The debate would not become all about the budget, as some anxious Republicans fear. At least not for the duration of the campaign. The economy remains the biggest issue, and Ryan has always been clear that his budget is best understood as a tool of economic growth rather than an expression of austerity. He is, at heart, still the protégé of Jack Kemp, his sunny, growth-obsessed political mentor…

At the end of the day, Ryan is not such an odd match for Romney. It would be characteristic for Romney to consider his VP choice as an employment decision. And characteristic for him to hire a wonky young talent. If Ryan had been into finance instead of politics back in the 1990s, you could easily see Romney picking him up for Bain Capital.

Romney is, at bottom, a data-driven technocrat. The question has always been whether he wants to bring that skill to managing the federal government — or transforming it. If he chooses Ryan, the answer is inarguably transforming it.

Ryan would be Romney’s adjutant in the most consequential turnaround operation of the former Massachusetts governor’s career.