Ryan-Cantor 2012

For a political party, the only thing worse than losing an election, is losing an election that that party should have won.  Such was the case in New York's 26th Congressional District on May 24, where the Democratic candidate won a victory that by all rights should have gone to the Republican.

But from the ashes of defeat, one can glean something positive.  For in the course of winning a single election, in a single district, the Dems have revealed their strategy for 2012.  They have opened their playbook to reveal both the issue -- Medicare -- they intend to exploit and how ruthlessly and shamelessly they intend to exploit it.

Equally clear now, thanks to NY-26, is the path through which the Dems intend to press their attack: the so-called Ryan Plan, which reforms Medicare and for which virtually every House and Senate Republican voted.

And which, in turn, dictates the only sensible GOP counter-strategy: to support, explain, and, above all, defend the Ryan Plan.  In 2012, Republicans will need both to emphasize and explain the plan's primary focus, which is spending and budgetary reform, and to defend the entitlement reforms of which reforming -- saving -- Medicare is an important part.

Jane Corwin lost for no other reason than her inability successfully to refute Kathy Hochul's charge that Ryan Plan "ends Medicare" -- a flat-out, bald-faced lie.  It is indeed sad, and a sad commentary on the destructive effects of entitlement addiction, that such a specious tactic would have had even a prayer of working in a GOP-leaning district, but unfortunately that's where we are, and with the 2012 elections and the danger of a second Obama term looming, my advice is not to whistle past the graveyard but rather take the world the way it is.

The bottom line is, Republicans must defend the Ryan Plan and specifically its entitlement reforms, to show that the Ryan Plan doesn't end Medicare, but saves it.  And who better to defend Paul Ryan's plan than Paul Ryan?

Which is why Paul Ryan, whether he wants to be president or not, needs to declare his candidacy, the sooner, the better.

As the situation currently stands, we will be heading into 2012 with 435 House and 33 Senate candidates, each of whom potentially will need, individually, to defend the Ryan Plan, in 568 individual campaigns.  Unfortunately, if Jane Corwin is any indication -- and excuse me for being brutally honest here -- a lot of these guys probably couldn't even describe the Ryan Plan, let alone defend it.

A series of presidential primary debates, on the other hand, will provide a number of national platforms -- a small stage, with a small number of candidates, which number presumably will become even smaller as the debates proceed and marginal candidates are forced to withdraw.  (Are you listening, Newt?)  At the same time, the field narrows, the audience watching -- and listening to -- the remaining candidates will grow.

And then there are the whistle stops, in the various primary states, each stop providing another platform, each one garnering national media attention.  In short, except for actually being president, the presidential primaries would present Paul Ryan with the best opportunity he will ever have to explain his proposals directly to the American people.

But just as, if not more, important, at the same time, Ryan would be providing the individual congressional and senatorial candidates with both a blueprint for, and an umbrella under which, to explain and defend the plan in their individual races.  Indeed, they might not need to explain the plan at all; the electorate will already have heard the explanation from Paul Ryan.

Even if Ryan were to lose the primaries and be forced out (an event that Ryan might even welcome if he never wanted to be president anyway), the platform and the media exposure he will have gotten in the meantime would have represented an unprecedented opportunity to present his plan to the nation -- the equivalent of tens of millions of dollars of paid advertising.

And then there's the other possibility, the one that I fully expect from a Paul Ryan presidential candidacy: the possibility that Ryan wins.  And I don't just mean the primaries.  Though I cannot imagine that Ryan would not relish the chance to share a stage and with President Obama -- to butt (rhetorical) heads with The One in a national forum where, for once, he would be able to respond immediately and directly to Obama's attacks, before the entire American people, instead of enduring them in silence, sitting in audience, as has been the case in the pasts.

But that's just icing on Ryan's personal cake.  For the rest of us, the American people, this is a debate that we need to have and who better to have the debate than the principals?  This is a debate between Barack Obama and Paul Ryan, and the whole country knows it.  And if Ryan wins that debate, who better, who with more right, than he to implement his own policies, just as Obama was given the opportunity to implement his?

But if Paul Ryan really, really doesn't want to be president, he can drop out at any time, even if he wins the primaries.  The opportunity that Ryan will have had to present his plan will have been enough.  But if he did win the primary, I would hope that he would try to go all the way.

If he does decide to go all the way -- to pursue the presidency -- he will need a running mate.  I nominate Eric Cantor.  First, as happy as we are to live in a great country, where one's religion -- Cantor is Jewish -- does not impugn one's qualifications to hold public office, let us not discount ethnicity's ability to help a ticket, especially in a close election.  And here, I don't mean just the Jewish vote, though, again, the potential of a Jewish VP candidate to peel votes away from an important Democratic constituency should not be discounted.  The extraordinary response to Binyamin Netanyahu's recent speech to a joint session of Congress, from an overwhelmingly Christian audience of Republicans and Democrats, shows how vital our alliance with Israel is and how badly Obama has botched that issue.  Based on the audience reaction to Cantor's own speech to AIPAC, Cantor would appear to be the perfect choice to exploit Obama's vulnerability vis à vis Israel.

