So, Mitt Romney selected Paul Ryan as his VP. The consensus seems to be that this was close to a Hail Mary play, if not quite a Sarah Palin Hail Mary. Do you see it that way?
No. For all clichéd gab about this being a “game-changer,” we already know that it’s not. The polls show at most a mild bounce so far. Many Americans have not a clue as to who Ryan is except as a card-carrying representative of the second most despised brand in America after the local cable company: Congress. His anointment is a dramatic move only in the sense that compared to choosing Tim Pawlenty or Rob Portman, anything is a dramatic move. Only in the GOP does the pairing of two wealthy conservative white guys constitute a diversity ticket, presumably because only one of them has openly embraced Ayn Rand. It’s a far cry from choosing an inexperienced woman governor from Alaska as a running mate, and I doubt the Ryan choice was even intended as a game-changer. The real intention was for Romney to nail down the GOP base. It says a lot about the state of his campaign that as late as mid-August it still had not won over large swaths of that 75 percent of the GOP that wanted Anyone but Romney for much of the primary process.
The Times ran a lengthy expose this week about the possibly criminal dealings of Sheldon Adelson's former fixer in China. This isn't the first noise we've heard about bribery allegations involving Adelson's company. Can the Obama campaign hang this on Romney in any way?
Yes. It shows how much power Adelson has over the GOP that Ryan would place near the top of his first week to-do list a dash out to Vegas to kiss Adelson’s ring (presumably a pinky ring)*. Adelson’s gambling empire, Las Vegas Sands, is the subject of two different major federal investigations, one by the Justice Department and another by the Securities and Exchange Commission. It is kosher to ask whether Adelson is lavishing as much as (or maybe more than) $100 million on the GOP not just to promote his hawkish views about Israel but also to try to shut down those investigations in a Romney administration. Meanwhile, journalists, and not just at the Times but at ProPublica, Frontline, the Journal, and NBC News, among no doubt others, are continuing to dig into Adelson’s empire. What happens in Vegas — and in the Sands’s Macau outpost as well — will not stay in Vegas between now and Election Day. This could be the sleeper “October Surprise” of the 2012 campaign.
*The ring is probably in a piercing on Adelson's great white ass. It'd be in his foreskin if he had one.
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