Ryan is Missing His Big Chance

August 24th, 2011 at 1:34 am | 52 Comments |

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Noah Kristula-Green pokes fun at the Weekly Standard and its editor, Bill Kristol, for their unabashed promotion of a Paul Ryan presidential run. Fair enough. However, it also should be noted that Kristol and the Standard are not alone. Politico reports that the conservative policy elite is “profoundly dissatisfied with the current field” of GOP candidates and thus pines for a fresh face such as Ryan’s.

I share their dissatisfaction, which is why I also have been urging Ryan to run. (Unfortunately, he didn’t listen to me!) Because of his intelligence, his convictions and his studiousness, I believe that Ryan has a unique and rarified ability to make the case against Obama, while uniting the disparate center-right factions.

A Ryan candidacy, moreover, would have seriously shaken up the race and made the ultimate GOP standard-bearer — even it wasn’t Ryan — a better and stronger nominee. (Remember the Obama-Hillary race in 2008 and how it generated enthusiasm and excitement for the Dems?)

Other pundits and analysts agree with this assessment, but think that it’s premature for Ryan to risk his political career on a difficult presidential run.

Philip Klein, for instance, thinks that Ryan made the right decision. He “still has plenty of years to run for president,” Phil argues. “In fact, even if he waited until 2032, he’d still be younger than Mitt Romney is now.”

This is literally true, of course, because Ryan is just 41 years young. But in fact, a prospective presidential candidate doesn’t really have his entire life to run for the presidency. He has a small and fleeting window of opportunity in which to make his case to the American people.

Indeed, a convergence of the man and the moment happens rarely in politics; and when it does, a politician had better be prepared to act. Otherwise, he’ll quickly be discarded and forgotten. In the digital age especially, the public’s attention span is short; people are fickle and impatient. They want what’s fresh and new, not stale and old.

Certainly, this helps to explain how Barack Obama went from being an obscure and little known state senator in 2004 to becoming the President of the United States in 2008.

So by 2032, unfortunately, Ryan likely will be yesterday’s news. Politically speaking at least, he might be little more than an aging, career politician whose time has passed. The same set of unique public policy issues and historical circumstances which made a Ryan presidential candidacy so compelling in 2012 likely will no longer be in play. America will have moved on; and so, too, will have Ryan.

Bill Clinton and Barack Obama understood this dynamic. They understood the nature of American politics in the digital age. That’s why they ran for the presidency when many political “experts” counseled that doing so was a fool’s errand. Clinton and Obama disagreed; and, as a result, they made history. Paul Ryan’s time may have come and gone. I hope not.

John Guardiano blogs at www.ResoluteCon.Com, and you can follow him on Twitter: @JohnRGuardiano.

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52 Comments so far ↓

  • SteveT

    You know Ryan’s main idea, the Roadmap to the Future or whatever it’s called, is extremely unpopular right?

    It’s funny (at least to me) that both Chris Christie and Paul Ryan are being touted for President by the GOP when there’s a real chance they may not keep the jobs they currently have come next election.

    • armstp

      Chris Christie would not even win in his home state of New Jersey. He is pretty unpopular there and there is buyers remorse.

      Christie has basically done zero. Just like McDonnell in Virginia all he did to balance the budget was push forward several billions of pension payments the State should have been making. Fancy accounting. All Christie has going for him is a big mouth.

  • mlindroo

    From Guardiano’s minorityreport.com blog:
    > the 2012 election will be a referendum on Obama and the future.
    > And so, the election will not be determined by whichever distant
    > legislative initiatives a then-obscure congressman did or did not support.


    Ryan’s controversial, wildly unpopular and highly partisan budget proposal to gut the modern welfare state as we know it was unveiled *this year* wasn’t it? It is not “distant” at all.

    What substantial upside does Ryan have? Guardiano does not say, apart from general vague platitudes (“extraordinarily articulate, positive and youthful, and politically appealing”) I think the negatives are far more tangible:

    *He is only 41.

    *He has no executive experience (wasn’t this supposed to be a major GOP talking point against Obama?)

    *He has never ran a national campaign before, and is starting late.

