Monday, August 22, 2011
UPDATE (Mon Aug 22 @ 8:00pm): From Ryan's statement today on his congressional campaign website:
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.
Not quite Shermanesque, but close enough that in context, I'm persuaded that he means it.
Being stubborn, though, and as my own personal motion for reconsideration, I just sent $20.12 to Ryan's reelection warchest.
UPDATE (Mon Aug 22 @ 8:35pm): I'm reprinting here, without blockquoting them, some comments I've left on a post by Aaron Worthing at Patterico's:
I respect Chairman Ryan’s decision, although I’m very disappointed by it....
I’m really sad today, for my party and my country. I know Chairman Ryan has already devoted his life to public service, and that his family has already paid a price for that. And anyone with the burning passion in his or her belly to be POTUS has to be at least slightly insane; Ryan is the most sane politician I’ve ever seen, but I had hopes he might still respond to a draft, and I thought was sensed that coalescing this week.
I know Rick Perry’s record and I believe I know what he’s made of, and I believe he would be a fine president, but I’m not yet convinced he can overcome the anti-Texas/anti-Dubya bigotry in a national election in 2012. I’ll probably get aboard his campaign bandwagon anyway. But frankly, the kind of bigotry that the Dems will exploit and encourage if Perry gets the nomination is a lot harder to fight with facts and education than the “Mediscare” tactics they’d have used against Ryan. So I’m going to take the week to mumble and mutter and confuse my dog (who thinks I’m mad at her, which then makes me feel guilty, and appropriately so). She cuts me more slack than I’m due, so I beg that of the rest of you too today....
[Actually, who I owe the biggest apology to is my daughter Molly, for upon seeing the first report of Ryan's announcement this afternoon, I got distracted looking for confirmation, and I was therefore late picking her up. Molly cuts me more slack than I'm due, too. And yes, I see the irony in my being late to pick up my daughter while being disappointed that Paul Ryan won't subject his much younger children to the stresses of a POTUS campaign.]
I’m very sure that [Ryan's] decision wasn’t based on a failure to consider and weigh all the relevant factors. He’s been quite literally toe-to-toe with Obama, and I’m sure he can easily imagine himself in Obama’s shoes, doing a vastly better job for the country. And I know he’s confident in his own abilities and in his core philosophy. His ego is in tight control, but he does have one, and he’s not unaware of his relative strengths and weaknesses as a potential presidential candidate.
I’m reasonably sure that among the people who’ve been encouraging him to run, he received credible assurances of support, including serious promises of the sort of fund-raising that would have immediately made him competitive with Romney or Perry on that score.
I think large numbers of Republicans would have become enthusiastic supporters when they heard him speak in primary debates. By no means was this too late a date for him to join the race.
I’m sure he will do his very best as a non-candidate, but still as a leader of his party at the center of its most consequential current power (i.e., as head of the House Budget Committee) to affect the election. But that’s a distant runner-up to the influence he could have had as a candidate, even if he didn’t get the nomination, and not even in the same league as the influence he could have had as the GOP nominee.
And I’m still hopeful that whoever does get the nomination will look to him as a potential Veep choice.
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(1) RiverRat made the following comment | Aug 22, 2011 4:36:02 PM | Permalink
Smart man! Really smart man!
He'll have my vote 2020 after a successful tour as Governor!
(2) DRJ made the following comment | Aug 22, 2011 7:21:26 PM | Permalink
I share your admiration for Ryan, Beldar, and I know you're disappointed. But had Ryan run, it would have fueled Obama's attempt to make the 2012 election into a referendum on entitlements, e.g., the evil GOP wants to cut Grandma's Social Security and Medicare benefits. The GOP needs this election to be about the economy and jobs, and that would be hard to do with Ryan on the ticket.
DRJ (#2): Thanks for your consoling words. But it's impossible to separate the economy and jobs from entitlements. If we don't fix entitlements (including by repealing Obamacare), and if we don't remove the shadow of national bankruptcy from over our government and return to fiscal sanity with stable tax rates and spending, then the economy is not going to improve.
