Mitt Romney tried to sneak Paul Ryan onto the national ticket on Saturday while Paul Krugman was out of the country and on vacation.

It did not work.

Probably writing from one of those socialist summer camps, he points out that Paul Ryan is just another in a long line of charming Harold Hill-lesque frauds. Krugman then explains The Long Game:

So whence comes the Ryan reputation? As I said in my last post, it’s because many commentators want to tell a story about US politics that makes them feel and look good — a story in which both parties are equally at fault in our national stalemate, and in which said commentators stand above the fray. This story requires that there be good, honest, technically savvy conservative politicians, so that you can point to these politicians and say how much you admire them, even if you disagree with some of their ideas; after all, unless you lavish praise on some conservatives, you don’t come across as nobly even-handed.

The trouble, of course, is that it’s really really hard to find any actual conservative politicians who deserve that praise. Ryan, with his flaky numbers (and actually very hard-line stance on social issues), certainly doesn’t. But a large part of the commentariat decided early on that they were going to cast Ryan in the role of Serious Honest Conservative, and have been very unwilling to reconsider that casting call in the light of evidence.

So that’s the constituency Romney is targeting: not a large segment of the electorate, but a few hundred at most editors, reporters, programmers, and pundits. His hope is that Ryan’s unjustified reputation for honest wonkery will transfer to the ticket as a whole.

Somehow this will be lost on David Gregory and Mark Halperin and they will still spend the bulk of their sleepovers crushing on Paul Ryan while braiding each other’s hair, eating Cool Ranch Doritos, and wondering if the children that they will have with Ryan will have those dreamy blue eyes…