Voters in New York’s 26th congressional district are far more Republican than the state as a whole, but they elected a Democrat, Kathy Hochul, this May when she ran a campaign based primarily on a pledge to protect Medicare from the cuts outlined in the GOP budget that had sailed through the House of Representatives earlier in the spring. So why do Republicans increasingly see the author of that budget – Serious Ideas Man Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan — as their savior in the 2012 presidential election?
Paul has been getting buzz across the conservative blogosphere and the mainstream media this week as he is reportedly mulling a run. Young, energetic, and more willing than most to put GOP rhetoric onto paper in the form of real policy proposals — proposals that tend to upset the elderly and everyone else who likes Social Security and Medicare — Ryan strikes many as the conservative with his head on his shoulders (read: not Rick Perry) the movement needs.
And to be sure, Perry’s bomb-throwing makes Ryan seem moderate and sensible. He’s been urged on by Jeb Bush, and perhaps that shouldn’t surprise. The same Bushies who already disliked Perry for personal, Texas reasons are tied in to the business community that isn’t comfortable with someone referring to the Federal Reserve chairman as “treasonous.”
So Ryan may strike many as the more civil conservative to run against Obama.
But he is intimately connected to a budget and Medicare privatization scheme that so upsets voters that they defy their partisan tendencies to register outrage. Do Republicans really want this man at the top of the ballot next fall? His campaign might look more like Barry Goldwater’s — a disaster that satiated the conservative movement — than Ronald Reagan’s.