The news is in: Mitt Romney has picked Paul Ryan as his running mate for the 2012 ticket to the White House. In a curious display of bipartisan approval, both sides of the aisle are earnestly giddy about the Ryan pick. On one side, Republicans are happy there's someone with actual ardent conservative beliefs on the ticket. On the other side, Democrats are now able to better target their critiques at solid Republican philosophies, instead of realigning their attacks each time the wind blew Romney in another direction.
One thing is for sure, Americans of both parties can now breathe a collective sigh of relief knowing that Palin won't rise from the ashes to swoop in again as the terrifying Ghost of VP Candidate Past. In the huddled and hushed corners of Romney's campaign team, her shadow must have lurked over their calculations.
In fact, the specter of Sarah Palin still lingers over the entire Republican field. GOPers will have trouble forgetting the game-changing decision made in 2008, placing a maverick from Alaska on the VP ticket who would go on to cripple the credibility of the Republican party. By political standards, the vetting process for Palin lasted the time it takes to load a moose-hunting 12 gauge (READ: not very long), and the McCain campaign paid dearly for that rush job. Romney and company clearly learned from that cautionary tale, and this was one of the most un-maverick VP candidate decisions in recent history. Romney was, after all, practically forced to choose Ryan by an increasingly frustrated conservative base.
The question we're now kicking around is this: When will Paul Ryan's memoir be released? And we don't mean his now-out-of-print Republican triumvirate book. If there's anything we've learned from the HBO series VEEP, or even Aaron Sorkin's The West Wing, it's that the role of the vice president can be comically inconsequential. The honor bestowed upon the position is like the bronze medal of politics, and the move toward it is often a strategic one used by the VP as a stepping-stone to greater things, or by the presidential candidate as a crowd-pleasing pawn to complement the candidate's core following. Ryan clearly falls into both camps.
The publication of a memoir can offer the flash of a VP's brilliance in an otherwise dim pan. It's a euphoric moment of media-blitzing before the President-elect eclipses their every move. Joe Biden made sure Americans were aware that he had "Promises to Keep" in 2008, releasing his memoir to supplement his VP creds. More recently, two new books by and about Florida Senator Marco Rubio punctured political gossip in the early Summer months with new rumors: was he priming himself to be Romney's running mate? Were these books strategically timed? The book-as-blunt-political-instrument should not be underrated. We're eager to read what Ryan has to offer before he fades into the background of politics as usual for the next four years. But something tells us he'll be much closer to the limelight come the following Presidential Election cycle.