    *He is AT BEST lukewarm about running!

    *He is a leading member of the universally despised 112th Congress (checked the House GOP approval ratings recently?)

    *He is not well known except in his home state of Wisconsin where his approval rating is a measly 41%,

    *His main “advantage” is that he is the chief architect of a hugely controversial and widely disliked budget proposal that does not deal at all with what ought to be the main concern in 2012 namely how to create jobs and reduce the budget deficit in the medium term. Before the press started paying attention to Anthony Weiner and the debt ceiling debate, Ryan & the GOP were getting clobbered…GOP politicians were running away from the Ryan plan left and right, losing NY-26 in the process.

    I can understand your frustration, though. The GOP has precisely one credible non-extremist candidate left. Unfortunately, this person (Mitt Romney) is a total joke and fraud … if the “new” Republican Tea Party votes for this guy, it will expose the Tea Party movement as a fraud too. So what are you going to do? Vote for “George W.Bush on steroids”?


    • wileedog

      +1. Excellent summary.

      I don’t get it either. The Dems were salivating at the thought of chaining the entire GOP to Ryan’s wildly unpopular plan next November before everyone got distracted by the debt ceiling fiasco. Now the GOP is crying in their beers that Ryan and his millstone won’t put themselves front and center in the national spotlight voluntarily?

      I do have to laugh that the head cheerleader for this political seppuku is Bill Kristol, one of the guys largely responsible for releasing Sarah Palin on the world. His ability to be utterly wrong about anything is uncanny.

  • Demosthenes

    John, do you have any intention of ever directly addressing the JSF? Or are any and all military expenses always a priori justifiable, because they are military expenses?

    • Traveler51

      This is the first post I have read from Guardiano that wasn’t just a belicose rant on the need to bomb something or someone. So he picks a lying weasel welded at the hip to big donors such as the Johnson company in Wisconsin and who is actively trying to find new loopholes for his handlers. Keep it going, John, you are a tutorial on what is wrong with a neo-con.

  • balconesfault

    Barack Obama went from being an obscure and little known state senator in 2004 to becoming the President of the United States in 2008.

    For what it’s worth, Barack Obama didn’t become President of the United States until 2009.

    We know that 2008 was a horrible economic debacle for America, but don’t start trying to back up the clock so you can blame the meltdown on Obama.

  • ottovbvs

    I must say I was really looking forward to a run by Eddie Munster lookalike Paul Ryan. The more visibility his plans to end Medicare and Medicaid received the better.

  • Oldskool

    Not doubt he’s still smarting from how badly he embarrassed himself when (R)s went to the White House a year or two ago and Obama insisted on the meeting being televised. He looked awfully petty compared to the prez and if I were him, I wouldn’t want a repeat in a presidential debate.

    • balconesfault

      That’s what I was thinking. If Ryan has any handlers with sense, they’re telling him exactly how poorly he’d fare in such a meetup.

  • dafyd

    I was wondering what you think of Paul Ryan and GOP leaders asking for money for town halls meetings? Personally I think it is pretty shitty and yes I would feel the same way if some democrat did the same thing.
    Don’t you think you are jumping the gun trying to convince people that Ryan is a good choice for president? I completely agree that medicare/SS should be fixed, but is his way really the way to do it?
    I have two grandmas, one with dementia and the other one (husband’s) is 95 year old. There are bad days and then there are worst days with her. My mom stopped working to care for my grandma and one of my husband’s aunt quit her job to care for his grandma. We can’t (really don’t want to, for obvious reasons) put them in a nursery home. If it was not for medicare and SS both, there would be no way that each my mom and aunt could pay the bills and watch (24 hours) each grandma. Medicine, food, pills, house mortgages, car payments…ect.The rest of each family contributes to what SS/medicare does not.

    I don’t pretend to know how to fix SS/Medicare but what Ryan came up with just does not add up, and now charging people who really can’t spend any extra money even $10, should be considered the last person to lead anything.

    • PracticalGirl

      + 1 on the ridiculous notion of certain Reps charging constituents (through special interest groups) for access to their elected representatives. Even one who swept into power on the Tea Party carpet, bashing his opponent for failure to hold town halls…And then refusing to hold any.


