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January 18, 2011 in Campaign 2008, Campaign 2010, Campaign 2012, Capitalism, Economy, Family values, Health care reform, Politics, socialism, Uncategorized | Tags: 2012 Budget, debt ceiling, Fred Barnes, Knowledge is Power, Obama care, Rep. Paul Ryan, Weekly Standard | 2 comments
January 17, 2011
Vol. 16, No. 17 • By FRED BARNES
Paul Ryan was 28 when he arrived in the House of Representatives in 1999 as a Republican freshman from Wisconsin. Eager for advice, he sought the counsel of dozens of veteran House members on how to be an effective congressman. The most consequential advice came from an unexpected source, Democrat Barney Frank of Massachusetts. It was guidance for a committed conservative from one of Washington’s leading liberals.
And it was quite simple: Be a specialist, not a generalist. As they talked over breakfast in the members’ dining room, Frank went into considerable detail. “Pick two or three issues and really focus on them rather than being a yard wide and an inch deep,” Ryan says Frank told him. Do your homework. Concentrate on committee work. Study. If you do, you’ll be in the room when bills are written.
Ryan has followed that advice rigorously. His motto is, “Inquire, inquire, inquire, read, read, read.” He has made himself an expert on the budget, taxes, and health care. Ryan knows more about the federal budget than anyone else on Capitol Hill and talks about it more fluently. Because of this, he was a shoo-in for chairman of the House Budget Committee last week, elevated over colleagues with more seniority. He will draft the House version of the 2012 budget, a document the Democrat-controlled Senate and the White House will have to take as seriously as the budget proposal of the executive branch, which the Obama administration is set to release early next month.
There’s an old Washington adage that Ryan personifies almost perfectly: Knowledge is power. He’s become enormously influential because he knows so much more than his colleagues on a few issues. And they happen to be the most critical issues in 2011—spending, the deficit, the national debt, taxes, Obama’s health care plan, the size and reach of government.
Could Paul Ryan be the 2012 “Dark Horse” Candidate?