I represent a part of America that includes inner cities, rural areas, suburbs and factory towns. Over the years I have seen and heard from a lot from families, from those running small businesses, and from people who are in need. But what I have heard lately troubles me the most. There is something different in their voice and in their words. What I hear from them are diminished dreams, lowered expectations, uncertain futures.Rep. Paul Ryan • In prepared remarks the just-tapped vice-presidential candidate plans to give this morning. (more here)
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The Christian Science Monitor’s comparison of the Paul Ryan and Obama deficit plans nails things with a single sentence: “As Obama himself noted today, this fiscal confrontation represents a profound disagreement about the nature of government.”
There’s more to it than that. But that one sentence says more about the differences between the philosophies of the two than anything we can put together. Maybe Paul Ryan should run for president in 2012. Because, clearly, Obama’s giving him more attention than any other member of Congress now, and he’s clearly looking at an ideological fight that the American people should answer to. What direction do we want for our country in the long term: Paul Ryan’s or Obama’s? Or is it somewhere in-between? That’s the real question here. By giving it so much attention — and such a tough rebuttal — that’s effectively what Obama just did. By putting the Ryan plan on a pedestal, then knocking it over, he raised Paul Ryan’s stature even further. Unlike any of the fights with Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann or Donald Trump, this is about actual real non-trivial stuff. If we were the GOP, we’d be poking at Paul Ryan to convince him to run, stat.
To put it simply, there was a period in the early part of the GOP primary race where the candidates were looking extremely boring or unserious — Donald Trump was a thing at this point — and (rather than paying attention to them) Obama responded by focusing heavily on Ryan’s budget plan, even if he disagreed with it. Even though Ryan didn’t run for president then, the point above is the fundamental conversation our country now gets to have on a national scale. Whether or not you like Ryan, he bumps up the “maturity” factor of the 2012 campaign significantly and could help Romney from getting sucked into another “Etch A Sketch” blender for a news cycle.