  • blueshark

    My own opinion is that Ryan’s pose as a sincere, intelligent, finance wonk is a complete fraud. This is the guy who voted down the line for all of the reckless spending policies advanced by the Bush administration. The one whose proposed budgetary plan would increase the deficit while pulling the healthcare rug out from under the elderly and disabled all in the name of maintaining lower taxes for the mmost wealthy. America’s Accountant? Don’t make me laugh

    But I think that there’s another reason, which I have not yet seen addressed, as to why his candidacy couldn’t fly with the current GOP. The man is a allegedly die-hard Ayn-Rander who reportedly requires his staff to read “Atlas Shrugged” (personally, I’d rather pull my own head off rather than try to read that silly screed again). A cornerstone of Randian thought is an outright rejection of religion in general and Christianity in particular; in fact, an aggressive atheism. How is that going to play with the uber-Christian base that is currently following Bachmann and Perry? Not at all well, I suspect.

    • balconesfault

      This is the guy who voted down the line for all of the reckless spending policies advanced by the Bush administration.

      Bingo. The man who voted for Bush’s Medicare Expansion without demanding revenue streams to pay for it should be required to go through at least a decade of atonement before he’s considered a responsible voice on budget discipline.

  • Frumplestiltskin

    “Indeed, a convergence of the man and the moment happens rarely in politics” Wow, I guess JG is not familiar with the concept of Democracy then. The convergence of man (or woman) and the moment is the essence of Democratic elections. Name one President who was elected as a result of the divergence of the man and the moment?

    As to Ryan, he is a shit eating fraud. He lies with astonishing frequency (he latest claimed that Obama would not sign a debt ceiling bill without tax hikes, that was a total falsehood, Obama said he would not sign one that did not take us through the election)

    As to his Medicare horseshit, if abolishing it in favor of premium support is such a good idea, then why wait 10 years? Imagine saying to parents we will offer school vouchers in 10 years so vote for us now. It is effing idiotic. He states this nonsense to try to buy off present day seniors because without old white people the Republican party is left to its cracker rump of Jimboobs and WillyP’s. But in 10 years Democrats would only have to run on restoring Medicare.

    As I said, he is a fraud.

    • Chris Balsz

      “He lies with astonishing frequency (he latest claimed that Obama would not sign a debt ceiling bill without tax hikes, that was a total falsehood, Obama said he would not sign one that did not take us through the election).”

      He was in the room with the President, and there’s no transcript of their meetings. How do you know what the President did or did not tell him?

      Here’s the President’s position on June 29, 2011:

      “There’s been a lot of discussion about revenues and raising taxes in recent weeks, so I want to be clear about what we’re proposing here. I spent the last two years cutting taxes for ordinary Americans, and I want to extend those middle-class tax cuts. The tax cuts I’m proposing we get rid of are tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires; tax breaks for oil companies and hedge fund managers and corporate jet owners.

      It would be nice if we could keep every tax break there is, but we’ve got to make some tough choices here if we want to reduce our deficit. And if we choose to keep those tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, if we choose to keep a tax break for corporate jet owners, if we choose to keep tax breaks for oil and gas companies that are making hundreds of billions of dollars, then that means we’ve got to cut some kids off from getting a college scholarship. That means we’ve got to stop funding certain grants for medical research. That means that food safety may be compromised. That means that Medicare has to bear a greater part of the burden. Those are the choices we have to make.

      So the bottom line is this: Any agreement to reduce our deficit is going to require tough decisions and balanced solutions. And before we ask our seniors to pay more for health care, before we cut our children’s education, before we sacrifice our commitment to the research and innovation that will help create more jobs in the economy, I think it’s only fair to ask an oil company or a corporate jet owner that has done so well to give up a tax break that no other business enjoys. I don’t think that’s real radical. I think the majority of Americans agree with that.

      …Q They don’t want any tax increases, as they put it. And the House Speaker says not only that he doesn’t support that, but that plan won’t — will not pass the House. So my question is will you insist, ultimately, that a deal has to include those tax increases that you just laid out? Is that an absolute red line for you? And if it is, can you explain to us how that can possibly get through the Congress?

