If, to paraphrase Rahm Emmanuel, a good crisis leads to opportunities, one opportunity is for policy wonks to speak truth to the frivolity of politics as usual.
The public may be willing to listen to facts that it would otherwise prefer to ignore.
Thus, we have Paul Ryan's moment. As Robert Samuelson points out, a once obscure Congressman from Janesville, Wisconsin has done "something no one else in Congress or apparently the White House has done: design a specific plan to control long-term government spending and budget deficits." While I don't agree with everything in Ryan's Roadmap 2.0 (you can't eliminate capital gains tax and eliminate both the corporate income tax and tax on dividends), but it is, as the Economist put it "an honest and daring proposal." While his plan, like Obama's, will cut Medicare spending, it does so in order to return the plan to solvency and not to finance a new entitlement. Combined with Ryan's health care plan, it stands a better chance of "bending the cost curve" than Obama's top down approach.
Ryan's performance at the health care summit further burnished his image and saw him seizing Rahm Emmanuel's opportunity. Investor's Business Daily says that his criticisms of the Democrats' health care proposals are still awaiting a response.