Washington - Alas, we lost a most desirable candidate for the White House this week, one that is not charismatic, did not write (or have someone else write) his memoir, has displayed no jump shot in public and did not leave important documents on his desk while gallivanting around the country in campaign mode and heading for vacation on Martha's Vineyard. In the first instance, I am talking about Congressman Paul Ryan. In the second, I am talking about President you-know-who. Since the day he was inaugurated, he has been campaigning for his second term, all the while expressing ambivalence about wanting a second term. That is nonsense. He is living rent-free and has that big airplane to fly about the country in.
Ryan has now declared that he is inalterably not seeking the Republican nomination. He did it despite pressure from Karl Rove and Gov. Mitch Daniels and after a long hike on the countryside with Bill Bennett, the corpulent ex-Reagan cabinet official. On second thought, the hike could not have been that long. The last time I saw Bennett, a long hike would have been life threatening.
Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, took his name out of the race with characteristic seriousness. "I sincerely appreciate the support from those eager to chart a brighter future for the next generation," he declared. "While humbled by the encouragement, I have not changed my mind, and therefore I am not seeking our party's nomination for President." There was not much charisma here. He is not running.
Yet, why did he say after the latest Republican debate that, "I just have yet to see a strong and principled articulation of the kind of limited government, opportunity-society path that we would provide as an alternative to the Obama cradle-to-grave welfare state"? I thought then he was going to run. Does he have someone else in mind?
Whenever Obama presents a budget, Ryan already has an alternative budget to campaign against him with. It passed the house. It strikes at the heart of our current budgetary impasse, taking on entitlements and the huge cancer that Obama introduced into our polity against the public's wishes, Obamacare. Ryan is the natural opponent of Obama. He has the demonstrated intellectual leadership that would make him a powerful force on the campaign trail, to say nothing of in debate.