Ryan: ‘Unhinged’ Democrats in ‘Panic Mode’

by Robert Costa

Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), the ranking member of the House Budget Committee, tells National Review Online that Democrats are entering a “panic mode” as November approaches. “They are beginning to get a little unhinged,” Ryan says.

“The Left sees their agenda being rebuked by the voters this fall,” Ryan tells us. As their electoral worries mount, he says, Democrats are scurrying to “nullify any notion that there is an alternative path for America. They want to delegitimize an alternative plan and win the argument by default, making the case that there is no other path for America than what progressives have mapped out for the country, and that any other talk, of any other idea, is just fanciful.”

“That’s what’s troubling,” Ryan says. “They are trying to deny the debate that must happen if we are going to get out of the mess that we’re in.”

Looking ahead, Ryan says “a lot of people speculate on whether [President Obama] will triangulate like [Bill] Clinton did” after the GOP sweep in 1994. The Wisconsin Republican isn’t holding his breath. “I don’t know whether that’s really who [Obama] is,” Ryan says. “First, the economy is not going to be like it was in 1995 or 1996. Second, the president is a liberal and Clinton was arguably a centrist. And third, I just don’t think that [Obama] is willing to admit that all the things he did during the first two years of his presidency were wrong, because I don’t think he believes that. I don’t see a big triangulation happening.”

“I see 2010 as a build-up to the crescendo of 2012,” Ryan continues. “[2012] will be a major referendum on the American idea.” He cites Gov. Mitch Daniels (R., Ind.) as one potential candidate he respects. Still, “other candidates will materialize,” he predicts. (Ryan, for his part, says he will not run.)

NRO wonders: Is 2012 too early for Gov. Chris Christie (R., N.J.), a fellow fiscal hawk, to hit the presidential trail? “I don’t know,” Ryan says. “I wouldn’t think so. I don’t know the guy, so I have no idea what his ambitions are, but I don’t think it is.”

“We will hopefully have a nominating process based on platform and ideas, not personalities,” Ryan concludes. “We can’t just give [the nomination] to next guy in line. It has to go to the candidate best equipped to advance our principles and who understands the moment in time we find ourselves in.”

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