(ALTERNET) -- When Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney tapped Paul Ryan, the 42-year-old Wisconsin congressman, to be his running mate, progressives went on a happy-thon. That Romney chose the House Budget Committee chairman known as the architect of draconian budgets that would make huge cuts in every aspect of the safety net -- not to mention his quest to turn Medicare into a voucher program -- just seemed like a major blunder. My colleague, Joshua Holland, called it Romney's biggest mistake. Many were gleeful and shocked that Romney would seemingly play right into the Obama message on how the Romney agenda harms the middle class.
But I wasn't so happy. The Romney decision signals several things about the future, and none of them good -- rather scary and ugly, as a matter of fact. My gut told me that, for the Republican vice presidential candidate, I would much rather have a non-entity like Portman or Pawlenty as the Republican than a right-wing rock star. Any day.