Ryan could be face of GOP’s future

August 18, 2012


— Vice presidential picks are always judged by their effect on the coming election. They rarely have any.

This time could be different. The Democrats’ Mediscare barrage is already in full swing. Paul Ryan, it seems, is determined to dispossess grandma, then toss her over a cliff. If the charge is not successfully countered, goodbye Florida.

Republicans have a twofold answer. First, hammer home that their plan affects no one over 55, let alone 65. Second, go on offense. Point out that President Obama cuts Medicare by $700 billion to finance Obamacare.

It’s a sweet judo throw: Want to bring up Medicare, supposedly our weakness? Fine. But now you’ve got to debate Obamacare, your weakness — and explain why you are robbing granny’s health care to pay for your pet project.

If Romney/Ryan can successfully counterattack Mediscare, the Ryan effect becomes a major plus. Because:

l Ryan nationalizes the election and makes it ideological, reprising the 2010 dynamic that delivered a “shellacking” to the Democrats.

l If the conversation is about big issues, Obama cannot hide from his dismal economic record and complete failure of vision. In Obama’s own on-camera commercial — “the choice ... couldn’t be bigger” — what’s his big idea? A 4.6 point increase in the marginal tax rate of 2 percent of the population.

That’s it? That’s his program? For a country with stagnant growth, ruinous debt and structural problems crying out for major entitlement and tax reform? Obama’s “plan” would cut the deficit from $1.20 trillion to $1.12 trillion. It’s a joke.

l Image. Ryan, fresh and 42, brings youth, energy and vitality — the very qualities Obama projected in 2008 and has by now depleted. “Hope and change” has become “the other guy killed a steelworker’s wife.” From transcendence to the political gutter in under four years. A new Olympic record.

While Ryan’s effect on 2012 is as yet undetermined — it depends on the success or failure of Mediscare — there is less doubt about the meaning of Ryan’s selection for beyond 2012. He could well become the face of Republicanism for a generation.

There’s a history here. By choosing George H.W. Bush in 1980, Ronald Reagan gave birth to a father-son dynasty that dominated the presidential scene for three decades. The Bush name was on six of seven consecutive national tickets.

When Dwight Eisenhower picked Richard Nixon in 1952, he turned a relatively obscure senator into a dominant national figure for a quarter-century, appearing on the presidential ticket in five of six consecutive elections.

Even losing VP candidates can ascend to party leader and presumptive presidential nominee. Ed Muskie so emerged in 1968, until he melted down in New Hampshire in 1972. Walter Mondale so emerged in 1980 and won the presidential nomination four years later. (The general election was another story.)

Winning is even better. Forty percent of 20th-century presidents were former VPs: Theodore Roosevelt, Coolidge, Truman, Johnson, Nixon, Ford and Bush (41).

Before Aug. 11, Ryan already was the party’s intellectual leader and de facto  parliamentary leader — youngest-ever House Budget Committee chairman whose fiscal blueprint has driven congressional debate for two years. Now, however, he is second only to Romney as the party’s undisputed political leader.

And while Romney is the present, Ryan is the future. Romney’s fate will be determined on Nov. 6. Ryan’s presence, assuming he acquits himself well in the campaign, will extend for decades.

Ryan’s importance is enhanced by his identity as a movement conservative. Reagan was the first movement leader in modern times to achieve the presidency. Like him, Ryan represents a new kind of conservatism for his time.

Reagan rejected the moderate accommodationism represented by Gerald Ford, the sitting president Reagan nearly overthrew in 1976. Ryan represents a new constitutional conservatism of limited government and individual opportunity that carried Republicans to victory in 2010, not just as a rejection of Obama’s big-government hyper-liberalism but also as a significant departure from the philosophically undisciplined, idiosyncratically free-spending “compassionate conservatism” of Obama’s Republican predecessor.

Ryan’s role is to make the case for a serious approach to structural problems — a hardheaded, sober-hearted conservatism that puts to shame a reactionary liberalism that, with Greece in our future, offers handouts, bromides and a 4.6 percent increase in tax rates.

