Monday, August 13, 2012

Can the GOP please flip the ticket?

I was a bit confused that Mitt Romney announced (via leak) his new running mate late Friday night. It was as though he didn’t want anyone to know. Friday night is when government types release data they want to hide — not when they announce their running mate for the road to the White House.

The official announcement was no better — a Saturday morning on the penultimate day of the 2012 Summer Olympics — when anyone who might actually be watching TV was most likely watching America win at life. If you wanted to watch the Olympics and it got pre-empted by politicians, would you be more or less inclined to vote for them?

My favorite Mark Twain impersonator and TV meteorologist, Mike Randall, suggested to me via Twitter that maybe the plan was “designed to take over the Sunday news shows.” Maybe he’s right, but I don’t tend to think of “real” people as watching those shows. And really, it’s real people that Romney needs to win over.

That leads me to believe that either Romney is embarrassed by his new running mate … or he’s just really bad at this whole “running for president” thing. Considering he introduced his selection as “the next president of the United States,” I’m inclined to think it’s the latter, which is exactly why I’m excited he’s added Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan to the ticket as his VP candidate.

I’m not a huge fan of Ryan’s fundamental principles, but at least I’m aware of the fact that he has fundamental principles, unlike Romney. Oddly, though, Romney announced his disagrees with the thing Ryan is most known for — his budget plan — which conservatives love and liberals hate.

In other words, Romney tried to buy some conservative credibility by partnering up with Ryan, while distancing himself from the thing which would help the most in that aspect. Put another way, Romney wants to ride Ryan’s coattails and denounce his core philosophy — simultaneously.

Again, I say, Romney is really bad at this whole “running for president” thing.

It makes me wish the ticket were flipped. I’d much rather see this a Ryan/Romney ticket than Romney/Ryan. At least then I would know what it stood for — even if it was something I don’t myself support.

Until recently, I had been mentally comparing the Romney campaign with the McCain campaign of four years ago. He seemed clueless and flailing. A decent guy (maybe) who had no idea what to do when put on the national stage and whose handlers should have all been fired.

It has come to my attention, however, that maybe Romney is actually John Kerry circa 2004. He a wishy-washy flip flopper with little charisma and no real plan for the future, hoping to energize his campaign with a younger better looking rising star from within in party.

I went with a friend (and former Greater Niagara News employee) David Winters to see John Edwards speak in Rochester in 2004. He was impressive. He was put together. He was enigmatic. He was apparently too good for the Democrats.

ASIDE: As a reminder, I supported Howard Dean in 2004 then dropped the Democratic party because they freaked out over “the scream.” I didn’t want to be associated with a big bunch of losers. So now I’m a registered Libertarian — a much smaller bunch of losers.

Long story short (I know, too late), it’s nice to see someone with principles in the race. Even if they’re principles I disagree with.

Scott Leffler would have rather written about #SharkWeek but then Mitt Romney went and announced a running mate. Follow him on Twitter @scottleffler where you can find the Twitter handles for everyone mentioned in this column.