Cantor is also from the South, providing the traditional "Southern balance" to Ryan, who of course hails from Wisconsin.

And, as Larry Kudlow recently wrote, "Eric Cantor has a lot of Reagan blood in him," backed up  by "a strong economic-growth agenda," including "a 25 percent top tax rate for individuals and business, regulatory relief, free trade, and patent protection for entrepreneurs."  What better running mate for Ryan, who also emphasizes growth?

And finally, Cantor has already endorsed a Ryan candidacy.  In my opinion, Ryan should return the favor.

Ryan-Cantor versus Obama-Biden.  A GOP dream ticket -- and the Democrats' worst nightmare.

Ryan-Cantor 2012.

Update:

Jeffrey H. Anderson, who apparently has a much greater talent for spotting the obvious than I, pointed out a major, if not the major, factor supporting a Ryan presidential run.  Since I cannot smack myself in the forehead and write at the same time, I'll let Anderson explain, in his own words (emphases mine):

Paul Ryan... hails from Wisconsin.

Among top-tier prospective nominees, Ryan would have the biggest geographical advantage in a race against Obama.  To win the presidency, Ryan would just have to win his home state and hold GOP-leaning Florida, Ohio, and Virginia.  That would be it:  election over, Obama defeated, Ryan's pen poised to sign the Obamacare-repeal legislation.

Ryan's advantage in Wisconsin as a home-state candidate would fundamentally change the dynamic in that "must win" Democratic state.

A Public Policy Polling survey in March showed Ryan having a higher net favorable rating in Wisconsin among independents, among Republicans, and among all respondents, than any other prospective GOP candidate included in the survey.  Additionally, Wisconsin borders three other states in play: Michigan, Minnesota, and the important toss-up state of Iowa. The Badger State also isn't far removed, geographically or culturally, from Ohio or western Pennsylvania.

Ryan's competitiveness in Wisconsin would open up scenarios in which he could potentially survive even the loss of the most important state on the electoral map: Florida.  Moreover, Ryan could potentially survive the loss of both Florida and Pennsylvania​-​which no other potential GOP nominee could realistically do​-​by sweeping Wisconsin, Nevada, and the three toss-up states of Colorado, Iowa, and New Hampshire.  This would be a tall order, but a feasible one if the youthful and engaging Ryan were to catch fire in the West.

In a nutshell, according to Anderson, and with whom I agree, if Ryan runs, Ryan wins.  Those who, in my the comments section to my article, faulted Ryan for failing their "purity tests," but find Anderson's analysis credible, might want to reconsider.

Gene Schwimmer is the author of The Christian State.

For a political party, the only thing worse than losing an election, is losing an election that that party should have won.  Such was the case in New York's 26th Congressional District on May 24, where the Democratic candidate won a victory that by all rights should have gone to the Republican.

But from the ashes of defeat, one can glean something positive.  For in the course of winning a single election, in a single district, the Dems have revealed their strategy for 2012.  They have opened their playbook to reveal both the issue -- Medicare -- they intend to exploit and how ruthlessly and shamelessly they intend to exploit it.

Equally clear now, thanks to NY-26, is the path through which the Dems intend to press their attack: the so-called Ryan Plan, which reforms Medicare and for which virtually every House and Senate Republican voted.

And which, in turn, dictates the only sensible GOP counter-strategy: to support, explain, and, above all, defend the Ryan Plan.  In 2012, Republicans will need both to emphasize and explain the plan's primary focus, which is spending and budgetary reform, and to defend the entitlement reforms of which reforming -- saving -- Medicare is an important part.

Jane Corwin lost for no other reason than her inability successfully to refute Kathy Hochul's charge that Ryan Plan "ends Medicare" -- a flat-out, bald-faced lie.  It is indeed sad, and a sad commentary on the destructive effects of entitlement addiction, that such a specious tactic would have had even a prayer of working in a GOP-leaning district, but unfortunately that's where we are, and with the 2012 elections and the danger of a second Obama term looming, my advice is not to whistle past the graveyard but rather take the world the way it is.

The bottom line is, Republicans must defend the Ryan Plan and specifically its entitlement reforms, to show that the Ryan Plan doesn't end Medicare, but saves it.  And who better to defend Paul Ryan's plan than Paul Ryan?

Which is why Paul Ryan, whether he wants to be president or not, needs to declare his candidacy, the sooner, the better.

As the situation currently stands, we will be heading into 2012 with 435 House and 33 Senate candidates, each of whom potentially will need, individually, to defend the Ryan Plan, in 568 individual campaigns.  Unfortunately, if Jane Corwin is any indication -- and excuse me for being brutally honest here -- a lot of these guys probably couldn't even describe the Ryan Plan, let alone defend it.

A series of presidential primary debates, on the other hand, will provide a number of national platforms -- a small stage, with a small number of candidates, which number presumably will become even smaller as the debates proceed and marginal candidates are forced to withdraw.  (Are you listening, Newt?)  At the same time, the field narrows, the audience watching -- and listening to -- the remaining candidates will grow.

