Vice Presidential picks have always been overblown in their importance. No one really decides on who to vote for (or against) because of their VP pick. We vote for our presidential picks, and maybe a set of policies associated with that person. The media’s over analysis of VP picks, and their importance, has only increased in contemporary politics as more channels for chatter pop up. But the truth has remained the same. We vote for Presidents.
The analysis that a pick can give you an edge in a particular state or geographical area is also a media fantasy. How much did John Edwards help John Kerry in the south? About the same as Rob Portman would help in Ohio or Marco Rubio would help in Florida. Next to nothing.
Demographic choices also tend to be overblown. Women won’t vote for a ticket strictly because a woman is places on it (See Palin, Sarah). The same remains true for tickets of varied ethnicity.
But you can SAY something with your pick. Which is something Mitt Romney was in desperate need to do….to SAY something. And with picking Paul Ryan, he has done just that. Paul Ryan gives you instant message and philosophy. Can Ryan hurt Romney’s chances? Absolutely. And this is why it is such a good pick. It is more than political. Political picks can’t hurt you, but can’t give you much outside the edges. Saying something can hurt you, but it can also pay off. Only the next two and a half months will tell us if this pick helps or hurts, but for the first time in a while, it really matters.