THE WEEKLY STANDARD has confirmed that Paul Ryan will announce he does not intend to run for what will be an open Wisconsin Senate seat in 2012, with Herb Kohl's retirement. As House Budget chair, Ryan has his hands full, developing and promoting various efforts at "right-wing social engineering"—i.e., important and necessary conservative policy reforms—and defending them against timid politicians of all parties. So running for the Senate now would be a distraction, and in any case being a junior senator in 2013 wouldn't really be a step up.
The question Ryan may well have to face later this summer won't be about the Senate. It will be whether the GOP, the conservative movement, and the country need him to run for president.