To hear his communications director tell it, Paul Ryan came to Washington as a man with a vision. He knew that the nation's fiscal prognosis was deadly, and that vital entitlement programs would capsize without drastic changes.
In May of 2008, with a presidential election on the horizon, Ryan introduced his Roadmap for America's Future, a document that laid out those radical changes and drew criticism for one of its most drastic: the voucherization of Medicare. At this point, Ryan fancied himself a "consensus of one."
Since then, he's laid out several iterations of that initial plan for Medicare. In January of 2009, he tweaked it, reintroducing it as his Roadmap 2.0. Last year, along with founding Congressional Budget Office director Alice Rivlin, he proposed the similar "Rivlin-Ryan" plan to President Obama's fiscal commission (the commission did not accept it). Ryan moved on to a "consensus of two."
His latest effort on Medicare, contained in the Path to Prosperity -- the catchy name for his 2012 budget proposal, introduced this week -- constitutes a similar plan to the first two. Now, he's trying to win the consensus of 218 House members, plus the Democratic Senate, plus the president.