COMMENTARY | KTVQ in Billings, Mont., reports Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the chairman of the House Budget Committee, left open the possibility he would accept a vice-presidential nod should he be asked by the eventual Republican nominee.
Ryan hastened to add, while being interviewed on "Face the Nation," that he is concentrating on his current job in Congress, which is shepherding the House Republican budget through that body.
Ryan's on-air musings reflect the Republican nomination campaign has progressed to the point when potential running mates have segued from "Absolutely not" to "Never say never, but ..." when asked about his or her willingness to accept such an offer.
Ryan is in an interesting position in that he would be useful to a Republican candidate as a running mate but even more useful to a Republican president in his current job.
As running mate, Ryan brings with him youth, conservatism, a Midwestern appeal and, for Mitt Romney, ideological balance. He has won praise from conservatives and condemnation from liberals for crafting budget proposals that actually address the fiscal crisis the U.S. finds itself in. He would reform the tax code and entitlements to make them more sustainable.
However, Ryan's budget work makes him well suited to stay where he is, provided President Barack Obama is overturned, the Republicans take the Senate and a Republican is elected as president. The task a new president will have to get America's fiscal help in order will be a daunting one. Ryan as chairman of the House Budget Committee is better suited to aid in that task than a Vice President Ryan, with perhaps some unofficial political influence.
Republican politicians who are young and conservative who might be suitable for the No. 2 job are numerous enough. If Ryan is a participant in overhauling America's federal budget and helps to bring back the country from the road toward insolvency and ruin, he will have garnered quite a bit of credibility that can be used later. Ryan is young enough that he could credibly run for president in his own right for quite some time to come.