As the rigorous embodiment of the intellectual high water mark of the conservative movement on Capitol Hill, Paul Ryan’s ascension to the national ticket will be good for him win or lose: so intones the conventional wisdom generator at the Washington Post. Paul Ryan cannot fail; it won’t be his extreme views or ignorant approach or hateful perspective or idiot budget or his pseudo-intellectual command of Arithmetic that takes down the GOP next month. Just like the conservatism he embodies, Paul Ryan cannot fail: he can only be failed And every political religion needs its man on a white horse.
Listen to the other really smart fellahs in the GOP assess Paul Ryan’s future within their party:
“If you’re 42 and it’s your first national appearance in that kind of situation and you’re still on the stage when it’s over, you won,” said former House speaker Newt Gingrich. “I thought he was gaining confidence as the evening wore on.”
What did you expect, Newt? That Biden would literally run the young-un off the stage?
And another really smart fellah:
“I thought Paul did exceptionally well, and it by no means surprised me. Under stress, he’s very calm,” said Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a friend and ally who wept when Ryan delivered his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in Tampa.
“For people who admire Paul Ryan and like Paul Ryan, what they saw was more Paul Ryan,” Walker added.
This from a grown man who wept as Paul Ryan delivered his acceptance speech in Tampa. Wept.
Here’s how the Ryan hagiography is being re-written in Washington as the campaign winds to its conclusion:
Even before he became Romney’s running mate, Ryan was regarded as the leading intellectual force in the conservative movement. The House Budget Committee chairman wrote and championed a fiscal blueprint that has been embraced by virtually the entire Republican establishment.
Except, um, when it wasn’t. GOP candidates across the country distanced themselves from the Ryan plan:
[T]he Montana Republican Party began broadcasting advertisements on behalf of Representative Denny Rehberg, who is running for the Senate, touting his independence: “Rehberg refused to support a Republican budget plan that could harm the Medicare programs so many of Montana’s seniors rely on.”
The National Republican Senatorial Committee transferred $50,000 to the Montana state party in April and May, according to campaign finance documents.
Of course, Montana — not terribly establishment, unless you count the backstage support from DC in the form of NRSC fundage. Oh, wait, here’s an establishment favorite also finding daylight between his own pretty self and the Ryan budget last summer:
Senator Scott P. Brown of Massachusetts, another Republican asserting his political independence as he runs for re-election, wrote an opinion piece for Politico.com to explain why that was unacceptable to him: “I fear that as health inflation rises, the cost of private plans will outgrow the government premium support — and the elderly will be forced to pay ever higher deductibles and co-pays,” he wrote. “Protecting those who have been counting on the current system their entire adult lives should be the key principle of reform.”
Such attacks could complicate Mr. Ryan’s vision of a united Republican Party running on his transformative vision for federal entitlements, claiming a mandate, then carrying out his plan with a Republican in the White House. It also raises questions about the future of the Ryan plan.
Apparently, force of will and intellectual grandeur might not carry the day, when it comes to the Ryan plan. Even the House majority leader foresees the possibility of Senate sleight-of-hand, or trickery, being necessary to accomplish the inevitable:
Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House majority leader, said in a recent interview that much of the Republican budget plan could be done if the party takes control of the White House and the Senate through “reconciliation,” a parliamentary process that would thwart a Democratic filibuster and give the party the chance to pass its plans with a simple Senate majority.
Yes, the future of the Ryan — now Romney/Ryan — plan. How’s that future look?
Vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan leaves Tampa as the biggest winner in the game of presidential speculation.
When it comes to 2016 and beyond, GOP sources say Ryan’s performance this week moves him ahead several spots in the pecking order.
Several rising Republican stars spoke throughout the three-day event, which was seen as a showcase for those with national ambitions.
So, when the crusted hulk of Lincoln’s party seeks a 2016 standard-bearer for its True Conservative Values, having tried and failed to nominate and elect a re-made Maverick and and a re-packaged Moderate in successive cycles, the Real Conservatives will turn to the hero of the Washington Parlor Game, “Is there an intellect among any of this conservatism?” and (despite the illustration last Thursday that, no, in fact, there is not) it may very well be Paul Ryan who re-animates the carcass of Abe Lincoln, dragging the ghosts of Nelson Rockefeller and John Vliet Lindsay onstage with him, disowning their views and their moderation while trumpeting the Dead and Buried Values of Falwell, Graham, and Schlafly for those Left Behinds who’d hoped to hear the call.
“Let Ryan be Ryan,” they’ll chant. While the rest of us sit back, surrounded by clouds of others’ medicinal pot smoke, and wonder what, exactly, they are all so upset about.