And then there are the whistle stops, in the various primary states, each stop providing another platform, each one garnering national media attention.  In short, except for actually being president, the presidential primaries would present Paul Ryan with the best opportunity he will ever have to explain his proposals directly to the American people.

But just as, if not more, important, at the same time, Ryan would be providing the individual congressional and senatorial candidates with both a blueprint for, and an umbrella under which, to explain and defend the plan in their individual races.  Indeed, they might not need to explain the plan at all; the electorate will already have heard the explanation from Paul Ryan.

Even if Ryan were to lose the primaries and be forced out (an event that Ryan might even welcome if he never wanted to be president anyway), the platform and the media exposure he will have gotten in the meantime would have represented an unprecedented opportunity to present his plan to the nation -- the equivalent of tens of millions of dollars of paid advertising.

And then there's the other possibility, the one that I fully expect from a Paul Ryan presidential candidacy: the possibility that Ryan wins.  And I don't just mean the primaries.  Though I cannot imagine that Ryan would not relish the chance to share a stage and with President Obama -- to butt (rhetorical) heads with The One in a national forum where, for once, he would be able to respond immediately and directly to Obama's attacks, before the entire American people, instead of enduring them in silence, sitting in audience, as has been the case in the pasts.

But that's just icing on Ryan's personal cake.  For the rest of us, the American people, this is a debate that we need to have and who better to have the debate than the principals?  This is a debate between Barack Obama and Paul Ryan, and the whole country knows it.  And if Ryan wins that debate, who better, who with more right, than he to implement his own policies, just as Obama was given the opportunity to implement his?

But if Paul Ryan really, really doesn't want to be president, he can drop out at any time, even if he wins the primaries.  The opportunity that Ryan will have had to present his plan will have been enough.  But if he did win the primary, I would hope that he would try to go all the way.

If he does decide to go all the way -- to pursue the presidency -- he will need a running mate.  I nominate Eric Cantor.  First, as happy as we are to live in a great country, where one's religion -- Cantor is Jewish -- does not impugn one's qualifications to hold public office, let us not discount ethnicity's ability to help a ticket, especially in a close election.  And here, I don't mean just the Jewish vote, though, again, the potential of a Jewish VP candidate to peel votes away from an important Democratic constituency should not be discounted.  The extraordinary response to Binyamin Netanyahu's recent speech to a joint session of Congress, from an overwhelmingly Christian audience of Republicans and Democrats, shows how vital our alliance with Israel is and how badly Obama has botched that issue.  Based on the audience reaction to Cantor's own speech to AIPAC, Cantor would appear to be the perfect choice to exploit Obama's vulnerability vis à vis Israel.

Cantor is also from the South, providing the traditional "Southern balance" to Ryan, who of course hails from Wisconsin.

And, as Larry Kudlow recently wrote, "Eric Cantor has a lot of Reagan blood in him," backed up  by "a strong economic-growth agenda," including "a 25 percent top tax rate for individuals and business, regulatory relief, free trade, and patent protection for entrepreneurs."  What better running mate for Ryan, who also emphasizes growth?

And finally, Cantor has already endorsed a Ryan candidacy.  In my opinion, Ryan should return the favor.

Ryan-Cantor versus Obama-Biden.  A GOP dream ticket -- and the Democrats' worst nightmare.

Ryan-Cantor 2012.

Update:

Jeffrey H. Anderson, who apparently has a much greater talent for spotting the obvious than I, pointed out a major, if not the major, factor supporting a Ryan presidential run.  Since I cannot smack myself in the forehead and write at the same time, I'll let Anderson explain, in his own words (emphases mine):

Paul Ryan... hails from Wisconsin.

Among top-tier prospective nominees, Ryan would have the biggest geographical advantage in a race against Obama.  To win the presidency, Ryan would just have to win his home state and hold GOP-leaning Florida, Ohio, and Virginia.  That would be it:  election over, Obama defeated, Ryan's pen poised to sign the Obamacare-repeal legislation.

Ryan's advantage in Wisconsin as a home-state candidate would fundamentally change the dynamic in that "must win" Democratic state.

A Public Policy Polling survey in March showed Ryan having a higher net favorable rating in Wisconsin among independents, among Republicans, and among all respondents, than any other prospective GOP candidate included in the survey.  Additionally, Wisconsin borders three other states in play: Michigan, Minnesota, and the important toss-up state of Iowa. The Badger State also isn't far removed, geographically or culturally, from Ohio or western Pennsylvania.

Ryan's competitiveness in Wisconsin would open up scenarios in which he could potentially survive even the loss of the most important state on the electoral map: Florida.  Moreover, Ryan could potentially survive the loss of both Florida and Pennsylvania​-​which no other potential GOP nominee could realistically do​-​by sweeping Wisconsin, Nevada, and the three toss-up states of Colorado, Iowa, and New Hampshire.  This would be a tall order, but a feasible one if the youthful and engaging Ryan were to catch fire in the West.

In a nutshell, according to Anderson, and with whom I agree, if Ryan runs, Ryan wins.  Those who, in my the comments section to my article, faulted Ryan for failing their "purity tests," but find Anderson's analysis credible, might want to reconsider.

Gene Schwimmer is the author of The Christian State.

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