      THE PRESIDENT: Look, I think that what we’ve seen in negotiations here in Washington is a lot of people say a lot of things to satisfy their base or to get on cable news, but that hopefully, leaders at a certain point rise to the occasion and they do the right thing for the American people. And that’s what I expect to happen this time. Call me naïve, but my expectation is that leaders are going to lead.

      Now, I just want to be clear about what’s at stake here. The Republicans say they want to reduce the deficit. Every single observer who’s not an elected official, who’s not a politician, says we can’t reduce our deficit in the scale and scope that we need to without having a balanced approach that looks at everything.

      Democrats have to accept some painful spending cuts that hurt some of our constituencies and we may not like. And we’ve shown a willingness to do that for the greater good. To say, look, there are some things that are good programs that are nice to have; we can’t afford them right now.

      I, as Commander-in-Chief, have to have difficult conversations with the Pentagon saying, you know what, there’s fat here; we’re going to have to trim it out. And Bob Gates has already done a good job identifying $400 billion in cuts, but we’re going to do more. And I promise you the preference of the Pentagon would not to cut any more, because they feel like they’ve already given.

      So we’re going to have to look at entitlements — and that’s always difficult politically. But I’ve been willing to say we need to see where we can reduce the cost of health care spending and Medicare and Medicaid in the out-years, not by shifting costs on to seniors, as some have proposed, but rather by actually reducing those costs. But even if we’re doing it in a smart way, that’s still tough politics. But it’s the right thing to do.

      So the question is, if everybody else is willing to take on their sacred cows and do tough things in order to achieve the goal of real deficit reduction, then I think it would be hard for the Republicans to stand there and say that the tax break for corporate jets is sufficiently important that we’re not willing to come to the table and get a deal done. Or, we’re so concerned about protecting oil and gas subsidies for oil companies that are making money hand over fist — that’s the reason we’re not going to come to a deal.

      I don’t think that’s a sustainable position. And the truth of the matter is, if you talk to Republicans who are not currently in office, like Alan Simpson who co-chaired my bipartisan commission, he doesn’t think that’s a sustainable position. Pete Domenici, Republican, co-chaired something with Alice Rivlin, the Democrat, says that’s — he doesn’t think that’s a sustainable position. You can’t reduce the deficit to the levels that it needs to be reduced without having some revenue in the mix.

      And the revenue we’re talking about isn’t coming out of the pockets of middle-class families that are struggling. It’s coming out of folks who are doing extraordinarily well and are enjoying the lowest tax rates since before I was born.

      If you are a wealthy CEO or a health — hedge fund manager in America right now, your taxes are lower than they have ever been. They’re lower than they’ve been since the 1950s. And you can afford it. You’ll still be able to ride on your corporate jet; you’re just going to have to pay a little more.

      And if we — I just want to emphasize what I said earlier. If we do not have revenues, that means there are a bunch of kids out there who are not getting college scholarships. If we do not have those revenues, then the kinds of cuts that would be required might compromise the National Weather Service. It means that we would not be funding critical medical research. It means that food inspection might be compromised. And I’ve said to some of the Republican leaders, you go talk to your constituents, the Republican constituents, and ask them are they willing to compromise their kids’ safety so that some corporate jet owner continues to get a tax break. And I’m pretty sure what the answer would be.

      So we’re going to keep on having these conversations. And my belief is, is that the Republican leadership in Congress will, hopefully sooner rather than later, come to the conclusion that they need to make the right decisions for the country; that everybody else has been willing to move off their maximalist position — they need to do the same.

      Q You think they’ll ultimately give in?

      THE PRESIDENT: My expectation is that they’ll do the responsible thing.


      • Frumplestiltskin

        and Mr. Dysphasia lies himself. Ryan was not part of the negotiating team so we know full well he said nothing to him because he was not there.
        Cantor pushed Obama, Obama said he would rather go down then allow a debt ceiling bill to pass that did not extend to the next election. Remember he said “don’t call my bluff.”?

        your response is to pull out some presser? absolutely idiotic.

