POST-ELECTION ANALYSIS, from The Inlander's political column, Trail Mix:
Choosing a running mate is never going to win the White House by itself, but it can at least help you win (or lose, in the case of Sarah Palin). For all the initial excitement over the selection of Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney’s No. 2, he didn’t help much at all.
For one thing, he couldn’t nail down his home state of Wisconsin — the cheeseheads strayed so far from Ryan’s worldview, they even elected a lesbian to the U.S. Senate. As strategists pore over the map in the coming months, it will be hard not to conclude that Romney would have been better served by choosing Rob Portman of Ohio or Marco Rubio of Florida. Why? Both have run statewide campaigns, while Ryan only ever had to make his pitch to his safely gerrymandered little corner of Wisconsin.
Coming out of the House of Representatives hurt Ryan in other ways, too — after all, Congress had a much lower approval rating than the president. In this election, we have seen other representatives fail, too — in Montana, Congressman Denny Rehberg couldn’t beat Jon Tester, and in North Dakota, Congressman Rick Berg lost to former state AG Heidi Heitkamp. Hitching you star to the House didn’t help Romney; future nominees are sure to take note.
Finally, as a number of pundits pointed out Tuesday night, nobody ever heard anything from Ryan’s wife, Janna, who some say is uncomfortable in politics. Candidates’ wives are a major asset, and, again, Romney was denied a potentially powerful surrogate.