If Ryan does it well, win or lose in 2012, he becomes a dominant national force. Mild and moderate Mitt Romney will have shaped the conservative future for years to come.

The cunning of history. Or if you prefer, sheer capriciousness.

— Charles Krauthammer is a columnist for Washington Post Writers Group.


JayhawkFan1985 5 years, 7 months ago

I buy a $100 hammer to knock some sense into that thick skull of yours. The GOP is pursuing an agenda of creating a modern aristocracy with the rest of us becoming serfs. No thinking person can be a registered republican at this point. Oh yeah, and they are liars too. Paul Ryan publicly complaining about "stimulus" while privately lobbying cabinet agencies for stimulus funding proves that point not to mention all romneys flip flops.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 7 months ago

Republicans cost the USA too much money! = Paul Ryan

Rt Wing Libertarian Neocon Fundamentalist Tea Party for Economic Terrorism.

Funding for Economic Terrorism is provided by:

Wal-Mart / Exxon Mobil / Corrections Corporation of America / AT&T / Pfizer Pharmaceuticals

Time Warner Cable / Comcast / Verizon / Phillip Morris International / Koch Industries

assisted through a host of right-wing think tanks and foundations.

The Architects









Republicans cost the USA too much money!

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 7 months ago

No Merrill... Moochers cost the USA to much money.

JayhawkFan1985 5 years, 7 months ago

Can't have it both ways never adds insight to the discussion. You remind me of the dog in the Disney pixar film called up. In mid sentence, he'd be distracted and yell "squirrel". That's how relevant your posts are too.

beatrice 5 years, 7 months ago

Moochers -- like bloated defense contracts and subsidies to oil companies and corporate farms? Moochers who pay 13% taxes or less? Yes, they cost the USA too much money indeed.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 7 months ago

Rt Wing Libertarian Neocon Fundamentalist Tea Party Foreign Policy

"Rebuilding America's Defences," openly advocates for total global military domination” (Very dangerous position which threatens OUR freedoms and the nations security) http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Project_for_the_New_American_Century

Our aim is to remind Americans of these lessons and to draw their consequences for today. Here are four consequences:

• we need to increase defense spending significantly if we are to carry out our global protection for Wal-Mart,Oil,Coca Cola,Pepsico,diamonds,gold etc etc etc

• we need to strengthen our ties to dictator regimes friendly to American interests and Bogus values;

• we need to promote the cause of the political right wing and economic rape for corp USA abroad;

• we need to accept responsibility for America's unique role in forcing others to accept our corrupt principles.

Such a Reaganite policy of military strength and immoral clarity may not be fashionable today. But it is necessary if the United States is to build on the extortions of this past century and to ensure our security and our greatness no matter how many innocent USA soldiers die.

The Plan





Followed by taking down our nations financial institutions !

Endorsed by:

Elliott Abrams / Gary Bauer / William J. Bennett / Jeb Bush /

Dick Cheney / Eliot A. Cohen / Midge Decter / Paula Dobriansky / Steve Forbes /

Aaron Friedberg / Francis Fukuyama / Frank Gaffney / Fred C. Ikle /

Charles Krauthammer / Donald Kagan / Zalmay Khalilzad / I. Lewis Libby /

Norman Podhoretz / Dan Quayle / Peter W. Rodman / Stephen P. Rosen /

Henry S. Rowen / Donald Rumsfeld / Vin Weber / George Weigel / Paul Wolfowitz /

Newt Gingrich / George Herbert Walker Bush / James Baker /

Vice Adm John Poindexter

JackMcKee 5 years, 7 months ago

Let's see, Charely. Obama inherits the worst economy in 80 years from a Relublican. Republicans publiclaly declare they plan to obstruct any and every move Obama attempts to fix the economy. Somehow, we avoid a second Great Depression.

In my book, Obama has a pretty damn good record on the economy.

beatrice 5 years, 7 months ago

Yes, we will seek help by re-electing President Obama. That will help the nation.

