Rep. Paul Ryan: The Path to Re-election

Roll Call had this article on Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan a couple of days ago. I think it’s worth discussing, so I’ll give it the first try.

The article says Ryan has drawn an opponent for the 2012 race. That’s great. Elections should provide choices. However, in trying to make the case that Rob Zerban is a good opponent, writer Steve Peoples gets a couple of things wrong. First, consider the line:

…Zerban acknowledged that he became a registered Democrat after moving to Wisconsin in 2004.

That probably isn’t accurate. Zerban would know that we don’t register as Democrats or Republicans in Wisconsin. I doubt he’d say he “became a registerd Democrat.” He might have started paying dues to the party, or maybe calling himself a Democrat, but I’ve never heard anyone claim to be registered as one thing or another around here. Of course, it could also be that Peoples is correct and in fact Zerban made that claim. In that case Zerban would be wrong, because he can’t be a “registered Democrat.”

Do take a moment to register the idea that Zerban can’t decide on which side of the political fence he stands in the last decade. Maybe that fence is labeled “opportunist” on one side and “realist” on the other.

Next Peoples’ claims:

Beating Ryan, or even just giving him a tough race in 2012, would be considered payback for Democrats.

Really? In the year of a presidential election with a very difficult economy still looming the Democrats will be focusing on giving Paul Ryan a “tough race?” I’m inclined to think not.

I enjoyed the closing of this piece.

He [Zerben] recalled that he bumped into Ryan on a flight to Washington, D.C., in early May.

“I said, ‘I think I’m going to be your opponent in this next cycle.’ He said, ‘I look forward to running against you, if you make it through your primary,’” Zerban said, laughing. “I said, ‘You know, Paul, I don’t think I’m going to have a primary.’”

So Zerben doesn’t expect a primary. Oh, methinks that would be naive. Of course there will be a primary. Heck I’d run as a Democrat just to force one if I lived in the 1st Congressional District. A primary will make the race that much more expensive and that much more likely to bring flotsam to the surface.

One last thing I’d like you to consider, and that’s how much Zerban’s story mirrors that of recently elected Senator Ron Johnson. I think (this is my opinion, as in from my mind, and I have no proof so don’t start screaming in the comments) Zerban being called a “best shot at defeating House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R) in more than a decade” by “Democrats on Capitol Hill” means Johnson really took Hill Democrats by surprise, and they are admitting just how succesful that outsider’s campaign approach was to the election.

(Just a personal note: I practically had to tie myself to the chair to get this written this morning. This blogging thing is work sometimes. Even if the post has been rolling around in my head for a couple of days, typing it out can be like having a tooth pulled.)


  1. Yah, well, good luck with that.

    Ryan has something which few other pols have: sincerity AND charm. That’s very, very difficult to defeat, especially when Ryan votes his District.

  2. To dad29:

    I have been a lifetime resident of the First CD of Wisconsin. Either you do not live in the district or you need to step away from the kool-aid.