In his column today, Charles Krauthammer sizes up the potential GOP presidential candidates and concludes by noting there's a chance Paul Ryan could end up running in 2012:
Even less likely to run — the 2016 bench
A remarkable class of young up-and-comers includes Paul Ryan, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Nikki Haley. All impressive, all new to the national stage, all with bright futures. 2012, however, is too early — except possibly for Ryan, who last week became de facto leader of the Republican Party. For months, he will be going head-to-head with President Obama on the budget, which is a surrogate for the central issue of 2012: the proper role of government. If Ryan acquits himself well, by summer’s end he could emerge as a formidable anti-Obama.
One problem: Ryan has zero inclination to run. Wants to continue what he’s doing right now. Would have to be drafted. That would require persuasion. Can anyone rustle up a posse?
Consider the posse already rustled up, Dr. Krauthammer. The boss, WEEKLY STANDARD readers (and cruisers!), and Ryan's own constituents have been urging Ryan to run for some time now. The latest sign that the "Draft Ryan" movement is continuing apace may be found in Jeff Zeleny's New York Times report this week:
CLINTON, Wis. — Representative Paul D. Ryan was deep into an explanation of his deficit reduction plan, which sits at the heart of a contentious debate between Republicans and President Obama, when he called on a constituent raising her hand in the front row of a town meeting here.
“We need a viable Republican candidate for president,” pleaded the woman, Nancy Champion, a retired schoolteacher. “Will you run against him?”
Mr. Ryan grinned, blushed and promptly tried to change the subject, telling his audience: “She’s not related to me. She wouldn’t say that if she was.” But no, he added, he does not intend to join the Republican nominating contest and try to run against Mr. Obama.
He simply wants to debate him.
But what good is it to debate Obama if no serious Republican presidential candidate is willing to fight for Ryan's proposed reforms? This week, Tim Pawlenty and Newt Gingrich distanced themselves from Ryan's Medicare reform, the essential part of Ryan's budget that eventually eliminates the deficit and the national debt.