It's not as though I had any use for Newt Gingrich as president to begin with, but these statements, as reported by Andrew Stiles, will reinforce the widespread belief among conservatives that he's the wrong man for the job. He need not agree with all the specifics of Rep. Paul Ryan's plan, but any viable GOP candidate needs to hold and convey a genuine sense of urgency regarding the country's dire fiscal straits. Newt doesn't seem to get it:
The former speaker had some harsh words for Paul Ryan’s (and by extension, nearly every House Republican’s) plan to reform Medicare, calling it “radical.”"Radical change" when you're headed for the cliff's edge is not only "desirable," but imperative. What Gingrich is arguing for is more or less the status quo. Stiles:
“I don’t think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering,” he said when asked about Ryan’s plan to transition to a “premium support” model for Medicare. “I don’t think imposing radical change from the right or the left is a very good way for a free society to operate.”
As far as an alternative, Gingrich trotted out the same appeal employed by Obama/Reid/Pelosi — for a “national conversation” on how to “improve” Medicare, and promised to eliminate ‘waste, fraud and abuse,’ etc.And that individual mandate isn't so bad, either, says Newt. Allahpundit can't figure out what he thinks he's doing, but predicts it will hurt:
I just hope he’s prepared for the relentless beating he’ll rightly take in conservative media for kneecapping Ryan at a moment when deficit hawks are frantic to move national opinion on entitlement reform via a unified party message. He’s handed the left a campaign commercial here and they’re already using it.One commenter at HotAir: "Go away newt." Someone else wonders if he's got a screw loose. I think he's just in love with his own ideas. His fertile mind hatches dozens a day, and some fraction of them are good. But his attacks on the Ryan plan, which he was for before he was against, are making him even more extraneous to the 2012 race. And last time I checked, Ryan isn't one of his opponents.
What Steyn said about Newt:
Newt isn’t going to be president and I assume he’s in this campaign for the kind of reason Alan Keyes used to get into it 10 years ago – that it’s a way of boosting his speaking fees and other gigs. But Newt Gingrich is not going to be president and I don’t see the rationale for his candidacy.Right. There isn't one, and Gingrich just proved it.
Paul Ryan's spokesman responds (emphasis added):
“The solutions offered by Chairman Ryan and advanced by House Republicans make no changes to Medicare for those in and near retirement, while offering a strengthened, personalized program that future generations can count on when they retire,” Sweeney says. “Far from claims of radicalism, the gradual, common-sense Medicare reforms ensure that no senior will be forced to reorganize their lives because of government’s mistakes. The most ‘radical’ course of action on Medicare is continue to cling to the unsustainable status quo.”According to Ryan, the choice is between Obama's (and apparently, Gingrich's) vision of "shared scarcity" vs. Ryan's plan to achieve "renewed prosperity":
“Serious leaders,” he adds, without naming names, “owe seniors specific solutions to avert Medicare’s looming collapse.”
We believe the president is articulating a vision which I would call shared scarcity. I believe the president’s economic vision and the speeches that he has been giving pit people against each other, play class warfare and envy economics. I think it’s a really a vision of shared scarcity and bringing America to a period of managed decline and economic stagnation.Read Ryan's Chicago Tribune opinion piece here.
We are pushing a vision of renewed prosperity. Our budget puts the budget on a path to balance and our economy on a path to prosperity and so, anything but. We are pressing ahead because we sincerely believe that our budget — which fulfills the mission of health and retirement security, repairs the rifts in our social safety net and pays off our debt and grows the economy — is the right vision.
Jen Rubin: Ryan for President:
In truth, a presidential run makes a lot more sense for Ryan than does a Senate race. Ryan is already the de facto leader of the Republican Party on the most critical issues of the day. If he’s concerned about spending time with his family, what better way and better time (when they are little and not distressed teenagers thrown into the national spotlight) to bond with them than a family adventure seeing America followed by a job where dad could work from home? While there are many potential candidates for the Wisconsin Senate seat, who among the current presidential contenders is really up to winning and then governing? A new poll shows a plurality of GOP voters don't think any of them is. (“Some 45 percent now say they’re dissatisfied with the GOP candidates who have declared or are thought to be serious about running, up from 33 percent two months ago, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll. Just 41 percent are satisfied with the likely Republican field, down from 52 percent.”)She makes is sound so easy:
One Senate seat is not vital to the republic, but Ryan himself has made the case how critical it is to address our looming debt crisis now. Without the White House and without someone exceptionally capable to advocate for it, it’s hard to see how the “The Path to Prosperity” is ever going to be enacted. I’m at a loss to think of another Republican who can bring together Tea Partyers, wonks, social conservatives, hawks, libertarians, Wall Street and Main Street Republicans and connect with a new generation of Republicans.
In a very practical sense, the question for Ryan is: Why not give his party and the country six months (September 2011 to February 2012)? By then he’ll either have failed to catch fire or he’ll have a clear path to the presidential nomination. Six months. Twenty-four weeks. For a politician constantly at work in Congress, in town halls and in media appearances, that doesn’t sound like that much. (In fact, I would venture that his schedule is more rigorous now than the average presidential contender’s.)That's for sure. I could get excited about a Ryan candidacy but I think it's a pipe dream. Daniels? Blech. One more chunk of Rubin's piece, in which she sums up the Daniels' negatives:
You see, there is no good reason for Ryan to avoid a presidential run. Sometimes, if you don’t see the opening and seize it, a better one never comes along. Bill Clinton understood this in 1992.
There is a lot of buzz that Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) may finally throw his hat into the ring. Ryan and his staff may think, “Well Mitch can do it, we don’t have to.” Whatever you think of Daniels, he’s no Paul Ryan. Candidates aren’t interchangeable, least of all these two.
It’s apparent that Daniels (most recently in suggesting he’d take the pro-choice, anti-Iraq surge, pro-North Korea engagement, pro-2006 Palestinian election, Condi Rice as a vice presidential choice) is hobbled, at the very least, by a tin ear and lack of sympatico with the GOP base. Daniels is older than Ryan (hence less attractive to young voters and less able to paint Obama as old-hat, the defender of the status quo) and less acceptable to hard-core conservatives. If he’s serious about cutting defense and pulling back from America’s commitments in the world, Daniels will (in a way the internationalist, pro-defense Ryan would not) take the party and potentially the country down a dangerous road. Daniels has already expressed a willingness to consider tax hikes; Ryan has ruled them out.Daniels vs Ryan, also no contest.
Linked at Michelle Malkin and CMR -- thank you.
Many thanks, also, to Larwyn for today's headlining link!
Follow-up: Paul Ryan for President?
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