        At issue was Cantor’s repeated push to do a short-term resolution and Obama’s insistence that he would not accept one.

        “Eric, don’t call my bluff. I’m going to the American people on this,” the president said, according to both Cantor and another attendee. “This process is confirming what the American people think is the worst about Washington: that everyone is more interested in posturing, political positioning, and protecting their base, than in resolving real problems.”

        So both Obama and Cantor acknowledged that this was explicitly said, Ryan was not in the room, Ryan then mischaracterizes this conversation (hell, he lied about it) and your response is to take Ryan’s word over it.

        Get medical help now, the medicine to treat your condition is not working, you are getting more and more incoherent.

      • LFC

        Thanks for that, Chris. It’s inspiring to see such an intelligent and level-headed individual as the leader of our nation. If only the leaders of the opposing party had 1/10 of his smarts, common sense, and desire to do what’s right for the nation.

        Obama’s words mark him as a leader. Ryan’s words mark him as a putz.

        • Chris Balsz

          This ain’t Cuba, and it’s none of the President’s business whether people get to use their own income by “paying a little more”.

    • torourke

      We’ve had this discussion in here before Frump, and it’s you that is being disingenuous. I could just as easily accuse the entire Democratic Party of being a bunch of frauds for passing Obamacare, arguing that it would save thousand of lives each year, but then waiting for 2014 for the exchanges to start up. What about the thousands of people who would die without Obamacare from 2011-13? If it’s so great, why not start now? The lives of thousands of people are hanging in the balance!

      Oh, what’s that you say? It takes time to start up those exchanges? They structured the exchanges to start up in 2014 so they could get a better ten-year score from the CBO? Administrative and political considerations were factored into their legislation? Frankly, I’m shocked.

      You damn well know that even with those 55 and older exempt from Ryan’s plan, Democrats still played the Mediscare game and showed a Paul Ryan figure dumping Granny off of a cliff in one ad. If Ryan went ahead and initiated the plan to begin right away, would you give him an ounce of credit? Would you laud his political courage and argue against the torrent of Mediscare tactics that would erupt from your side? No? Gee, it’s almost as if your argument is fraudulent.

  • drdredel

    Ok ok… we all know that JG is an idiot and Ryan is one too, but you know who *would make an excellent GOP candidate?
    He has all the things Republicans love! He’s insane, he’s for small government (really… a government of 1), he’s won every election he’s ever been in by a landslide (in fact, I believe they were unanimous), he’s had 40+ years of experience running a country, and he’s looking for something new to do now! Plus he has terrific name recognition and limitless resources to fund his campaign.
    He’s also much more likable than any of the current candidates.


    • laingirl

      He dresses more interestingly too!

    • Frumplestiltskin

      lol, i am going to steal that

    • pnwguy


      Great analysis. You forget the negative about having a limited grasp of English, but then, that hasn’t stopped Sarah Palin from consideration.

      But then there is the anti-colonial, African, Muslim part too. I left out “reparationist”, but I’ll let Smarg add that :-)

  • Saladdin

    Come on John, Ryan’s problem is medicare. Shows that you can’t go around scaring seniors for 2 years and then try to get them to trust you when your medicare cuts are the same as ACA.

    Additionally, SteveT is right. Christie will lose to Corey Booker and Ryan is not popular in Wisconsin right now. His re-election chances are moderate now, not assured.

    Besides, Ryan doesn’t come off as being especially charismatic, meaning his ability to explain and sell his plan doesn’t come off as an especially credible argument.

  • TJ Parker

    Ryan and his Roadmap are both well known and unpopular. You could do worse only with Sarah Palin.

    The Roadmap is easily demolished politically: He puts up a chart of huge costs that only increase astronomically. The government can’t pay these costs! Therefore we transfer the costs back to Americans. Problem solved! Without solving the problem: rising medical costs.

    Perry is the better dingleberry for this election. His defeat will help eliminate the teavangelical stranglehold on the GOP.

    • torourke

      You really nailed that one T.J…except that unfortunately for you, Richard Foster, Medicare’s chief actuary, testified in front of Congress that Ryan’s plan was more promising for reining in exploding Medicare costs than Obama’s massive price controls and IPAB. Better luck next time.

