For months leading up to this cycle, a trio of dream-team conservative heartthrobs was touted as the best Republican hopes for 2012: Chris Christie, Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan.
On Saturday, conservatives got their wish when Mitt Romney selected Ryan to be his running mate.
Romney is a nominee who still has trouble proving his conservative bona fides to his base, as evidenced by the implosion last week following an apparent Romney trial balloon in which the former governor of Massachusetts attempted to run on his signature achievement, health care reform.
Now that Ryan’s on board, the conservatives who have been waiting for the moderate Romney shoe to drop are going to breathe much easier. In recent days, the conservative push for Ryan reached a fever pitch, just as national polls showed Obama surging ahead in the national contest. The Wall Street Journal gave Ryan a rare endorsement for the VP slot, which put the establishment paper in line with the tea-party wing of the GOP — the conservative blog RedState, among others, also begged Romney to pick Ryan.
The Weekly Standard called on Romney to “go for the gold” and pick Ryan (or Rubio.)
They got their wish. But on Fox News Saturday, Kristol said Romney made the pick before Kristol and Co started calling on him to do so.
“Just got an email from the Romney campaign emphasizing that Gov. Romney made the choice before Steve [Hayes] and I wrote our repeated editorials,” he said. “I take their word for it.”
On Saturday morning, Mike Huckabee — a prominent leader of the GOP’s conservative wing — explained that the Ryan pick was aimed firing up his folks.
Huckabee admitted that vice presidential selections don’t decide elections.”But they can either excite or chill out the base. [Ryan] is going to at least keep them satisfied because he has those right issues under his belt.”
“I think it’s a great pick,” Huckabee said. “Great pick.”