Maybe next time, instead of personally attacking another poster you can add something worthwhile. (I won't hold my breath.)

beatrice 5 years, 7 months ago

It was the Republicans who allowed derivatives and the packaging of mortgages on the bond market that drove the housing bubble. While most of the Bush years were prosperous (if we don't count deficits and unfunded wars), but it is that last year that really counts, don't ya think? If a race car is really good in the first half of a race before crashing, guess what ... it still counts as a crash. The Bush administration crashed the economy.

Why don't we ask Mitt Romney and the so-called "job creaters" if they were better off now than the day Obama took office. Due to record low taxes, are you afraid of what the answer might be?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

"Republicans have a twofold answer. First, hammer home that their plan affects no one over 55, let alone 65. Second, go on offense. Point out that President Obama cuts Medicare by $700 billion to finance Obamacare."

In other words, tell seniors not to worry, Republicans intend to only throw Grandma under the bus in 11 years, not right now. And lie by very large omission regarding Obama's "cuts" to Medicare.

JackMcKee 5 years, 7 months ago

I definately need help. Help typing on a tiny phone keyboard.

As for politics, as a once proud card carrying member of the GOP, I did get help. It wasn't hard to realize I needed a change when you guys went full on crazy in 2000. Tropic Thunder had a much better way to describe it.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

Here's an excellent analysis of the combination of ignorance and dishonesty involved when rightwingers go off on a whine about "entitlements."

With Ryan's Ascent, A Few Thoughts On 'Entitlement' by GEOFF NUNBERG


Maddy Griffin 5 years, 7 months ago

I thought that after the McCain/Palin fiasco, the GOP would take a long hard look at their party and come back STRONG this election cycle. Romney/Ryan really?? This is the best you can come up with. And Ryan as the future face of the GOP??Really?? I think the GOP needs a serious facelift.Or transplant, they can do that with faces now you know.

JackMcKee 5 years, 7 months ago

gramm, I agree. The GOP clown conference aka primaries were a great indication of the state of the party. Their professed "smartest member" was talking about making the Moon a state. I mean, come on man. Don't bogart that good stuff Newt.

JayhawkFan1985 5 years, 7 months ago

The debt is the result of several factors.

  1. Bush era tax cuts.
  2. Bush era wars in Iraq and Afganistan.
  3. Bush era prescription coverages for seniors on Medicare.
  4. Bush era economic collapse reducing tax revenues.

Yeah, all these things are Obamas fault. I concede the point...not.

Rock chalk, making stuff up doesn't support your point. Or maybe you're like George castanza who said, "if you believe it, it's not a lie."

JayhawkFan1985 5 years, 7 months ago

Did you think comparing you to a short, fat, balding guy was an insult? You have thin skin....

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

  1. He wanted to extend them only for the lower and middle classes, but couldn't get R in Congress to do that, so he chose to extend all of them.
  2. Obama ended the war in Iraq, and moved the resources to Afghanistan, as he said he would.
  3. Bush stopped Medicare from being able to negotiate prices with insurance companies on medications, making them much more expensive.
  4. That's simply incorrect - the overwhelming majority of sub-prime loans that collapsed the market were made by lenders not subject to the CRA.

camper 5 years, 7 months ago

"Obama’s “plan” would cut the deficit from $1.20 trillion to $1.12 trillion. It’s a joke."

Thanks for that. It is much harder to cut spending than to increase it and President Obama is working from a template from his predecessor. Easier said than done. And lets try not to forget that tax revenues are declining because of the poor economy, people need more assistance because of the jobless rate, rising health care costs are putting extreme presuure on Medicare/Medicade, and so on.

So even if President Obama could get out the scissors and congress passes a balanced budget, lets not forget that austerity will displace more workers and could result in even higher defecits. Austerity is being tested in Europe, and it is backfiring. China, did the opposite and is faring much better. The US is basically in the middle of the road.

This is typical for Krauthammer. Did he have the same stance when President Bush was in office? More misinformation from a hack such as Krauthammer.

camper 5 years, 7 months ago

"Vice presidential picks are always judged by their effect on the coming election. They rarely have any."