I'll tell you, too, what campaign discipline we need to see from Gov. Perry:
Some of his supporters are trying to give Rick Perry a lion's share of credit for Texas' relatively better economic performance.
On his disciplined days, Perry redirects that credit where it belongs -- to Texans -- and claims credit only for helping keep government in its appropriate limited role and otherwise getting out of the way of the private sector and free markets. On his bad days, he lets people carry on like he created every job in Texas.
I'm frankly terrified of any federal government "jobs program," or any federal government efforts to "stimulate the economy." Do you have something specific in mind?
(4) DRJ made the following comment | Aug 22, 2011 9:15:25 PM | Permalink
"Do you have something specific in mind?"
I believe Gov. Perry when he says he wants to make the federal government as inconsequential as possible in our lives. Of course, I don't believe he (or anyone) can make government as inconsequential as I'd like -- but he can dial it back some, especially the regulatory burden caused by Obama's expansive executive orders over the past 2+ years.
There's a lot of money parked on the sidelines while American businesses and business owners wait to see what happens in the 2012 election. Whoever is elected will face a tough road, including doing something about entitlements, but a fiscal conservative can take steps to free up that money and get Americans working again. Specifically, a conservative President could speed up oil and gas permitting and thereby lift the effective ban on American drilling, allow the Canadian pipeline, rescind the cap-and-trade-style penalties on coal-fired power plants, rein in the EPA, fire Obama's czars and start undoing their busywork, put a stop to the NLRB's opposition on Boeing's SC plant, and grant immediate 3-year ObamaCare waivers to every American and business. That's for starters. Give me time and I bet I can come up with more.
(5) DRJ made the following comment | Aug 22, 2011 9:17:32 PM | Permalink
Furthermore, I agree we need to do something about entitlements but it's a losing cause to make entitlement reform the issue.
Specifically, a conservative President could speed up oil and gas permitting and thereby lift the effective ban on American drilling, allow the Canadian pipeline, rescind the cap-and-trade-style penalties on coal-fired power plants, rein in the EPA, fire Obama's czars and start undoing their busywork, put a stop to the NLRB's opposition on Boeing's SC plant, and grant immediate 3-year ObamaCare waivers to every American and business. That's for starters.
Amen to every word of that!
But it's not enough.
You're right to say that's just for starters. I suspect you and I would agree on lots and lots of things that could be cut from the budget, programs that should be closed down, entire executive departments that should be closed.
Even that wouldn't be enough.
When is the year, in which election cycle and with which candidate, when it be the right time for GOP politicians to not only admit, but to trumpet the fact that "Medicare as we know it" and "Social Security as we know it" are already impossible to maintain? I know you and I both know that; serious Democrats know that and will admit it when pressed (e.g., Evan Bayh on Fox News Sunday yesterday).
To those who say we can't run on entitlement reform because it's too scary, I repeat: We have no other choice.
If we put this off until the 2016 presidential election, the necessary fixes are going to be much, much harsher. The phase-in periods are going to have to be much shorter; we'll have to change benefit levels for people who are much closer to retirement age then.
This problem can't go away, and it can't help but get uglier every year.
This is like folks saying, "Well, let's just wait and take the chemotherapy later, when my hair's thinner anyway." A decision to postpone the decision is, actually, a decision to accept catastrophe.
Not that I feel strongly about this or anything, DRJ. And I know we're so close to being in sync as to make no practical difference. I'll probably be less glum in a few days or weeks, so thanks for your patience with me in the meantime.
(7) Milhouse made the following comment | Aug 22, 2011 10:14:43 PM | Permalink
Veep? My first thought was that he would be utterly wasted in that position, and is far more valuable in the House. But on second thoughts, you may be exactly right — if and only if he uses the vice presidency the way Palin (to the guffaws of her ignorant enemies) said she would, being President of the Senate and the President's direct representative in the legislative process. It's the only role the constitution gives the VP, and Ryan could use it to try to push his budget through the Senate.
We need not only to beat Obama, but to win a "mandate election" comparable to Reagan's in 1980.
Imagine if the Tea Party movement hadn't happened. Everything else just as it was, but no Tea Party.
