I feel like I have read several times on liberal blogs that Romney now has to carry Ryan’s baggage as well as his own. I do not think so.
The Ryan pick does indicate that Romney was not completely confident of enthusiastic support from his base (which amounts to the Tea Party). Choosing Ryan makes the base feel a lot better about Romney.
To win the general, Romney has to move to the center at least some distance, but without a Tea Party approved running mate, he could not afford to do that.
Back to the baggage. My memory is that when the presidential candidate picks a running mate, it is the running mate that must conform to the candidate’s positions. Ryan’s job is to take Romney’s conservative message to the base while Romney moderates himself for the general electorate.
Democrats will do everything they can to hang Ryan’s previous positions around Romney’s neck. Romney’s long record of being on every which side of every issue will make that a lot easier. But anywhere where Romney’s conservative position differs from Ryan’s, we can expect that Ryan will be talking up Romney’s position, not his own.
I still believe that in the end, Obama wins with a solid margin.
UPDATE: “Well, first of all, Congressman Ryan has joined my campaign and his campaign is my campaign now. And we’re on the exactly the same page,” …the page being Romney’s page, not Ryan’s.