Washington’s establishment pundit class, both Republican and Democrat, has been spinning into overdrive on the rumor that House Budget Committee Chairman Republican Paul Ryan of Wisconsin was thinking about running for President.
A better way of putting it might be that Ryan is on the verge of succumbing to the blandishments of political consultants who have been frozen out of the Perry and Romney campaigns.
When Bush apologist Karl Rove and neo-con Bill Kristol start to spin that Republican “movers and shakers” and “strategists” are urging Ryan to get in the GOP presidential race, Tea Party and constitutional conservative activists should check their wallets to make sure their pockets haven’t been picked.
Paul Ryan by all accounts is a man who lives by conservative principles. With his boyish good looks and earnest Midwestern manner, he can be an effective — even passionate — advocate for conservative principles. Many in the conservative movement admire Ryan’s gumption in proposing a plan to return the federal government to fiscal sanity.
The problem is that the Ryan plan uses the Washington, D.C., version of sanity.
When Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity” budget plan came out in April of this year, it was roundly thrashed by grass-roots Tea Party and conservative activists because it provided for spending to rise to $4 trillion over the next five years.
Even worse in the minds of Tea Partyers, Ryan's proposal reduces deficits but it does not eliminate them until 2040, 29 years from now, according to the CBO analysis. The "Path to Prosperity" document includes projections for the public debt between 2011 and 2021, and it shows debt going up every single year. Ryan's budget shows the debt increasing to $16.2 trillion in 2012 and rising every year after that up to $23.1 trillion in 2021.
The slogan, “Bad, but not as bad as Obama,” isn’t going to garner many Tea Party votes.
Paul Ryan may get some points for proposing a real plan to reform federal spending, which is more than Obama has done, but Tea Party and grass-roots conservative activists who look at Paul Ryan’s record of supporting TARP, supporting the debt-ceiling deal, and supporting the Bush administration’s spending binge are saying “Not so fast, Paul.”
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