There’s been a persistent dream on the right that Paul Ryan will run for president — a wish that reflects dissatisfaction with the current GOP field, as well as a sense that Ryan’s allegedly bold Medicare plan has cemented his role as the GOP’s most courageous standard bearer on fiscal issues.

Today the Weekly Standard caused a stir on both right and left by reporting that he’s “strongly considering” a presidential run. The Standard story quoted a source close to Ryan claiming that “he’s coming around” to the idea.

The story also quotes Ryan himself expressing general unhappines with the current field: “I just have yet to see a strong and principled articulation of the kind of limited government, opportunity society path that we would provide as an alternative to the Obama cradle to grave welfare state.”

I asked Ryan spokesman Kevin Seifert for comment, and he emailed:

“While grateful for the continued support and encouragement, Congressman Ryan has not changed his mind.”

That’s a reaffirmation of Ryan’s recent appearance on Meet the Press, in which he said: “I’ve been very clear about this. I’m not running for president...You never know what opportunities present themselves way down the road. I’m not talking about right now.” The denial today from Ryan’s spokesman is not the most forceful one we’ve ever heard, so perhaps there’s still room for the dream to persist.

Liberals, too, would like Ryan to run for President, because they think his presence in the race would accomplish one of their primary political goals: Keeping Medicare — and the GOP’s proposal to end the program as we know it — front and central all the way until Election Day 2012.