  • valkayec

    JG, your small government ideology…combined with the GOP’s adamant desire to rid the country of a Democrat Party inspired social safety net…leads you to rally around Paul Ryan. The representative has a poor record in the House. How many bills has he written and/or sponsored that have passed? And of those bills he wrote or sponsored, what were their legislative content?

    How about this legislative record:

    - In 2005, Ryan introduced 2 bills that would have granted SC Johnson, which has donated $41K to him, special exemptions from tariffs. Specifically, his bills sought to suspend duties for imported components of “unique air freshener products … assembled by S.C. Johnson in the United States,” Ryan said during floor remarks at the time. Neither bill advanced.

    - In 2006, Ryan put forward another bill to reduce the duty on S.C. Johnson cleaning appliances “capable of dispensing cleaning solution into a tub or shower enclosure using a button-activated, battery-powered piston pump controlled by a microchip.” That bill didn’t move.

    - Ryan sponsored or cosponsored three bills that would have allowed college fraternities and sororities to accept tax-deductible charitable contributions for the construction of more housing. None of the bills became law. Fraternity & Sorority PAC began giving donations to Ryan that, by 2010, totaled $24,500, according to OpenSecrets.org.

    - Between ’98 and ’10, Ryan cosponsored five bills to cut taxes for beer brewers, reduce beer taxes to pre-1991 levels and repeal occupational taxes relating to distilled spirits, wine and beer. None became law.

    - In 1999, the congressman tried to give a tax break to a group the Los Angeles Times referred to as “the golf-course underprivileged.” That year, he cosponsored the Caddie Relief Act, which would have allowed golf caddies to forgo paying taxes on their earnings.

    - In 2006, he voted against an amendment that would have barred funding for contracts with U.S. companies incorporated offshore to avoid paying U.S. taxes.

    - In 2004, he opposed an amendment that would have prohibited the Export-Import Bank from approving direct loans to U.S. companies incorporated offshore to avoid U.S. taxes.

    That’s a really great record to run on. BTW, you know what got Alan Simpson in trouble many long years ago? Answer: attempting to create a special tax loophole that essentially benefited one business entity, EJ Gallo. Now, we have Ryan attempting to do the same thing.

    Here’s the really humorous thing: it’s reported Wisconsin Dems are campaigning for him to run for President. Why? Because they know he’d lose to Obama, and it would get him to relinquish his House seat which would probably fall into the Dem side of the aisle, given the Dem leaning of his district. He’s remained popular in his district because he’s brought home the “bacon” in many instances, but his budget that privatized Medicare while giving tax cuts to the uber wealthy didn’t go down well. His constituents felt betrayed and confused…and you can be sure that his latest gaffe (charging $35 admission for townhall meetings) isn’t setting well either. At this point, I’m not betting he’ll even be re-elected to the House in 2012.

    Finally, when was the last time a House Representative successfully gained a party Presidential nomination or was elected President? Answer: never.

    If the GOP hierarchy and donors don’t like the current candidate field, it’s their own fault. They let the Tea Party & Religious Right in and lost control of them. Now the GOP is owned by the radical right so any candidate that appeals to this base enough to win the nomination automatically will be rejected by independents and moderates. Romney and Huntsman are the GOP’s best chance to win the general election, but the base hates them. So, what’s left? Perry? Bachmann? Ron Paul? Good luck with them in Nov. 2012.

  • think4yourself

    Mostly all said above. I can’t think of any reason why Ryan would be a good candidate for the GOP – if they want to win the Presidency. Ryan is telegenic, good looking and generally well spoken. Until recently he legislative accomplishments were pretty non-existent so the opposition did not have much to pin on him.

    But his claim to fame now is a budget that the Dems would love to run against. It’s one that most GOP didn’t really want because what it does to seniors (I know it’s tomorrow’s seniors not today’s but that explanation didn’t go over very well before).

    With Ryan you get no Latino vote, few Independent votes and lose many senior votes. Not sure how the Southern crowd will warm to this slick-talking, elite looking, Northener

    - But the Tea Party will love you.

