Democrats will have to be smart. They should show respect for Ryan for being a serious guy, but then just explain to people, urgently but not over-heatedly, what he’s proposed. It’s just very hard to imagine that middle-of-the-road voters want harsh future cuts to Medicare, massive tax cuts for the rich, and huge reductions to domestic programs that most swing voters really don’t hate. Does this choice work in Florida, with all those old people? If Romney just sacrificed Florida, he’s lost the election already.

And why? To placate a party that doesn’t even want him as its nominee anyway. It’s psycho-weird. But at least it will carry the benefit, if this ticket loses, of keeping conservatives from griping that they lost because their ticket was too moderate. Conservatism will share—will own—this loss.

Is all that “daring”? Well, Thelma and Louise were “daring” too, but they ended up at the bottom of a canyon. If the Democrats handle this situation properly, that’s where this ticket will end up too, and then the rest of us—the people who don’t want federal policy to be based on Atlas Shrugged—can finally and fully press the case to the right that America is not behind you, and please grow up.