The selection of Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican usually mentioned in the second tier on prognosticators’ lists, threw many for a loop.
But the surprise shouldn’t have been a surprise: The media cognoscenti don’t have particularly sparkling track records when it comes to predicting vice presidential selections — especially when it comes to the GOP candidates.
Most of the Democratic vice presidential picks made at least a few of the Great Mentioners’ lists: Walter Mondale (1976), Lloyd Bentsen (1988), Al Gore (1992), John Edwards (2004) and Joe Biden (2008). Gore’s pick of Joe Lieberman (2000) might count as a mild surprise but hardly stunning.
The only real surprise was Mondale’s selection of Geraldine Ferraro in 1984. There had been chatter about Mondale picking a woman for the No. 2 slot, but most thought Dianne Feinstein was the leading candidate in that category. Republican picks have been pretty much shockers to the punditocracy, at least in the past four rounds: Sarah Palin (2008), Dick Cheney (2000), Jack Kemp (1996) and Dan Quayle (1988).
Ronald Reagan’s pick of George H.W. Bush in 1980 and Gerald Ford’s pick of Bob Dole in 1976 weren’t great surprises.
On the other hand, maybe the prognosticators were right and Romney was leaning toward Portman . . . but somebody might have informed Romney that Portman and Sen. John Kerry are good buddies; they have been seen frequently on morning bike rides.
And Romney and Kerry despise each other. Kerry is even going to play Romney in President Obama’s debate prep.
Ahead of the game
Even if the professional political-forecasting crowd didn’t have Ryan as the odds-on favorite to be Romney’s vice presidential pick, some Loop fans did.
We asked in April for your predictions of whom Romney would select. Lots of you figured it would be Portman or Sen. Marco Rubio
of Florida. We even got a few wacky dark horses (
or former senator
Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, really?).
But some of you correctly picked Ryan, including our winners, Kevin Sturtevant, a fund-raiser for a nonprofit from Silver Spring, and Howard Cohen, a public affairs consultant from North Hills, Calif.
Congratulations, and enjoy those coveted Loop T-shirts coming your way.
New details are emerging about the resignation of Scott Gration as U.S. ambassador to Kenya last month, revealing what an inspector general’s report called dysfunction, security lapses and poor morale under his stewardship.
Gration, though, says the report is riddled with inaccuracies.