Paul Ryan's next move

Even though the Romney/Ryan team didn’t manage to turn Wisconsin’s presidential vote around for Republicans, Paul Ryan hedged his bets and did win reelection to his House seat yesterday, and has confirmed that he’ll be returning to Congress. It’s pretty painful thinking about the ways in which Paul Ryan might’ve used the second-highest office in the land, particularly when compared to its current incumbent, but now we’ve no choice but to move back to square one. Not that we ever necessarily forget them, but for now it’s time to get back to the battles-not-wars mindset and start remembering all of the reasons Paul Ryan rose to prominence in the first place.

Remember this guy? I especially like this guy. If he can’t be vice president, then going back to Budget Chairman isn’t a total loss — somebody has to be the voice of fiscal sanity.

Of course, the question on everybody’s mind now is, will Paul Ryan be primed for his own presidential run in 2016, and will he be acting off of those considerations or be more willing to bend to Boehner’s potential plans for leading the party?

Politico‘s got the idea:

Ryan has an incentive to remain a purist — even after his vice presidential loss, the Wisconsin Republican remains an icon in the conservative movement…

Boehner, by contrast, has to deal with the grind-it-out realities of legislating and determine if he can cut a major fiscal deal with an even more liberal Democratic Senate and an triumphant President Barack Obama…

Ryan and Boehner spoke on Wednesday and had a “productive discussion,” according to GOP insiders.

“Paul Ryan in the House is stronger than ever,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who serves with him on the Budget Committee. “He’s got a big megaphone and we all have the greatest respect for him. He’s still one of the most articulate people on the budget and appropriations process, and the president still has to deal with the House.” …

With the status quo unchanged, we always knew this fiscal-cliff fight was going to be rough, and something’s gotta’ give somewhere. Whatever happens, Paul Ryan’s staunch free-market voice is why I wanted him to be vice president in the first place; with the GOP’s hopes for a federal power-shift dashed last night, in the thick of the things that Republicans can have a hand in is right back where I want him.

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