“‘It’s a very good idea,’ says Rep. Tom McClintock (R., Calif.). ‘Paul Ryan would make an excellent candidate and an excellent president.’ If Democrats are intent on making the House Republican budget the central issue of the 2012 campaign, who better than that budget’s author — and most capable defender — to be the GOP nominee? Other members certainly feel the same, McClintock said — you won’t find too many Republicans with a negative opinion of Ryan — but he insisted there isn’t a concerted effort among members to urge Ryan to get in the race. ‘I’ve not heard any rumors that he’s seriously considering it,’ he said. ‘But I still think it’s a pretty good idea.’
“[A] few are not so convinced that Ryan would be the right man for the job. ‘Is he old enough to run?’ jokes Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R., Kan.), a tea-party freshman who serves on Ryan’s budget committee. While Huelskamp said Ryan ‘does a great job’ as budget chairman, he suggested that Ryan’s status as a ‘Beltway insider’ could hurt him in a political environment that is decidedly anti-Washington, particularly when it comes to Ryan’s votes for TARP and other bailouts.”
“To Hochul supporters, there was no question what turned the tide of the campaign. At the Democrat’s election night celebration at a UAW hall in Amherst, an elated crowd chanted, ‘Medicare,’ over and over again as Hochul declared victory…
“One Republican strategist who follows House races put the party’s position in grimmer terms, predicting: ‘Medicare will define 2012.’
“From Day One, our members need to be attacking their challenger for supporting the president’s Medicare-cutting health care bill and his plan to ration benefits for future seniors,” the strategist wrote in an email. ‘Paul Ryan was wrong; leaders don’t change polls — scaring seniors changes polls, and we had better be prepared to do it as shamelessly as they did in this special if we want to retain the majority.'”
“So the question many are asking is, should Ryan ride to the rescue? If the election is going to be a referendum on his plan, maybe the one guy who can sell it should do just that. On Monday, House majority leader Eric Cantor called for Ryan to get in the race, saying, ‘Paul’s about real leadership.’ Charles Krauthammer on Fox News’s Special Report said he wouldn’t just urge Ryan to run, he’d form a ‘posse.’
“If Ryan ran, he would probably drive the other candidates farther away from his own plan while forcing them to come up with serious alternatives of their own. Many think that if he got the nomination, he would clean Obama’s clock in the debates.
“It’s a lot to ask. He has three young kids and would have to get organized and funded from a cold start for a long-shot run. But politics is about moments, and this one is calling him. Unless someone suddenly rises to the challenge, the cries of ‘Help us, Paul Ryan, you’re our only hope!’ will only get louder.”
“I used to worry that Sarah Palin would be the Barry Goldwater of 2012. My bad. Paul Ryan is the Barry Goldwater of 2012…
“The political dangers in the Ryan budget could have been predicted in advance. In fact, they were predicted in advance – and widely. Yet the GOP proceeded anyway, all but four members of the House putting themselves on record in favor. Any acknowledgment of these dangers was instantly proclaimed taboo, as Newt Gingrich has painfully learned. Bill Kristol and Charles Krauthammer have enthusiastically promoted Paul Ryan as a presidential candidate. And this morning, as the reckoning arrives, the denial continues…
“Now we’re likely headed to the worst of all possible worlds. The GOP will run on a platform crafted to be maximally obnoxious to downscale voters. Some may hope that Tim Pawlenty’s biography may cushion the pain. Perhaps that’s right, at least as compared to Mitt Romney, who in the 2008 primaries did worst among Republicans earning less than $100,000 a year. And yes, Pawlenty is keeping his distance from the Ryan plan. But biography only takes you so far. The big issues of 2012 will be jobs and incomes in a nation still unrecovered from the catastrophe of 2008-2009. What does the GOP have to say to hard-pressed voters? Thus far the answer is: we offer Medicare cuts, Medicaid cuts, and tighter money aimed at raising the external value of the dollar.
No candidate, not even if he or she is born in a log cabin, would be able to sell that message to America’s working class.
“The NY-26 race will be wildly over-interpreted by the press and the Democrats as a death-blow to Ryan and the GOP budget. But that interpretation may well have a self-fulfilling aspect to it. You can be sure that the Democrats will only intensify their MediScare tactics.
“If you think that’s a huge problem, Ryan getting in the race might be the best possible option. Because by getting in, Ryan would allow the rest of the field to differentiate themselves from Ryan and the House budget. Most of the contenders would have to differentiate themselves from Ryan while also coming up with more serious entitlement-reform plans of their own than they might otherwise.
“Let’s assume Ryan gets in and loses and, say, Tim Pawlenty wins the nomination. After ‘pushing off’ from Ryan in the primaries, Pawlenty would be far better situated to tell Obama in the general, ‘Look, you’re running against Paul Ryan. He’s not on this stage. I am. I beat Paul Ryan. Deal with me and my ideas.'”