Paul Ryan: 7 Great Reads on Romney’s Running Mate

Who is this guy, anyway? Read up on the Wisconsin congressman, from last week’s definitive New Yorker profile to a revealing interview with Ezra Klein.

The Legendary Paul Ryan” Republicans “envision an administration in which Romney has relegated himself to a kind of head-of-state role, at least domestically, with Ryan as the actual head of government.” President Obama wants to attack Ryan’s highly controversial budget plan, but faces backlash from the right and the bipartisan center whenever he attempts to do so. Jonathan Chait profiles “the most popular guy in Washington.”—Read it at New York Magazine

“How Paul Ryan Influenced the GOP”Embarrassed by the deficit increases during the Bush presidency, fiscal conservative Paul Ryan said he was “miserable during the last majority” and is determined “to do everything I can to make sure I don’t feel that miserable again.” He frequently described Obama as “European,” but took issue with his colleagues who do nothing but criticize the White House. “If you’re going to criticize, then you should propose.” And propose he did. In a definitive profile, Ryan Lizza chronicles the birth of Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity” budget plan and how it took over the GOP. One conservative opinion writer called the plan “the most annotated suicide note in history.”—Read it at The New Yorker

“What Does the GOP Do Now?” A 2009 profile of a then 39-year-old Paul Ryan, whom Lloyd Grove called “The GOP’s ‘It’ Boy on economic and fiscal policy.” Newt Gingrich praised him as “pretty darn courageous.” Then–House Budget Committee Chairman John Spratt said, “You should not underestimate Paul’s ability.” Alan Greenspan said it was “refreshing” to see a member of the House at Ryan’s “intellectual level.” And in an exclusive interview with Grove, Ryan expresses his own frustrations with the system he would try to change: “Congress has a pattern of passing cuts to pay for bills and then restoring the cuts once the bill has been passed … I see no reason why Congress would change its behavior.”—Read it at The Daily Beast

“Ryan Draws Inspiration from Family, Mentors”When he was 6 years old, Paul Ryan spontaneously sang a rendition of “America the Beautiful” while hiking through the Colorado Rockies. He became a health nut because his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather all died from heart attacks before the age of 60. Craig Gilbert examines Ryan’s early life and the experiences that shaped his personality, career, and politics.—Read it at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Breaking Up the Status Quo”In 2010, Ezra Klein interviewed Paul Ryan on his budget proposal and health-care reform. “I feel obligated to put big ideas on the table and break up the status quo and this awful inertia we have out here,” Ryan said. “We shoot at anyone who pops their head above the foxhole and proposes anything big. This fiscal situation will destroy us if we don’t start stepping up. I don’t have all the answers. I put out a real, credible plan in the hopes that other members of Congress will do the same, and we can get on with the business of hashing out how to fix the problem.”—Read it at The Washington Post

Man With a PlanStephen F. Hayes profiles Ryan just weeks before the vice-presidential announcement, back when the congressman was just one of the few potential veeps whose “vetting isn’t one of those satisfy-a-constituency looks that campaigns undertake just to leak.” But Ryan’s rise to even those heights was still shocking to many. Hayes writes, “Few who have known him over the years would have predicted that Ryan would be at the center of this national debate. And just two years ago, Republican pollsters and strategists advised their candidates to seek distance from Ryan’s plan. But he is now the intellectual leader of the Republican Party.”—Read it at The Weekly Standard

Beating the Bobby Jindal CurseA review of Ryan’s 2011 State of the Union response, which Lloyd Grove predicted “would elevate Ryan into the top tier of GOP presidential and vice-presidential prospects—despite (and possibly because of) Ryan’s persistent claims that he has zero interest in national office.” Ryan managed to avoid the “curse of Bobby Jindal”—a reference to the Louisiana governor’s disastrous 2009 State of the Union response—and instead came across as “a youthful family doctor sitting at America’s bedside, gently patting the nation’s collective hand and cushioning his bad news with a look of blue-eyed concern.”—Read it at The Daily Beast