Mitt Romney’s choice of Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate can be read in any number of ways. Ryan’s selection is a capitulation to the Tea Party and the Republican right, and a tactical decision to fight the fall campaign on the wonky grounds of fiscal policy. It clearly represents the GOP doubling down on whiteness, opposing a man who is not merely our first black president but a living embodiment of America’s cultural and racial fluidity with a silver-spoon Mormon zillionaire and a guy from a lily-white Midwestern small town. I’m not suggesting that either Romney or Ryan is a racist; it’s more that they seem like people supremely unaffected by the racial dynamics of contemporary American society, as if they had teleported in from 1953.
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