The Un-Palin Pick: California's Shrinking GOP Has Something to Cheer About

California Republicans finally have something to cheer about: a veep pick much different from the last one, and then there's that tax debate.

Conservative Republican blogger Jon Fleischman was emphatic: "He's smart, he has credibility and he's serious. You can't call him a flake."

In other words, Paul Ryan was no Sarah Palin.

Fleischman was attending the California Republican Convention this weekend in Burbank, where delegates were downright giddy over Mitt's pick.

They know Ryan, had seen him in action and were confident he would easily go toe-to-toe with Joe Biden in a debate, and aggravate the heck out of the show hosts at MSNBC.

And there was even a hope that by elevating the national party's point man on budget and taxes there could be some favorable fallout in the deep-blue left coast.

"This choice is bad for Jerry Brown and Prop 30," pronounced state party chief Tom Del Beccaro. "We now have a strong spokesman on budget reform and the tax code. The debate to come will not be favorable to Brown's plan to simply raise tax rates."

Liberal Democrats say they are as thrilled with the choice of a major budget cutter as well -- allowing them to re-cue the "roll grandma's wheelchair off the cliff" TV spot. But the Obama campaign will take him uber-seriously. Ryan is a vastly different running mate than the last one.

To her credit, Sarah Palin was charismatic and brought sort of a blue-collar-hockey-mom sensibility to the 2008 ticket. She made a great speech at the convention. But here is a prediction: after this campaign is over, there will be no HBO movie depicting Paul Ryan curled up in a fetal position.

Conan Nolan is a general assignment reporter for NBC4 Los Angeles and the host of "News Conference."

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