The GOP would still probably have regained control of the House in 2010. But it would not have been by as big a margin and -- as things have turned out -- not with the same entering class of freshmen.
Without the Tea Party movement and the candidates it got elected to the House -- and the thorough-going face-slap it administered to a lot of drifting conservative incumbents who suddenly realized they were indeed vulnerable to primary challengers! -- what would have happened when it came time to raise the debt ceiling?
It would have gotten raised, oh yes. Just like it's been raised dozens of times before. Pro forma. No quid pro quo.
The results we've gotten instead are not a function of the absolute number of seats we won in the House, but rather, of the resolution of the members elected to it, the reinvigorated small-government fiscal hawks who insisted on changing the terms of the entire national debate.
And yes, of course, now we have Obama puffing and huffing about how "some people" — meaning said House Republicans — are putting party ahead of country by refusing to agree to more government spending programs. (He really should give that "some people" phrasing a second thought, given its history in American politics as a code word for a very different sort of classification, one more pernicious and fraught with history than "Republican" and "Democrat.")
They have nothing but demagoguery to run on, and they will run on that pretty much no matter what we say or do.
I think it's time to confront them. The 2010 results were the necessary predicate, and now it's time for a mandate election.
So yes, running on entitlement reform is risky as hell. It plays directly into the Democrats' second-fondest hope.
But their fondest hope is that we'll run away from it. Again.
Milhouse (#7): I frankly am proposing Ryan as a Veep nominee not for what I think he would accomplish from that office if elected, but rather for the substantive support Ryan would give to the GOP nominee during the election.
In January 1961, LBJ had big plans for how he was going to continue working over the Senate from the Vice President's chair. He'd just been the most effective Senate majority leader in at least a century, after all. But even Democratic senators quickly found excuses to stop taking his phone calls. Despite his compelling political skills and history, the fact that he was wearing an executive branch hat, even as a back-up, meant he couldn't play in the Article I ballpark for either team.
I think it's likely that as VPOTUS, Ryan could genuinely assist the POTUS in preparing and presenting the Administration's proposals to Congress. But he'd become an outsider, unlikely to contribute to whatever Congress did next with those proposals any more effectively than the POTUS himself.
Secondary benefit: If Ryan were the GOP Veep nominee, it wouldn't be enough for Obama merely to cancel the VP-candidates' debate. Obama would throw Slow Joe Biden off the ticket and under the bus in a heartbeat. Of course it's possible that he'd pick someone worse than Biden, e.g., Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. (We know it won't be another pasty white guy, since now Obama's his own "foreign policy expert," cough-cough-sputter.) But at least I'd feel better knowing that Joe Biden is out of the line of presidential succession even if Obama is re-elected.
(10) DRJ made the following comment | Aug 22, 2011 11:39:19 PM | Permalink
I think we agree on most things. Regarding Ryan, maybe this article will cheer you up a little. As for entitlements, I think reform will come about in one of three ways:
1. The overwhelming mandate election you mentioned above. I'd like the 2012 election to be a clear choice between unlimited nanny-state government and fiscal conservatism. One reason I wanted Perry to run is I believe he will work hard to make that choice a reality. I suspect you like Ryan because you think he has the best chance of presenting that choice. I hope I'm wrong but I'm not convinced the electorate is ready for this choice.
2. The Wisconsin model, i.e., a Republican Congress and chief executive/President will have to implement entitlement reform despite Democratic predictions of doom. Once implemented, hopefully the electorate will see reform was necessary and the Democratic doomsayers overstated their case.
3. If the above don't work, I think that leaves us waiting for the last fiscal minute. We tend to be a nation of people who are hard to stop once we get started, but also hard to change directions. You and I probably agree America has reached the point of fiscal no return. Maybe most Americans agree, but I think there are a number of people who won't grasp this until the government checks start to bounce.
(11) DRJ made the following comment | Aug 22, 2011 11:42:53 PM | Permalink
Ryan would be a terrific VP choice for any nominee.
