Ryan Rides Again

Once in a while politicians are supposed to lead. Once in a while they are rewarded for it. Too often, they are condemned for trying.

Yesterday, Paul Ryan proposed a budget for fiscal year 2013. Today The Washington Post quoted Republican “political professionals” who panned Ryan for offering a plan.

One feared it would spook seniors. Another, anonymous, said “House Republicans are still under the mistaken impression they have to lead.” The authors of story, Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake, said that “the vast majority of political professionals…believe that there is no expectation on the part of the American people that Republicans provide any sweeping vision of what they would do if they are in power. By offering one, all Ryan is doing is giving Democrats something to shoot at, politically speaking.”

I wonder what these people might have said about Reagan’s provocative vision in 1980 when he dared to advocate tax cuts, a pro-growth economic policy and a defense buildup designed to contain the Soviet Union. I wonder what they might have said to Churchill when he dared to proclaim that Hitler needed to be stopped.

Ryan is offering something we have not seen from Obama or the Democratic Senate. It’s called leadership.

It also serves to define the election. Obama wants to raise taxes. Ryan wants to bring them down. Obama wants a tax code that is more complicated. Ryan wants it overhauled and simplified. Obama wants to increase the deficit. Ryan offered a plan to bring it down. Absent some reforms, Medicare will go belly up. Ryan offers a plan to preserve it. Obama wants to Europeanize the United States. Ryan wants to preserve American Exceptionalism.

My colleagues in the consulting profession notwithstanding, there are occasions when courage must trump caution, a time when timidity must be eschewed and a contrast offered with bold colors.

Ryan will someday receive his due. In the meantime, the political class might start asking why the Democratic Senate has offered no budget, or why it has not passed a budget for three years, or voted on Obama’s jobs bill, or acted upon the 30+ bills passed by the House.

Political consultant Jay Townsend works with smart, passionate candidates who want to run for office, win elections and make a difference. He has successfully helped candidates learn how to run for the U.S. Senate, how to run for Congress, how to run for Mayor and develop a winning campaign marketing strategy.

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