New York Times campaign reporter Trip Gabriel in the paper's Election 2012 section Thursday suggested Paul Ryan's brand of fiscal restraint was a dead end for the GOP in the "demographically diverse" United States: "Ryan in Republican Forefront, But Loss May Bring Blame – Questions on Whether Ticket Needed More Moderation."
For Representative Paul D. Ryan, defeat is not the political career-ender that it is for Mitt Romney. For one thing, he still has his day job -- he won an eighth term from his Wisconsin district on Tuesday. For another, Mr. Ryan is now a household name who is situated, at age 42, at the forefront of the next generation of Republicans.
But a raised profile gained after a 12-week burst that followed his selection as Mr. Romney’s running mate, including a national convention speech and a spirited performance in a vice-presidential debate, is a mixed blessing. Mr. Ryan will return to the House with a more central role to play in the conservative wing of the party, Congressional insiders said. But he is also open to blame by Republicans who conclude that the party failed to unseat a weakened president by ignoring the more moderate, and diverse, direction of the country.
But all the factors making Mr. Ryan a top possible contender as a 2016 Republican presidential nominee could be upended if Republicans conclude they need a more moderate candidate who can be more appealing to an electorate that is more demographically diverse and less hostile to government than the Romney-Ryan ticket that the party gambled on.
“Purity isn’t always good politics, and I suspect there will be some argument about that in the context of the discussion of the future of the party,” said Phil Musser, former executive director of the Republican Governors Association.
In Mr. Ryan’s home district in southern Wisconsin, he won re-election with 55 percent of the vote, a sharp drop from his 64 percent in 2008, when Mr. Obama’s margin of victory in the state was even greater than on Tuesday.
In his hometown, Janesville, supporters of Mr. Ryan, who have kept him in office since 1999 when he was 28 years old, doubted that he would change his positions even if the nation may be moving away from his brand of politics.
“He certainly represents one faction of the Republican party, but there are just so many competing voices,” said Kitty Cole, an athletic trainer. “They need to do some soul searching, and come up with a party that has broader appeal.”