Romney embraced Ryan after the sociopathic — indifferent to the truth — ad for Barack Obama that is meretricious about every important particular of the death from cancer of the wife of steelworker Joe Soptic. Obama’s desperate flailing about to justify four more years has sunk into such unhinged smarminess that Romney may have concluded: There is nothing Obama won’t say about me, because he has nothing to say for himself, so I will chose a running mate whose seriousness about large problems and ideas underscores what the president has become — silly and small.

He on whose behalf the Soptic ad was made used to dispense bromides deploring “the smallness of our politics” and “our preference for scoring cheap political points.” Obama’s campaign of avoidance — say anything to avoid the subject of the country’s condition — must now reckon with Ryan’s mastery of Obama’s enormous addition to decades of governmental malpractice.

Obama is, by now, nothing if not predictable, so prepare for pieties deploring Ryan’s brand of “extremism” that has supplanted responsible conservatism. Goldwater, quoted above, infuriated the sort of people who, regardless of what flavor of conservatism is in fashion, invariably purse their lips and sorrowfully say: “We think conservatism is a valuable thread in our national fabric, etc., but not this kind of conservatism.” Goldwater’s despisers did not recognize his echo of words by Martin Luther King Jr. 15 months earlier.