Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the influential Budget Committee chairman, has kept his distance from the GOP primary. But after reading Newt Gingrich’s latest comments about entitlement reform, he says the contenders must seriously address the debt crisis, not play political games.
In an interview with Coffee & Markets, Gingrich said that Republicans should not “impose” solutions that are “very, very unpopular.” Ronald Reagan, he noted, “ran to be a popular president, not to maximize suicide.”
Ryan, in an interview with National Review Online, says that he disagrees with Gingrich, and urges Republicans to confront fiscal problems, irrespective of political risk. Worrying about electoral “suicide,” he says, is a disservice to voters, “who don’t want to be pandered to like children.”
“This is not the 1990s,” Ryan says. “The ‘Mediscare’ is not working and we should not back down from this fight. I, for one, believe the country is ready, they’re hungry for it. They are ready to hear real solutions. We shouldn’t wait around for the status quo to become popular.”
Ryan adds that he is still undecided about whether he will endorse a candidate. But his message to Gingrich and the rest of the field is clear. “Leaders need to go out and change things, speaking to people as adults,” he says. “We should not shy away from this fight, even though we know the Democrats will demagogue us.”