Where was Krauthammer when Palin was selected the last election? This blew the election for McCain. It is possible the Republicans threw the election because they did not want to take over in 2008 when we were on the brink. They continued there methods of sabatoge thru obstructionism (ie debt ceiling crisis etc). It will be very difficult for me to ever vote Republican again. Right now I see them as traitors, party before country.

yourworstnightmare 5 years, 7 months ago

Ryan's budget proposes to end medicare and replace it with a voucher system that seniors can use toward purchasing private insurance. It also includes the $5 billion in cuts to the program that Ryan and Romney criticize Obama for.

No cuts for defense, though. That budget must increase.

Ryan is a wealth redistributionist who would take money from the middle and lower classes and redistribute it to the wealthy.

Ryan's "moral compass" is Ayn Rand, an atheist jewish Russian who furthered the idea that the absolute free market is the one and only moral source in the universe.

Ryan has been in government his whole life, and has never run a business or held an executive position or really any sort of private sector job whatsoever.

The new face of the GOP.

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 7 months ago

"I’ve waited a few days to lay out my analysis of the selection of Paul Ryan for the VP slot on the Romney ticket. Unlike politicos like Dick Morris who badmouths the selection privately and shills for it publicly, I’ll tell you what I really think. My sources tell me David Koch played a key role in Ryan’s selection and that Koch’s wife Julia had been quietly lobbying for Ryan. The selection was cemented at the July 22nd fundraiser Koch held for Romney at the former’s sumptuous Hamptons estate. Koch pledged $100 million more to C-4 and Super PAC efforts for Romney [in exchange] for Ryan’s selection."

This is from Roger Stone, one of the dirtiest tricksters the GOP ever came up with.
If these allegations are true, multiple felonies have been committed on every side of the equation. Let's see if there's anyone with "stones" to investigate it, either journalistically or at the DoJ.

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 7 months ago

Does anybody else think it's really ironic that the Kochs spend far more avoiding taxes than what they would have spent just to pay them?

yourworstnightmare 5 years, 7 months ago

I doubt that they spend more to avoid taxes.

yourworstnightmare 5 years, 7 months ago

What is Rmoney hiding in his tax returns? We know he is rich and that he paid below 15% in taxes in 2010.

What else is in those returns that he wants to keep from the American people?

beatrice 5 years, 7 months ago

As I recall, not too very long ago it was Sarah Palin who conservative writers were calling the face of the GOP's future. Now, they don't even invite her to speak at their convention.

Clearly, conservatives see vice presidential candidates as "the future" of their party since apparently the person actually at the head of the ticket -- last time and this time -- is not. Ryan, like Palin before, is far more interesting than the person Republicans picked to run for President.

Although Palin is now an out and out embarrassment for Republicans, I do see Ryan having a longer shelf life should Romney / Ryan lose the election. I predict Ryan will even be the choice in 2016, running against Hillary Clinton.

Charlie Bannister 5 years, 7 months ago

I truly love the GOP ticket for this election year. What a stark contrast for the betterment of all our problems when compared to our current leaders. Anyone who can defend adding 6 TRILLION dollars to the national debt in 4 years has some issues with reality. We WILL be Greece if we elect OBummer again. Can't come soon enough. I am old enough to have voted for Reagan both times. What he did in 8 years was truly miraculous as far as job creation and building our incredible military. Romney and Ryan have that same potential to do wonderful things for this blessed country. Come on November 6th!!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

Hmm-- the most obvious legacy of the Reagan years was a much larger deficit upon his departure from office.

And a RyanRomney administration would result in exactly the same, along with continued shipping of jobs out of the country, worsening unemployment (but the 0.1% will be doing just grand.)

beatrice 5 years, 7 months ago

You want to vote out President Obama over deficits, yet you praise Reagan and brag about twice voting for him? You are aware that Reagan tripled the deficit during his time in office, are you not? This is why Ron Paul claimed in a GOP debate that he like what Reagan said, he just didn't like what Reagan actually did. Reagan is the one who got the big deficit ball rolling.

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

Reagan tripled the national "debt", not "deficit".

Deficits are the amount our national debt increases each year.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.