Whenever I see Paul Ryan speak, I have hope for the future of the GOP. This intelligent young (he just turned 40) conservative can both articulate broad conservative principles and explain the details of various legislative proposals. In short, he can apply conservative ideas to the process of governing.
Fewer legislators have so favorably distinguished themselves in the the health care debate than has this fetching Congessman from Janesville, Wisconsin. With his state’s junior Senator Russ Feingold’s favorable rating on a steady downward trend since the dawn of the Obama Administration, seeing his his approval fall below 50%, now barely above his disapproval, that liberal Democrat is looking increasingly vulnerable in a state which appeared to be moving away from the Democrats in the early 200os.
Why not replace that principled liberal (and apparently very decent guy, being one of the few incumbent Democrats to show respect for his constituents holding different political views than he) with a principled conservative?
Why isn’t Ryan running to replace Feingold?
It appears instead that former Governor Tommy Thompson is readying a Senate bid, preparing to replace Feingold. While Feingold edges Thompson in the most recent poll, Thompson has led in a number of polls going back to last October. And while Tommy Thompson would make a fine Senator, Ryan would make a better one. And as a younger man, he would present a better image of the GOP as the party of ideas for the current and coming generations.
Well, at least with Thompson, we get a leader with a real record of reform; as Wisconsin’s long-serving Governor, he all but pioneered welfare reform. But, in a choice of two reformers, I’d prefer the younger, the one who has so distinguished himself in the current debate.