Paul Ryan was a great pick for Mitt Romney's Vice President. He's a young, articulate guy the left has tried and failed repeatedly to paint as some sort of heartless monster. His "Ryan Plan" has some great points in it, though it is not as bold as the left would have you believe or as Ryan's acolytes would have you believe.
But this fiscal cliff vote gives me some ground to make a point again that I have made repeatedly.
The right, like the left, puts its faith in men, not policies. It is human nature to build a cult of personality and there is one around Paul Ryan.
Point out he voted for the McConnell Tax Hike and you'll be met with a bunch of denials that there were no tax hikes because the vote happened on January 1st and then lots of expletives of outrage that you'd dare insult Paul Ryan.
It's hard to make points these days when people go wobbly because so many people invest so much in the individual. They invest so much, they'll also ignore records.
Paul Ryan is a creature of Washington. He was a Hill staffer. He was a think tanker. Then he went back as a Congressman.
While in Congress, he voted for No Child Left Behind, the Prescription Drug Benefit, TARP, caps on CEO pay, the AIG bill, the GM bailout, the debt ceiling, and now the fiscal cliff. In fact, he is one of less than a dozen Republican congressmen to have voted for every bailout to come before Congress.
Paul Ryan is a great spokesman. He offset Romney's deficiencies well. He has some great ideas on entitlement reform. But he is a better spokesman for conservatism than he is a conservative member of Congress. Getting a budget passed that does not balance until my kids are middle aged and raises the national debt to $24 trillion doesn't really fit my definition of a leader.
In his long career in Congress, Paul Ryan has often been pitted between the conservative rank and file and Republican leaders. He has never not chosen to go with leadership.
Paul Ryan is a great guy. But he's not really a leader. He's more a follower of leaders. It'll be interesting to see him, his record, and his experience compared to others who might choose to run in 2016. His rhetoric is sound, but he needs these next four years to shore up his record.