    Seems to me that Christie, Rubio and maybe Nikki Haley or Bobbie Jindal would have a better chance than Ryan in a general election.

  • laingirl

    No all seniors are as selfish as Ryan thought. While present and near future “seniors” were exempt from the ravages of Ryan’s Roadmap to Prosperty, a lot of seniors were concerned with respect to their own children and grandchildren. Even some young people who have parents not yet 55 were concerned for their parents, recognizing that unless the economy improved greatly, they would be responsible for helping their parents financially while trying to save for their own retirement. All ages would have been negatively affected and most of those who understood Ryan’s plan did not like it.

    Did anyone try to defend Ryan’s projections of the huge decreases in unemployment? I never heard any.

    Perry is a dingleberry, but I live in Texas and the thought of his getting the nomination scares the crap out of me.

    • MSheridan


      “Did anyone try to defend Ryan’s projections of the huge decreases in unemployment? I never heard any.”

      No. They pulled that part of the projection out early after it received merciless (and completely just) ridicule. What they went with was that the “Path to Prosperity” model assumed that unemployment would decrease under this plan and the initial unemployment numbers (from the CBO) were unrealistic projections, so the model was not to blame that the outcome was unrealistic. In the end, the model selectively used some numbers provided by the CBO, ignored others, and added in a fudge factor. Unbelievably, they actually considered that a defense.

  • TerryF98

    Ryan is a first class coward.

    “Afraid of the protesters he would draw for his plan to slash the social safety net in order to make the rich richer, this month Rep. Paul Ryan cancelled public town halls in favor of events requiring paid tickets.

    In response, unemployed constituents in Ryan’s district are asking for face-to-face meetings by conducting sit-ins at his local offices. So far, Ryan’s staff has twice threatened to call the police on those protesters.

    The protests are continuing despite these threats, and so is the escalation from Paul Ryan’s office. Yesterday, cameras were banned at one of his local offices.”

  • Watusie

    Lots of mentions of the Ryan Plan being “unpopular”. Not enough mention of it also being fantasy-based, strewn with errors of fact and logic, and utterly, completely and irreparably incapable of improving our deficit problem.

  • Slide

    Democrats would absolutely love for Ryan to be the GOP candidate for President. His proposed budget is deeply unpopular and would be even more so when under the inevitable scrutiny that a Presidential campaign brings. End Medicare as we know while giving tax breaks to the richest Americans? Wow.. please run. Please.

  • TerryF98

    Ryan produces a budget that has deficits for each year to year 10. Then he votes for a balanced budget amendment!

    Please Conservatives tell me what is right with his position.

  • Nanotek

    “My own opinion is that Ryan’s pose as a sincere, intelligent, finance wonk is a complete fraud.”

    ditto … he was caught trying to carve out special exceptions for his two largest donors … both he and Perry are snake-oil salesmen

  • armstp

    Paul Ryan is just another airhead Palin or Bachmann. This is a guy who has not gotten passed a single major piece of legislation. His legislative achievements are zero.

    He has had his plan out there for a couple of years now and he has done zero with it. He has rallied zero support. He has not tried to reach across the aisle and make a compromise with Democrats to get his planned passed. All this guy has done is put his name on a budget that was written (with so many errors) by the Heritage Foundation.

    Through Ryan’s entire career he has show absolutely no political genius, intellect or achievement. Zero. At least Obama has some intellect and charisma.

    This guy would be a terrible President.

  • IntelliWriter

    Republicans think Ryan is the second coming or something. I’d love it if he joined the race. He could wave around his Path to Poverty and watch his poll numbers go into negative territory. With a large segment of the population (i.e. people who will need Medicare when they turn 65), he’s about as popular as Hurricane Irene hurtling up the East Coast.

  • Chris Balsz

    When you answer the question “Why isn’t Paul Ryan the Speaker of the House” then you have answered why he should not run for President in 2012.

