Jewish World Review May 25, 2011 / 21 Iyar, 5771
Run, Paul Ryan, Run
By Jonah Goldberg
It's terrible not because Daniels was obviously the best candidate or that he had the best chance to beat President Obama. It's terrible because Daniels would have elevated the debate on entitlement reform and the budget in a way that no one else currently in the race seems able to.
Oh, the "tea parties" will have plenty of candidates. Minnesota Rep.
Nearly every stripe of conservative will have at least one standard-bearer, or perhaps several (including gay Republicans, who can rally around the Fred Karger juggernaut). Except, right now no one appears equipped to defend the GOP House budget, written by Rep.
The president's counterproposal, splashed out in a rambling partisan attack in April, essentially reintroduces the whole "death panels" debate, albeit at a macroeconomic level, by empowering 15 presidentially appointed members of the
Regardless, by rights, the 2012 presidential contest should be a choice between those two approaches, plus the parties' wildly divergent views on spending and taxes. But no wonk on a white horse seems to be riding to the rescue.
Obviously, Gingrich's spontaneous human combustion had a lot to do with his own problems. If he had merely offered a modest dissent from the plan, he wouldn't have spent the last week walking back his statements with all the grace of the barnyard dog stepping on a field of garden rakes in the Foghorn Leghorn cartoons.
Still, the Gingrich spectacle confirms one of Ryan's original strategic aims: to "box in" the various presidential candidates on the issue of entitlement reform. But it also shows why they came up with all of those "third rail" metaphors in the first place.
So the question many are asking is, should Ryan ride to the rescue? If the election is going to be a referendum on his plan, maybe the one guy who can sell it should get in the race. On Monday, House Majority Leader
If Ryan ran, he would probably drive the other candidates further away from his own plan while forcing them to come up with serious alternatives of their own. Many think that if he got the nomination, he would clean Obama's clock in the debates.
It's a lot to ask. He has three young kids and would have to get organized and funded from a cold start for a long-shot run. But politics is about moments, and this one is calling him. Unless someone suddenly rises to the challenge, the cries of "Help us,
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