The Ryan revolution

He became the unofficial GOP spokesman for free markets and fiscal restraint. No one ordered him to do this. He alone among House Republicans took the initiative, much like his hero Jack Kemp had done in the 1970s.

You might disagree with Ryan’s ideas—Lord knows I have my differences—but you can’t deny his courage to stand in the public arena, his commitment to his program, his readiness to defend it.

The GOP moved toward Ryan. In 2010 he updated the Roadmap and submitted it to the Congressional Budget Office for analysis. His colleagues were curious about the plan, how to discuss it with their constituents. Ryan taught them the details. His dissection of Obamacare as Obama sat glaring before him made Ryan a viral video star.

Everyone on the left, from President Obama to the most insignificant troll on the most obscure DailyKos comment thread, went after him. Indeed, it was the left that made Ryan the figurehead of the GOP.