(12) Milhouse made the following comment | Aug 23, 2011 12:58:16 AM | Permalink
I frankly am proposing Ryan as a Veep nominee not for what I think he would accomplish from that office if elected, but rather for the substantive support Ryan would give to the GOP nominee during the election.
And what does he do after the election? Is it worth sacrificing such a vital legislature just to win an election?
Despite his compelling political skills and history, the fact that he was wearing an executive branch hat, even as a back-up, meant he couldn't play in the Article I ballpark for either team.
I don't know anything about LBJ's experience, but the constitution puts the VP squarely in Article 1. As Cheney correctly claimed (again to his enemies' uninformed guffaws), the VP is not part of the executive branch. Article 2 gives him no role at all. He doesn't answer to the president. His only constitutional role is in the senate. And as president of the senate, I'd think he could make senators take his calls. If they didn't, he might not recognise them from the chair. He can inject himself wherever he likes. He could put himself on every committee and subcommittee if he chose.
(13) Milhouse made the following comment | Aug 23, 2011 1:00:42 AM | Permalink
I'm still holding out for Palin/Jindal, though.
(14) Mark L made the following comment | Aug 23, 2011 6:22:58 AM | Permalink
I think if you listen carefully to Perry you will find that the credit that he takes for the Texas economy mainly falls into the category of "I didn't "f" things up." That is to say, he blocked policies that slowed growth (especially higher taxes), and got government out of the way. He also made Texas more business-friendly by championing tort reform.
Except for tort reform most of Perry's contributions to the Texas economy have negative accomplishments -- things he did not do. Regardless, they are very real. An activist governor attempting to "fix" the economy through positive actions would likely have broken it.
Most of what is wrong with the US economy needs to be fixed through negative accomplishments. Get rid of Obamacare, Sarbanes-Oxley, and Dodd-Frank. Reign in the regulators. (Did you know that spilt milk is now a hazardous waste? According to federal regulators, since it contains oil, it is.)
Entitlement reform is needed (and that is a positive action), but entitlement reform will not be enough unless the economy can be put back on track. I think that as President Perry (or someone like him, but not Romney) can deal with the negative accomplishments that are necessary, while Ryan (from his place in the legislature) can manage the positive accomplishments that are needed.
The real problem with Washington is that the President does too much, while the legislature does too little -- or rather too little of what it is supposed to be doing (like passing budgets) and too much of what it is not supposed to be doing (laws named after dead children).
(15) Gregory Koster made the following comment | Aug 23, 2011 3:16:47 PM | Permalink
Dear Milhouse: If you can name me one Vice President who has bent the Senate to his will, I'd be obliged. Presidents have a hard enough time trying to make the Senate come round, let alone Veeps. Robert Caro's third volume of Lyndon Johnson has a great portrait of then Vice Richard Nixon trying to manipulate the Senate---and failing.
As for the Constitutional argument you cite, that the Veep has no Article 2 role, try Article II Section 4:
"The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."
This at least implies the Veep is a "Civil Officer" i.e. a member of the executive---which puts it at odds with the duty given the Veep in Article I, section 3. The Constitution is NOT a divinely inspired document, but huge repository of practical wisdom that has some faults.
I have another objection: Ryan's talents would be wasted as Veep. There's no real executive experience to be gained as Veep. A Cabinet slot or governorship would suit him much better. Staying in the House also braces the cause of smaller government. I still maintain that the present vote by the House to pass Cut, Cap and Balance is quite misleading. It got the votes of GOP appropriators (Don Young of Alaska) and the witlings (Fred Upson of in-the-dark-but-they-ain't-incandescents) because they were sure the Senate would kill it, and The One veto it if the Senate had a fit of common sense. Why do you think Boehner urged Ryan to run? It would get him out of the House and let business-as-usual run on. I don't think that was Boehner's only motive, but it surely crossed his mind.
Dear Mr. Dyer: This is an unhappy day for you, so let me try to cheer you up by offering this clip I watched RR give that speech, and the doubts I had had about him vanished. As trying as today may seem, I think Paul Ryan is well set to follow the path RR trod.
