Of course Team Obama says it is delighted with Romney’s choice, because they believe they can destroy Ryan’s plan, and in the process the Romney-Ryan candidacy. And it seems likely that at the very least choosing Ryan has made winning Florida a little harder for Romney — and if Romney doesn’t win Florida, he doesn’t become president. What Democrats are overlooking is that Ryan is a truly formidable figure. He not only knows his stuff, he is able to communicate his ideas in a persuasive and appealing way. There’s a very good chance voters will like him. Democrats love to portray Republicans as angry. They won’t be able to do that with Ryan, who doesn’t give off even a hint of anger.

But the fact remains that there has never before been a national debate about entitlements like the one that is coming in this presidential campaign. Mitt Romney has decided it’s time for that debate, and that he can win it. That’s the biggest bet of his candidacy, by a long shot.