject some energy into a campaign. If that’s what was at stake here Mitt Romney, the candidate who could do nothing right, hit a home run or some other sports analogy right when he needed it.
Policy-wise, Paul Ryan brings some serious risk. But his personality and articulate ability to speak out are the real deal. Many liberals, including myself, have little choice but to respect him even as we disagree with him. Nothing substantial has changed in this campaign but it looks like we have a race – and, more importantly, a chance to talk about the critical decisions that have to be made sooner rather than later.