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November 28th, 2011 3:11 pm
Young Guns Now in Charge

Fred Barnes has a great article in The Weekly Standard about how the trio of Republican House members his magazine first dubbed “Young Guns” back in 2007 is now perhaps the single weightiest force in Washington Republican politics. The three are Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy and Paul Ryan. “Cantor is majority leader, McCarthy is Republican whip, and Ryan is chairman of the House Budget Committee and the leading Republican voice on domestic policy,” Barnes wrote. ” [….] They knew Republicans had lost their way, ideologically and politically. And they were eager to promote House candidates from diverse backgrounds, with little or no political experience but a zeal for bold conservative reforms. ‘We focused our effort,” Cantor says, “on recruitment of people who wanted to run for the right reasons’.”

Now I haven’t always liked what Cantor, McCarthy or even Ryan have done or said, but for the most part, they (especially Ryan) have been tremendous forces for a revitalization of the GOP as a party of new ideas and bold, serious proposals.  But the key, bigger point emerges from this Barnes explanation: “[T]heir political skills were complementary: Cantor the party leader, McCarthy the strategist, and Ryan the policy thinker.” One of my biggest complaints through the years has been that far too few conservatives married practical politics well with policy expertise, and that fewer still knew how to breed those two skills together to produce something that looks good and will sell well in the public arena.

The next best thing to having one person able to do all three is to have one person who is really good at one or two of them and also wise enough to affiliate himself with the right person or people to do whichever of the other three functions at which he might be lacking.

Alas, it has been decades since we have seen a Republican presidential nominee even come close. Hence the clamor earlier this year for Ryan himself to enter the fray.

The search continues. But Barnes’ article well identifies not just the players but the troika of required skills. It’s well worth a close read.

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