Saturday, October 04, 2008

Paul Ryan's Express

More praise for the leadership of Congressman Paul Ryan from Kimberly A. Strassel in Friday's WSJ:

If political leadership is hard to come by in Washington, it's because it invites political retribution. Just ask Republican Rep. Paul Ryan.

Mr. Ryan, perhaps the free market's truest friend in Congress, earlier this week voted to help rescue that free market. He hated the Paulson plan, but hated more the economic crash he is convinced will follow inaction. And in casting his "yes" vote on Monday, he knew what was coming: "The easiest thing would be to vote no and go hide in my office and watch the markets collapse. I will suffer politically for this, but I will sleep at night."

He was right. For his sin of acting to forestall economic mayhem, Mr. Ryan is being pilloried in Wisconsin, where he's in a competitive race. He's been accused of abandoning his conservative principles, of "caving" and "bailing out" Wall Street. He received 3,000 calls last week and wryly notes the "only one in favor came from Hank Paulson."

The piece ends with a note sure to warm the hearts of dismal scientists everywhere:

Mr. Ryan is now busy sending out charts of Libor spreads to radio talk-show hosts (no joke), intent on explaining the seriousness of the crisis, and hopeful his credibility will see him through. "The best outcome is that [those of us who voted yes] take a political hit but avert a crisis," he says. How's that for leadership?

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