James Pethokoukis

Politics and policy from inside Washington

Downside risks to a Ryan presidential run

Apr 26, 2011 18:17 UTC

Some excellent points by AllahPundit:

Would he be a unifying, consensus figure? He voted for TARP, the tax on AIG bonuses, and the auto bailout. Some would forgive him for that given his leadership on the 2012 budget, but some — like the libertarian wing — wouldn’t. Meanwhile, Democrats are planning to use his budget proposal to drive a wedge within the party by forcing a vote in the Senate and making centrist Republicans choke on the Medicare and tax provisions. Collins has already said she opposes his program; doubtless there are others. Imagine a presidential campaign where the candidate’s signature piece of legislation is hit with attack ads showcasing opposition from the moderates in his own party.

Like it or not, he’d be a huge risk with seniors given the left’s nascent “Mediscare” campaign against him. In 18 months, for many low-information voters, he’ll be the grinch who wants to take away grandma’s heart medicine to save a few pennies. In fact, Democrats are so giddy about their demagogic opportunities that they think they might be able to target his House seat, never mind a presidential bid. Ryan could and would undo some of that damage on the stump simply through argumentation and personal charm, but he wouldn’t undo all of it. I think the appeal of him running lies mainly in the fact that, given how closely identified he is already with entitlement reform, if he were viable as a potential nominee then that would necessarily mean the public is open to serious action on deficit reduction — which is a glorious thought. Are they? Maybe a little, but how about after another year and a half of bareknuckle scare tactics?

As a gloss on this, read Robert Samuelson’s indictment of the “adult in the room”who somehow never manages to act in a remotely adult fashion when it comes to the country’s long-term fiscal challenges. That’s actually the best argument for a Ryan run — although he’d be a longshot to win, it’d give him six solid months in the general election to expose Obama as a fraud on deficit reduction and hopefully pressure him into ass-saving fiscal action.

 

COMMENT

At any rate, whoever wins the actual presidential office will find that they will be the last supreme leader of the world. According to the IMF, America will drop to #2
in 2016.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/imf-bom bshell-age-of-america-about-to-end-2011- 04-25?link=MW_home_latest_news
April 25, 2011
IMF bombshell: Age of America Nears End
Commentary: China’s economy will surpass the U.S. in 2016
By Brett Arends, MarketWatch

“China’s economy will be the world’s largest within five years or so.

“(Most people are)miscounting. They’re only comparing the gross domestic products of the two countries using current exchange rates. That’s a largely meaningless comparison in real terms.

In addition to comparing the two countries based on exchange rates, the IMF analysis (as posted on their web site) …looked to the true, real-terms picture of the economies using “purchasing power parities.” That compares what people earn and spend in real terms in their domestic economies.

Under PPP, the Chinese economy will expand from $11.2 trillion this year to $19 trillion in 2016. Meanwhile the size of the U.S. economy will rise from $15.2 trillion to $18.8 trillion. That would take America’s share of the world output down to 17.7%, the lowest in modern times. China’s would reach 18%, and rising.

Just 10 years ago, the U.S. economy was three times the size of China’s.

The actual date when China surpasses the U.S. might come even earlier than the IMF predicts, or somewhat later. If the great Chinese juggernaut blows a tire, as a growing number fear it might, it could even delay things by several years. But the outcome is scarcely in doubt. “

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Why Paul Ryan could enter the 2012 presidential race

Apr 26, 2011 16:43 UTC

It’s not just Bill Kristol, gang. There’s desire at the highest ranks of the Republican Party, according to my reporting and sources, to see House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan seek the 2012 presidential nomination. Here’s why:

1) Since Democrats are determined to hang Ryan’s bold “Path to Prosperity” budget plan around the neck of every Republican running for office in 2012,  why not have its author and best salesman advocate for it directly vs. President Obama?

2) Ryan — to borrow a favorite Simon Cowell phrase — is “current.” He’s smack in the middle of budgetary and ideological clash between Democrats and Republicans and would immediately energize conservative and Tea Party activists.

3) Ryan is a strong national defense conservative, as well as pro-life.

4) Ryan is from a battleground state, Wisconsin, and a battleground region, the upper Great Lakes.

5) Ryan’s youth, vigor, likability and Jimmy Stewart persona — well, a wonky version of George Bailey — would be an immediate shorthand signal to voters that he’s a different kind of Republican. He also has a compelling life story to tell.

6) Obama suddenly and unexpectedly to Washington insiders looks beatable — by the right candidate.

The counter-argument here, of course, is that Ryan a) has repeatedly ruled out a 2012 run for family reasons (small kids) and b) may instead run for U.S. Senate in 2012. He also just turned 41 and may not want to go all in so quickly, especially against an incumbent president expected to try and raise $1 billion for re-election. But if Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich — maybe Mitch Daniels, too — fail to catch fire, expect the pressure on Ryan to run to rise.

COMMENT

Well, if the economy continues to tank, the GOP could put up a farmyard animal and still win. But assuming it’s competitive, Paul Ryan would be a really bad candidate. I happen to agree with him on most things, and I think he knows lots of good stuff about how to cut the budget. But having seen him on TV a few times, he needs at least five years and a lot of media training to be ready for prime time. Among his most obvious faults are – he talks too fast, he explains complicated issues in long complicated sentences – ie he doesn’t have the gift of explaining complicated things in a simple way, he tries to answer the question rather than get his own talking points across making him a gift for a hostile interviewer (which will be about 98% of them), he gets distracted onto side issues, he distracts himself with subclauses. His manner is eager and puppyish and he totally lacks gravitas. Obama is in reality an empty suit, but he can play a man with gravitas quite well (though the act is beginning to grate pretty badly.) In short, Ryan would look like a clever eager likeable kid against Obama and would be eaten for breakfast. He should stay where he is, sort out the budget process, which certainly requires his cleverness and wonkishness, and come back and stand for President in his fifties when he’s acquired some gravitas. In the meantime, I suggest that the GOP doesn’t put up a farmyard animal just in case it is competitive. I don’t agree with Romney as much as I agree with Ryan (or Perry) but with a GOP Senate and House (which is what there will be if there’s a GOP President) Romney will do just fine. He’ll blow with the wind, and the wind will be coming from Ryan’s direction.

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