Every so often, there is a Paul Ryan boomlet in Washington’s establishment pundit class. The latest Ryan rumor that has them pinning into overdrive is that presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney plans to choose Wisconsin’s Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate.
A better way of putting it might be that Romney is on the verge of succumbing to the blandishments of political consultants who have identified the articulate and photogenic Ryan as a consultant’s ideal candidate for pretty much any political office.
When inside-the-Beltway pundits start to spin that Republican “movers and shakers” and “strategists” are urging Romney to choose Ryan, Tea Party and constitutional conservative activists should check their wallets to make sure their pockets haven’t been picked.
By all accounts, Paul Ryan is a man who lives by conservative principles. With his boyish good looks and earnest Midwestern manner he can be an effective, even passionate advocate for conservative principles. Many in the conservative movement admire Ryan’s gumption in proposing a plan to return the federal government to fiscal sanity.
The problem is the Ryan plan uses the Washington, DC version of sanity.
When Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity” budget plan came out in April of this year, it was roundly thrashed by grassroots Tea Party and conservative activists because it provided for spending to rise to $4 trillion over the next five years.
Even worse in the minds of Tea Partiers, Ryan's proposal reduces deficits but does not eliminate them until 2040 -- 28 years from now, according to the CBO analysis. The "Path to Prosperity" document includes projections for the public debt between 2011 and 2021, and it shows debt going up every single year. Ryan's budget shows the debt increasing to $16.2 trillion in 2012 and rising every year after that up to $23.1 trillion in 2021.
The slogan, “Bad, but not as bad as Obama,” isn’t going to garner many Tea Party or conservative votes.
Paul Ryan gets a lot of points for proposing a plan to reduce federal spending, but he is no “boat rocking” conservative. When Tea Party and grassroots small government constitutional conservative activists look at Paul Ryan’s record of supporting TARP, supporting the debt ceiling deal and supporting the Bush administration’s spending binge, they are likely to say “Not so fast on Paul, Mitt.”