Five reasons Ryan bowed out

He wasn’t enthused. In one important respect, there was never much chance of a Ryan campaign, sources say, because Ryan was rarely enthusiastic about the prospect. Out of respect to his many supporters, including his longtime mentor Bill Bennett, Ryan considered the advice of political operatives, friends, and colleagues — but never let himself get carried away. As Stephen Hayes of The Weekly Standard has reported, he did take meetings with top GOP consultants, including Frank Luntz, but Ryan was more interested in getting a sense of the field and Republican thinking than in gauging his own chances. His wife, Janna, and his young children were reportedly supportive of his running for the nomination, but had reservations about his once more becoming a national target for the Left. In a phone call this afternoon, former Wisconsin governor Tommy Thompson said that he “understood [Ryan’s] reasons” for the decision. “He would have been the best candidate, by far,” Thompson said. “I encouraged him to run. He’ll be a contender for many years to come.”…

He did not want to discredit the cause. One of Ryan’s chief concerns all along was whether an unsuccessful presidential campaign would undermine the GOP’s fiscal hawks. After the bruising spring budget battle, he felt that he had finally convinced the party to start moving in the right direction. Ryan is young, and he could recover from a failed race, but he worried that his fiscal agenda might end up politically discredited should a Ryan 2012 campaign come to an inglorious end in the snows of New Hampshire or the hills of South Carolina. “As far as I am concerned, my answer has not changed,” he told NRO this summer. “I feel like I am in a good place where I am right now. I have a young family, and I can balance that and the cause, and make a big difference where I am.”