Can Paul Ryan save the GOP?

Ryan is liked and respected—not just by his colleagues but by Democrats and even the president. He is viewed as decent, thoughtful—and totally driven by substance. He is a fifth-generation Wisconsin native who is married with three children. He sleeps on a cot in his office and returns home to be with his family every Thursday.

The health-care bill may be signed, but the debate will continue as a central element of the 2010 and 2012 campaigns. Obama has his troops energized; ironically, like George W. Bush, he could win reelection not with independents but by rallying the passions of his base. At the moment, Gallup polling suggest three in 10 Democrats are “enthusiastic” about the bill passing, while four in 10 Republicans are “angry”; in other words, both parties’ bases will be revved up. But Republicans need a “yes” man who can articulate a compelling positive message, agenda, and plan that is not partisan, devisive, angry or bitter.

People who know Paul Ryan say he will be president one day. If he keeps on cranking out alternative ideas and positive solutions for the Republicans, he could just end up as everyone’s favorite for the No. 2 slot in 2012.