Paul Ryan is one of my favorite Republicans and is no doubt a rising star. Ryan is a brilliant budget policy wonk like Judd Gregg and John Kasich and Ryan is very aware of the dangers of extremist progressives. Extremist progressives don’t get more extreme than Russ Feingold, whom I believe Ryan could have retired, simply by entering the 2010 Wisconsin Senate Race. Feingold has never been particularly popular in Wisconsin and has never garnered more than 54% of the vote and Ryan would certainly have been one of the two Republicans that would have forced Feingold out either by retirement or at the ballot box.
A Ryan victory in the 2010 Senate race especially over Feingold would have catapulted Ryan to another level and top tier candidate in 2012 or even 2016. Ryan would probably make a great president and will now because the decision lucky to be considered for the VP slot on a Palin, Daniels, or Romney ticket. James Garfield was the last sitting Congressman to be elected President and congressmen rarely get much attention and votes in the Presidential primary, like Duncan Hunter and Dennis Kucinich for example.
Paul Ryan must be certain that the Republicans are going to get the House in November or else the decision not to run for Senate makes no sense. If ever there was a year that Feingold is going to lose it is 2010! Feingold is neck and neck with the virtual unknown Ron Johnson and would certainly be trailing to Ryan. Either way we must do everything we can to defeat the most progressive of all Democrats Russ Feingold, but there is no doubt Paul Ryan missed a big opportunity. Hopefully Republicans did not with unseating Feingold.