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One, Two, Many Paul Ryans. No John McCains Please.

Michele Bachmann is not ready to endorse Paul Ryan's Path to Prosperity.  That isn't necessarily a bad thing.  I think of Ryan's Path to Prosperity as a framework for thinking and talking about the reforms we need.  Criticism and political prudence will almost certainly require modifying parts of Ryan's Plan.  I've already made some (second hand) suggestions.  Bachmann is entitled to her own thoughts about the best way to develop a sustainable and pro-growth long-term budget - and so is every other Republican presidential candidate.  Even if we agree on Ryan's basic principles of curbing entitlement spending, reforming health care in a market-oriented direction and producing a simpler, more growth-friendly tax code, there are still huge issues about how to go about doing it.  It isn't clear how much of the revenues from cutting tax expenditures should go to lower marginal rates, to deficit reduction or to an expanded child tax credit.  It isn't clear that Ryan's Medicare reforms include enough revenue or that the Medicare reforms are structured ideally.  Having thoughtful, responsible, and sharp competition among the Republican presidential candidates on these issues would be more useful than unanimity.

What we don't need are candidates who either don't have a realistic budget plan or who just put one up on their websites and then focus on gimmicks, cheap partisan opportunism, and rocks thrown from glass houses.  We don't need a replay of the 2008 Republican primary campaign in which candidates bashed each other upside the head over who had been most pro-amnesty the longest, or whether having been pro-choice or having raised taxes was the greater sin against conservatism.  We don't need a Republican presidential nominee whose domestic politics strategy was, at various times, drill baby drill, making Mario Cuomo's son chairman of the SEC, and complaining that Obama almost sorta kinda called Palin a pig. 

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