You mention that you want 2012 to be a mandate election. That means it isn't enough to elect a Prez. We need a Congress that will follow Rick Perry's notion of making Washington inconsequential to the citizenry. That will be tough. Given the mania for gerrymandering, I think the idea of replacing Democrats in the House is reaching diminishing returns. Thus, I think the Don Youngs and Fred Upsons need to be marched to the Primary Slaughterhouse. I could see Paul Ryan being a part of this effort, in the manner of Richard Nixon in 1954, 56, 58, and 66. Nixon's efforts in those years got him a lot of chits that were helpful in 1968. So too with Ryan today.
I also think you've forgotten some sound advice you gave those who were disappointed that the debt ceilng bill wasn't tough enough, a little while ago. You pointed out that what was passed was the best that could be gotten given the present composition of government. That advice applies to the 2012 election. You are right that a) DRJ's suggested cuts and actions are welcome, but aren't a tenth enough to solve our present problems and b) putting entitlements off to 2016 is a recipe for disaster. But as this article by Byron York points out, entitlements aren't the big driver of the PRESENT deficits. Following DRJ's prescription will get the economy moving again, leaving Ryan to shepherd the longer term fixes through---and oh yes, provide a sound vigrous platform for all the GOP to run on. To be sure, the liars in the press will howl that it's all Ryanism, and Gramma is gonna be slaughtered, but they will do that anyway. I think the voters will ignore such swill if the GOP can argue from conviction that they have a plan to get this country moving again.
Despite the temporary gloom of Ryan's disengagement, I feel sanguine about the prospects for heaving The One out of office. This should make everyone cheerier.
(16) Whitehall made the following comment | Aug 23, 2011 5:18:06 PM | Permalink
While I have the deepest respect for Mr. Ryan, the conservative portion of the country - the majority! - thinks we needs a warrior.
Perry is the THE current candidate who comes across as a warrior for the right cause. Certainly, there's no perfect candidate but Perry is good enough to win and smart enough to do what needs to be done and can be done in his 4 year term.
DRJ, if you're still following this thread: I hope you're right. And the reform scenario you describe does more closely match, for example, the slight adjustments around the margins of the entitlement reforms that Tip O'Neill & Reagan agreed to in the 1980s.
My counter-hypothesis, however — supported by the evidence from every year since then, I think — is that the only way to get legislators and a POTUS sufficiently resolved to do the necessary is to commit them to that proposition as an absolute keystone pledge of their candidacies. That's what changed the atmosphere of the House after the 2010 election — a great many of the freshmen, and a fair number of incumbents, were revitalized by the Tea Party movement into believing (reasonably!) that all their future re-election chances would be destroyed if they didn't follow through aggressively on their cut-spending campaign promises.
What needs doing, in other words, is so big (in my estimation) that it needs popular permission. No one will ever be willing to make the necessary political gamble based on a mere hope of forgiveness and understanding after-the-fact.
(18) DRJ made the following comment | Aug 23, 2011 9:29:28 PM | Permalink
Of course I'm still here!
And I hope you're right that Americans are ready to dramatically change America's finances and entitlements. Texans are ready, but I'm not sure about the majority of Americans.
(19) Milhouse made the following comment | Aug 24, 2011 7:13:34 AM | Permalink
If you can name me one Vice President who has bent the Senate to his will, I'd be obliged.I don't know which ones have tried, or how hard they tried, or what means were used to frustrate them. It seems to me that the president of a legislative body, whom its members cannot remove, must by definition be able to play a meaningful part in its proceedings whether its members like it or not. Remember, he commands the Sergeant at Arms, too.
"The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors." This at least implies the Veep is a "Civil Officer" i.e. a member of the executive-Huh? It implies the exact opposite! Or will you claim that the president too is a "civil officer of the US"?
the conservative portion of the country - the majority! - thinks we needs a warrior. Perry is the THE current candidate who comes across as a warrior for the right cause.In that case, wait till you see Palin! "Fight like a girl!" will make a great campaign slogan.
(20) DRJ made the following comment | Aug 24, 2011 1:06:01 PM | Permalink
I'm a Texan so I favor Perry because I feel like I know what he would do as President, but I've always like Palin and I hope she runs. The more competition in the GOP field, the more likely we are to pick a solid nominee who can take the heat of a general election.
