The waiting is over. The US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney today named the fiscally conservative Paul Ryan as the next President of the United States (that was a Romney slip of the tongue). As I reported in this previous post, speculation about Romney’s choice of running mate was one of the consistent areas of interest in the commentary sections of the American press. What would he do? Shore up the base vote, or reach out to the middle? Opting for reinforcement of the base vote is being seen as a tacit acknowledgement that the Obama attacks have been working in the key battleground states. At the same time, the Obama camp is reportedly happy to have a clearer ideological divide, thus enabling it to avoid a referendum on the President’s economic performance. It might seem curious to European eyes to choose as a running mate somebody who apparently has more ideas and policy positions than the candidate himself, but the echoes are that Republicans of all colours are happy. Ryan’s conservatism, so they say, balances Romney’s alleged liberalism (particularly when he was Governor of Massachusetts), and his relative youth (42) balances Romney’s age (65). Interestingly, for a country where these things matter, Ryan is a practising Catholic, so the Republicans have opted for a Mormon-Catholic ticket. His nomination will surely add plenty of grist to the ongoing debate between the ‘Austerians’ (as Paul Krugman has dubbed them) and the New Dealers. But it is another example of the paradoxes of America’s political system that both sides could be happy with the same decision.