  • Polifan

    I can see Ryan coming up in the future but a lot of young politicians and “newer” faces are being pushed forward too quick. Experience matters. They constantly quote Reagan but should remember what he brought to the table. He was also a former Democrat (which probably made him more aware of the concerns of both parties). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronald_Reagan

  • shinnok

    How the fuck is he gonna win Florida on that platform when his opponent has a billion dollars? Give it up…unless you’re gonna create another Great Depression…oh…wait – that’s the Plan?

  • NRA Liberal

    Why does Frum print the inane maunderings of Guardiano? This is the political-analysis counterpart of a Vivian Darkbloom column.

    • John Guardiano

      NRA Liberal,

      If you think this is bad — and I don’t, obviously, agree with you; I’m proud of my work — then you should see what David declines to print! It’d probably cause the hair on your back to stand up!


      • TerryF98

        Pretty nearly everything you write is bad.

        I have been here from day one and I can only remember two pieces that you have written which have any value whatsoever. 90% of your output you could cut and paste from article to article. Each one could be entitled “Don’t cut defense spending under any circumstances, the end”

        • LFC

          Agreed, Terry. They are the worst types of opinion pieces; 90% (or more) opinion and conjecture, 10% (or less) facts to back it up, always 0% solutions.

      • Bunker555

        Stick to your war-mongering. Read this post from mlindroo and get educated on Ryan. At best he is mediocre.

        mlindroo // Aug 23, 2011 at 11:54 am

        I agree … I can’t understand what conservative elites are smoking when saying Paul Ryan would be an awesome candidate. Here is a guy who is 41, hails from the universally despised 112th Congress, is not that well known except in his home state of Wisconsin where his approval rating is a measly 41%, has never ran a national campaign before, has no previous executive experience, etc. etc.. What does he bring to the table? Well, he is the chief architect of a hugely controversial and widely disliked budget proposal to gut social security and the modern welfare state as we know it!

        We all know GOP elites deeply admire his courage and mastery of the issues, but there is no indication the GOP’s best bet in 2012 is to focus on the long term debt and entitlement reform as long as the unemployment rate is >9%. By rights, this election should be about Obama’s accomplishments yet the GOP apparently wants to make this a “comparative” election — whose vision of the future is scarier!

        Like Bachmann and Perry, Ryan is just another “unconditional surrender” candidate. George W.Bush at least PRETENDED to be a different, kinder, gentler compassionate conservative who would “change the tone” in Washington. Romney is unprincipled enough to work with independents and Democrats to get things done, but the other leading GOP candidates all seem like rigid, uncompromising ideologues. As bad as the world economy is, Republicans still have to offer an alternative to Obama that seems non-scary/compelling to independent voters. And I just can’t see how Ryan (or rather, his budget proposal), Perry, Bachmann would accomplish that.


  • Graychin

    I think that the Republican Party’s greatest weakness is that they don’t listen to anyone except each other.

    Therefore, they haven’t noticed how profoundly unpopular Ryan’s ideas are.

    • Polifan

      While I disagree with Ryan, he came up with something. That does count for something in an obstruction only atmosphere.

      He is crunching the numbers and evidently trying to counter Democratic policy. I don’t think either party is innocent of not using medicare as wedge issue Graychin.

      • Bunker555

        Ryan pulled the numbers from his rear and they stink so much, that even the Tea Baggers are pissed of. He should have spun it better on Fixed News to get traction with the economic illiterates.

  • zephae

    I’m no fan of JG’s writing, but I don’t think this one is actually that bad. When you think about a Ryan candidacy in purely political terms, I think JG is right that now will probably be his best shot. That’s not to say that he wouldn’t face major challenges and pitfalls, especially considering his ridiculous budget plan to end Medicare as it is currently known and shift the tax burden more to the lower and middle classes (on top of it’s fantasy-world assumptions and projections), but when you look at today’s GOP it’s hard to imagine that there would ever be a better time for him to run. If he has any intention of ever attempting to run for the presidency, now would be the time for him to try. The longer he waits, the better the economy is going to look and the less attractive his more radical ideological views are going to be.

    So all in all, I think Marcus’s assessment is correct, but I also think it’s now or never if he has any aspirations for the high office. It’s hard for me to imagine him becoming more attractive as a candidate in future races.