08/11/2012 11:31 am ET Updated Oct 11, 2012

Ryan Is Romney's Sarah Palin

Of all the obvious blunders Republican leaders didn't want Mitt Romney to make, it was choosing a Sarah Palin as his candidate for vice president. The possibility scared even Dick Cheney.

But that's exactly what Romney has done.

What, you say? Paul Ryan, like him or not, is a person of substance, and Sarah Palin is, well, Sarah Palin. But if you look at why Romney chose Ryan, and why John McCain chose Palin, it becomes clear.

McCain was seen by the conservative base as far too impure ideologically, palling around with liberals on bellwether issues like immigration, global warming and campaign finance reform. He was also proving to be a disappointing campaigner: lacking a coherent message, committing gaffes and never really firing up any part of the electorate.

Sound familiar?

McCain chose Palin in a desperate attempt to buy credibility with the base of his own party. Same with Romney and Ryan. Romney, a man who apparently has no core, has attempted to hire one.

But what about Ryan's intellectual gravitas, as compared with Palin's, er, anti-gravitas? Ryan's famous plan, the Roadmap for America's Future, may be radical and heartless, but as the GOP mantra goes, at least he has a plan.

Gravitas? People, Paul Ryan is a big fan of Ayn Rand. This counts as gravitas?

Only in Washington, as they say, though we shouldn't overlook Star Trek conventions.

As any psychologist could tell you, if you're obsessed with escaping someone, you are not free of that someone. In fleeing Sarah Palin, anxiously looking over his shoulder, Mitt Romney has run around in a circle, smack into Paul Ryan.