Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, posturing as the new face of Conservative compassion, sought to teach the Pope about politics this week, saying, “The guy is from Argentina, they haven’t had real capitalism in Argentina.” Ryan went on, “They have crony capitalism in Argentina. They don’t have a true free enterprise system.”
The remarks are an attempt to explain to the Pope the difference between Argentina’s economy and the economy of the United States – because we have no cronyism in the American economics landscape.
“What I love about the pope is he is triggering the exact kind of dialogue we ought to be having,” Ryan suggested. He added nothing about his own state’s sickly state of fiscal health.
Some see Ryan’s remarks as an attempt to associate himself with a “kinder, gentler” Conservatism, as the rift between Tea Party Conservatives and Reaganites continues to grow. Ryan, positioning himself at a distance from the Tea Party, appears to be courting the votes of moderates by inching his image a bit to the Left.
Ryan, an heretofore Tea Party darling, is not saying he will run for the 2016 election. He’s also not saying he will not run. When asked he said, ““I’ve decided I will consider this later,” Ryan said in a November interview with the Des Moines Register. “Once I’m through with this term, then I’m going to give a hard look at it.” Ryan’s new book, the presidential hopeful’s roadmap for Conservatism, tentatively titled “Where Do We Go From Here?” is due out sometime in 2014.