About a year ago the G.O.P. seemed to be in an endless and desperate search for a presidential nominee that had many wondering if Republicans would ever be able to find someone they could enthusiastically get behind. The political world was still a buzz over Michele Bachmann’s victory in the Ames Straw Poll which resulted in Tim Pawlenty ending his candidacy and withdrawing from the race. We were also talking about the potential of Texas Governor Rick Perry who announced his candidthe presidential the day before Pawlenty dropped out of it.
Yet many Republicans were still holding out for someone else to surprise us with their candidacy and win us over. The media’s talking points were that Bachmann was too nuts, Santorum and Cain were too dangerous, Romney would not be able to overcome his creation of Romneycare, Newt Gingrich was too extreme and undisciplined, Perry was to closely associated to George W. Bush, and the others were just not known or liked enough to be in serious contention. So many Republicans were looking for a White Knight. We had urged people like John Thune and Mike Pence to run but Thune decided to forego the race and Pence decided to run for Governor of Indiana. Some were urging names like Sarah Palin, Mitch Daniels, Haley Barbour, and Chris Christie to come forward and save the day. Others, including myself, were urging House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan to run.
Then suddenly exactly one year ago today, Congressman Ryan released the following statement;
“I sincerely appreciate the support from those eager to chart a brighter future for the next generation. While humbled by the encouragement, I have not changed my mind, and therefore I am not seeking our party’s nomination for President. I remain hopeful that our party will nominate a candidate committed to a pro-growth agenda of reform that restores the promise and prosperity of our exceptional nation. I remain grateful to those I serve in Southern Wisconsin for the unique opportunity to advance this effort in Congress.”
Just days before this announcement, word was out that Ryan had been giving a run for President some serious consideration and many fiscal conservatives were buoyed by the prospects. In one post entitled ” Heavy Hitters Urge Paul Ryan to Run for President“, White House 2012 detailed the high praise being offered for Paul Ryan’s potential candidacy from such political luminaries as Mitch Daniels, Jeb Bush, Bill Bennett and Scott Walker. And in that same post I wrote;
“If Paul Ryan were to be our Republican presidential nominee, he will begin a national dialogue that will consist of tough truths and sellable solutions, not bumper sticker slogans and hapless hyperbole. If Paul Ryan runs, the question will not be is he ready to do the job, the question will be is America ready for Paul Ryan. We already know that the guy who currently has the job was not ready for it. But I know Paul Ryan is.”
On this day a year ago, Paul Ryan released an announcement that put an end to all the speculation. He would not be a candidate for President. But a year later even though Ryan is not not running for President, his vice presidential candidacy is doing exactly what I indicated his presidential candidacy would do. He has changed the narrative of this election by getting us away from the dialogue of distractions perpetuated by the left and President Obama, and thanks to his expertise, and credibility on matters of fiscal responsibility, Paul Ryan has gotten us to talk instead about those sellable solutions on the economy that he is now promoting on the campaign trail quite well.
In just one year the road to the White House has seen more twists and turns than England’s famous Longleat Hedge Maze. Names like Huntsman, Gingrich, and Bachman have become faded footnotes of a nomination contest that few remember with great detail. Few recall the promise of the Perry candidacy that petered out within a moment of his momentary memory lapse. Faded memories of the derailment of the Cain train over unproven sexual harassment charges have left most Americans asking “Herman who?” And the past’s surpise surge of Santorum which was rolled back by the consolidation of support for the slow but steady momentum of the Romney campaign has people now wondering if the nomination contest was ever really close. Now, one year ago to the day that Paul Ryan declared he would not be a candidate for President, Mitt Romney has taken that momentum he had in the primaries and increased its pace by getting Paul Ryan to run for Vice President.
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