I think he could do better. And so could America. We could draft him for the Presidency.
In truth, a presidential run makes a lot more sense for Ryan than does a Senate race. Ryan is already the de facto leader of the Republican Party on the most critical issues of the day. If he’s concerned about spending time with his family, what better way and better time (when they are little and not distressed teenagers thrown into the national spotlight) to bond with them than a family adventure seeing America followed by a job where dad could work from home? While there are many potential candidates for the Wisconsin Senate seat, who among the current presidential contenders is really up to winning and then governing? A new poll shows a plurality of GOP voters don’t think any of them is. (“Some 45 percent now say they’re dissatisfied with the GOP candidates who have declared or are thought to be serious about running, up from 33 percent two months ago, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll. Just 41 percent are satisfied with the likely Republican field, down from 52 percent.”)
One Senate seat is not vital to the republic, but Ryan himself has made the case how critical it is to address our looming debt crisis now. Without the White House and without someone exceptionally capable to advocate for it, it’s hard to see how the “The Path to Prosperity” is ever going to be enacted. I’m at a loss to think of another Republican who can bring together Tea Partyers, wonks, social conservatives, hawks, libertarians, Wall Street and Main Street Republicans and connect with a new generation of Republicans.
In a very practical sense, the question for Ryan is: Why not give his party and the country six months (September 2011 to February 2012)? By then he’ll either have failed to catch fire or he’ll have a clear path to the presidential nomination. Six months. Twenty-four weeks. For a politician constantly at work in Congress, in town halls and in media appearances, that doesn’t sound like that much. (In fact, I would venture that his schedule is more rigorous now than the average presidential contender’s.)
You see, there is no good reason for Ryan to avoid a presidential run. Sometimes, if you don’t see the opening and seize it, a better one never comes along. Bill Clinton understood this in 1992.
Take the opening, Representative. Take it.
For an earlier post where I have looked at Rep. Ryan’s work on the budget, check here.
- Sen. Kohl’s departure keeps spotlight on Wisconsin (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- FiveThirtyEight: Another Democratic Retirement (fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Paul Ryan To Decide Quickly If He’ll Run For Senate (alan.com)
- “Minnesota Congressman Paul Ryan Mulling Senate Bid” (powerlineblog.com)