Here’s the weird thing about Paul Ryan being named to the Republican presidential ticket: It’s all part of President Obama’s campaign plan — a plan that’s working better than his strategists could have hoped. It could also backfire more disastrously than they could ever imagined.

In January 2010, Obama spoke at a House Republican retreat in Baltimore, where he couldn’t stop talking up that Paul Ryan guy.“You study this stuff and take it pretty seriously,” he told Ryan.

He even gave Ryan personal compliments: “The problem we have sometimes is a media that responds only to slash-and-burn-style politics. You don’t get a lot of credit if I say, ‘You know, I think Paul Ryan’s a pretty sincere guy and has a beautiful family.’ ” It was a lovefest.

But it quickly became something else. A few days later, Obama’s then-budget director, Peter Orszag, dismantled Ryan’s budget at a news conference. That set the tenor for the next year, during which administration aides continued trying to raise Ryan’s profile and establish his budget as the Republican alternative — all so they could destroy it.
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