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Paul Ryan's leadership: Filling the vacuum

On Tuesday U.S. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan released his latest "Path to Prosperity" alternative budget for the federal government. Though The New York Times already characterized it as slashing spending for social programs, and some conservatives will say it leaves the government too bloated, we have a different take. Why is Paul Ryan the only one sticking his neck out to present credible alternatives to the President's Spend It All, Bill The Kids program?

Ryan — who should have run for President in 2012 — has been the Republican Party's budget "idea guy" since shortly before the death of his mentor, Jack Kemp, in 2009. Ryan introduced his "Roadmap for America's Future" in 2008. It was reminiscent of Newt Gingrich's Contract With America in its optimism and its daring. But it exceeded Gingrich's ambition by putting a detailed budget plan before the voters.

Since then, Ryan has been the party's undisputed leader on federal budget issues. In fact, he is the only leader. Why?

Washington is supposed to be where the nation's "best and brightest" gravitate. Among 535 elected officials, Ryan is the only one with the combination of brains and guts to offer voters a realistic, detailed alternative budget plan? In New Hampshire, Republicans saw leaders like former House Speaker Bill O'Brien, Senate President Chuck Morse, and former Senate President Ted Gatsas all put forward serious budget proposals. In Washington, there is only one guy? No wonder the federal budget is such a disaster.

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