Many candidates have had their moment in the spotlight and found inadequate: Bachman, Perry, Cain. Politicos and activists are waiting for Gingrich to implode and be the next former not-Romney frontrunner. But Jon Huntsman has not yet had his moment, and he should. He has both the qualifications and demeanor to be president, is likable to the political center, and has conservative credentials that display both his reasonableness and his consistency, something Romney lacks. Will he get that look? Let us hope so.
George Will discusses Huntsman’s conservative credentials.
Jon Huntsman inexplicably chose to debut as the Republican for people who rather dislike Republicans, but his program is the most conservative. He endorses Paul Ryan’s budget and entitlement reforms. (Gingrich denounced Ryan’s Medicare reform as “right-wing social engineering.”) Huntsman would privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (Gingrich’s benefactor). Huntsman would end double taxation on investment by eliminating taxes on capital gains and dividends. (Romney would eliminate them only for people earning less than $200,000, who currently pay just 9.3 percent of them.) Huntsman’s thorough opposition to corporate welfare includes farm subsidies. (Romney has justified them as national security measures — food security, somehow threatened. Gingrich says opponents of ethanol subsidies are “big-city” people hostile to farmers.) Huntsman considers No Child Left Behind, the semi-nationalization of primary and secondary education, “an unmitigated disaster.” (Romney and Gingrich support it. Gingrich has endorsed a national curriculum.) Between Ron Paul’s isolationism and the faintly variant bellicosities of the other six candidates stands Huntsman’s conservative foreign policy, skeptically nuanced about America’s need or ability to control many distant developments.
The FT reports:
Paul Ryan, the Republican’s fiscal front man who created a political storm with a budget proposal to upended popular government programmes, has promised a repeat performance in the 2012 election year.
Mr Ryan said he was undeterred by attacks from the White House and Democrats, and even some Republicans, on his plan to cut taxes and dramatically change Medicare, a sacred cow of US politics that provides healthcare for the elderly.
“We lead with our chin on the issue,” said Mr Ryan, a 41-year-old Wisconsin congressman who chairs the budget committee in the House of Representatives. “I am looking forward to doing it next year, actually. In a weird way I really am,” he said in an interview with the Financial Times.
Mr Ryan’s determination to press ahead with another aggressive budget could fuel Republican concerns that the proposal will become a lightning rod in next year’s election and damage their chances to win back the White House and take full control of Congress.
But Mr Ryan said it was worth the risk. “I just want to know. To the country: do you want to fix it or not?” he said. “If we win, we’re going to fix this thing.
Paul Ryan should be applauded, even by those on the Left, for his willingness to touch the third rail. Others talk serious while on Sunday talk shows without ever putting forward serious proposals. Ryan has shown courage in this regard. You may dislike his plan – some on the Right do as well – but he should receive appropriate recognition as being one of the very few adults on Capitol Hill. Many Republicans will surely be unhappy with him for pushing his budget again, but they will not do so out of principle. Rather, they will do so out of their own desires to be re-elected. No one will write a profile of their courage.
If the Tea Party wants another litmus test: Do you support Paul Ryan? If not, do you have a serious plan, or just words