If anything can convince hard-shell Republicans that the wavery Mitt Romney is a Republican, Romney's choice of a running mate should do it. Nobody hews to the party line more devotedly than Paul Ryan, and no one is more resistant to cooperation with the other political party. He's assuredly not one of those reachers-across-the-aisle that Washington commentators keep saying the country needs. (Though the pundits usually want Democrats to do the reaching, and it's Democrats they urge to "move to the center." Ryan is far from the center, but don't expect commentators to tell him to move.) And since Ryan's is the stronger personality, the Ryan-Romney campaign will reflect his beliefs. So far, Romney has spent much of his time repudiating the greatest achievement of his career in public service — the progressive Massachusetts health-care program that was the model for President Obama's national health-care program. He won't have to do that anymore. With Ryan at his side, people will believe that Romney is truly mean, Romneycare or no.
How mean is Ryan? He wants to end Medicare as we know it and replace it with a voucher plan that would increase old people's costs. He wants to raise taxes on the middle class, and reduce taxes for millionaires. He wants to privatize Social Security, trusting senior citizens' retirement benefits to the kind hearts and sound judgment of Wall Street manipulators. He wants reductions in public spending that would cost millions of Americans their jobs. He wants to eliminate federal Pell grants for more than a million college students. He wants legislation declaring a fertilized egg to have "all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood," which would outlaw abortion, some forms of contraception and in vitro fertilization.
Now Romney will want all these too.