Fitingly entitled "The Upstart," the piece traces Rep. Ryan's political biography, and aptly outlines his nuanced approach to policy and his wide-ranging intellectual interests, especially his facination with the Tofflers. We talked extensively about Alvin Toffler when Rep. Ryan sat down with Meet the Bloggers (the photo is from that session.) In fact, Wash. Monthly help pay for the interview transcript to use as source material. In addition, the writer traveled to Akron to listen to him speak at the Press Club.
Ryan has it all, charisma, intelligence, fierce, dogged style when facing down foes and balanced approach to issues that appeals to folks like me. For example, here's the guts of the discussion on trade:
- That Ryan finds himself claimed as an ally by both sides of the trade divide is more than just clever political positioning. His approach may represent where the party, and the country, is ultimately heading on the issue. Younger people appear far more willing than their elders to acknowledge, as Ryan does, that America can’t wall itself off from the global economy. In a recent poll, 41 percent of respondents aged eighteen to thirty-four agreed that free trade deals help the United States. Among respondents fifty and over, that figure was just 18 percent. “Younger people didn’t fully live as adults in the world as it used to be,” says Lori Kletzer, a trade policy expert at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a Washington think tank that has generally favored trade liberalization. “So they’re more willing to figure out ways to work in a world that has ... job insecurities and vulnerabilities.”
There’s little doubt that the current trade dialogue within the party could use some nuance. Former Clinton economic adviser Gene Sperling calls it the “divorce court debate”—with each side simply marshalling all the available evidence against the other, and says it “does not reflect the complexity of the world or the complexity of the challenges.” Pure free traders, Sperling says, “have to acknowledge that there’s been a lot more strain on the middle class from globalization recently.” Meanwhile, “trade skeptics have to recognize that China and India aren’t going away, and that a real progressive growth strategy has to also focus on a very prospective investment strategy in people”—with education at the center of it. In trying to think seriously about the massive transformation the world is in the midst of, and in searching for a response that goes beyond the slogans of both sides, Ryan appears to be leading the way.