Having said that, the attacks on Hillary and Palin over the past 3-4 years have convinced me America isn't ready for a woman President. I hope I'm wrong but that's the way it seems to me. More's the pity.
(21) Franko made the following comment | Aug 24, 2011 5:36:33 PM | Permalink
Entitlement reform is important, but it is not why we have the federal deficit we have today. So, yes, entitlement reform is important to prevent runaway deficits in the future.
But to clear out the present deficit and restore economic growth are the two most important issues for 2012. It is present federal expenditures that must be cut back, and the punitive regulatory environment must be removed. It seems to me that Rick Perry is perfect for both those jobs.
C'mon, senators make lousy presidents. So do representatives. Governors make the best presidents. It is experience working with a legislature, not in a legislature, that gives the best preparation for the job.
(22) DRJ made the following comment | Aug 24, 2011 9:25:37 PM | Permalink
Following up on whether the American people are ready for big change, see this essay by J.E. Dyer at Hot Air. I give Perry more credit than the not-Beldar-Dyer gives him but, regardless, I agree with him that Texans are typically more self-reliant than most Americans. As a result, I think it's easier for Texans to see the dangers of government regulation and overwhelming debt. Obviously there are many self-reliant Americans concerned about regulation and debt, but I doubt there are as many living in one state as there are in Texas.
(23) Gregory Koster made the following comment | Aug 24, 2011 9:29:33 PM | Permalink
Dear Milhouse: Yes, I do claim that the Prez is a civil officer. I admit the phrase, "The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States..." could be taken as the Prez and the Veep are NOT civil officers, but are lumped in with COs for the sake of impeachment. But if this is so, what are the Prez and Veep? Military officers? Not the Veep. Legislative officers? Nope, then they'd be covered by the Article I Section 5 clause that allows the House and Senate to expel members for misconduct. No one is arguing that the Veep can be expelled by the Senate under Article I Section 5. Ergo, I conclude from Atricle II Section 4 that the Framers meant the Veep to be in the Executive Branch. This does run smack into the Article I section 3 clause that makes the Veep the Senate's Presiding Officer.
It's worth noting that the judgments of the Presiding Officer of the Senate, whether Veep, Prez pro tem, or regular Senator, can be overrriden by a vote of the Senate. Let any Veep try to use the Sergeant at Arms without the Senate's OK, and you will see a fast overriding, and a lot of rotten eggs being heaved at the dais.
(24) Milhouse made the following comment | Aug 25, 2011 9:43:20 AM | Permalink
Yes, I do claim that the Prez is a civil officer.On what basis do you make that claim? The president and VP are not "Person[s] holding any Office under the United States" for the purpose of Article 1 section 6. In December 2008 Senators 0bama and Biden resigned their seats in the senate; but had been so insane as to want to keep their seats and do both jobs, nothing in the constitution would have prevented it. (Note that the notion of the "separation of powers" was not invented until the 1840s, and has no constitutional authority. It is perfectly constitutional for a person to serve as Secretary of State and Chief Justice at the same time, though no sane person would want to do so for very long.)
In any event, the whole question of whether they're civil officers of the US is irrelevant. I don't even know why I addressed it in the first place. I wrote of the VP that "Article 2 gives him no role at all", and I stand by that. Being subject to impeachment is not a role! His only constitutional role is in Article 1.
the judgments of the Presiding Officer of the Senate, whether Veep, Prez pro tem, or regular Senator, can be overrriden by a vote of the Senate.Really? Where does the constitution say that? In any event, he need not recognise the question, or allow it to come to a vote. And the Sergeant at Arms will quickly take care of any egg-throwers!
(25) Whitehall made the following comment | Aug 29, 2011 4:10:42 PM | Permalink
Recently read where Cheney, as president of the Senate, organized an amicus brief on gun control in opposition to the position of the Bush Administration. It was signed by various senators and himself as the presiding officer of the Senate.
Yes, there are vague parts and loopholes in the Constitution. Still works pretty darn well.
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