For hundreds of years, various cultures around the world have practiced the art of tasseography, in which the pattern of leaves at the bottom of a tea cup (or coffee grounds on the bottom of a coffee cup) are interpreted to predict fortunes. In politics, "reading the tea leaves" refers to the quest — usually the media's — to find clues to some significant future event. Over the coming days, many metaphorical tea leaves will be read in an effort to divine Mitt Romney's choice of a running mate, because this is really the only thing going on in the race right now. We will track this political tasseography as it happens, for as long as it happens. Our second installment: The Ryan Family Vacation.
What Are We Scrutinizing?: Paul Ryan's just announced, weeklong family camping trip to Colorado starting this Saturday.
Why It Might Mean Something: Romney is expected to reveal his running mate as early as the end of this week, and no later than next week. If Ryan is off roasting marshmallows in the middle of the woods somewhere, that — as First Read notes — would presumably take him "out of the equation."
Why It Might Mean Nothing: Just because Ryan says he's going on a weeklong camping trip doesn't mean he is! In fact, "I'm going on a weeklong camping trip" happens to be a classic fake excuse. For now, there's no reason to take Ryan at his word. Just yesterday, Romney told Fox News, "You don’t think that we would be so silly as to not provide, from time to time, the capacity to throw people off, do you?"