There is some lightly sourced babble at Reuters today about "desire at the highest ranks of the Republican Party" for House Budget Committee chair Rep. Paul Ryan to launch a presidential bid. This is partially confirmed by more lightly sourced babble on Twitter. There's a slim chance of this ever happening — Paul Ryan, for one, has no interest — but with Obama's poll numbers slinking further into the crapper, Republican elites are still looking for new candidates with scalable support. If they decide he's their guy, they'll force him to do it.
James Pethokoukis at Reuters, who reported this "desire at the highest ranks of the Republican party" for this but is mostly just typing out his preferred fantasy, lays out the logic behind nominating the very guy who wants to end Medicare and give out coupons of depleting value for private health insurance instead while slashing top marginal tax rates and still adding $6 trillion to the national debt over the next decade to face the incumbent president:
1) Since Democrats are determined to hang Ryan's bold "Path to Prosperity" budget plan around the neck of every Republican running for office in 2012, why not have its author and best salesman advocate for it directly vs. President Obama?
2) Ryan - to borrow a favorite Simon Cowell phrase - is "current." He's smack in the middle of budgetary and ideological clash between Democrats and Republicans and would immediately energize conservative and Tea Party activists.
3) Ryan is a strong national defense conservative, as well as pro-life.
4) Ryan is from a battleground state, Wisconsin, and a battleground region, the upper Great Lakes.
5) Ryan's youth, vigor, likability and Jimmy Stewart persona - well, a wonky version of George Bailey - would be an immediate shorthand signal to voters that he's a different kind of Republican. He also has a compelling life story to tell.
6) Obama suddenly and unexpectedly to Washington insiders looks beatable - by the right candidate.
Well if they have faith in the power of a "Jimmy Stewart persona" as the key to victory, go ahead. Could backfire though!
[Image via AP]