08/11/2012 03:19 pm ET Updated Oct 11, 2012

Raul Ryan -- Sarah Palin Redux?

The choice of Paul Ryan is a sign of weakness not of strength. With the election less than 90 days away and the popular vote now trending away from him, Romney apparently now feels the need to select a highly speculative vice-presidential nominee who, yes, can enrapture his often-doubtful conservative base and consolidate his party's 35-40% turnout, but what more?

Indeed the whole scenario (and tragedy) sounds familiar. Didn't the Republican Party go down that road before in 2008? Didn't Mr. Maverick John McCain pick Sarah Palin to rally the party faithful who had reservations about him? And what did it bring McCain? Renewing your right-wing constituency is not enough to win the presidency.

A candidate still needs the general electorate of independents and some minimal amount of conservative Democrats. Romney's decision to choose a man who loves Ayn Rand is not likely to appeal to those swing voters, just as Sarah Palin for related reasons failed to appeal in her turn.

The fact that Romney did not go for the safe choice in a vice-presidential selection is a token of his lack of confidence. He knows he cannot win based solely on his own appeal. So he is now forced into making the McCain error, only compounding his woes. One would have to conclude that this is a campaign which is slowly unraveling.