Downside risks to a Ryan presidential run
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.