Bill Kristol confirms the murmurs the rest of us have been hearing: Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) won’t run for the Senate. As I’ve noted before, this makes perfect sense. From his current post he has far more impact on the national debate and on the course of critical legislation than he would as a freshman senator.

And he’d have the most impact, of course, as president. It is telling I think that Newt Gingrich blew up his presidential campaign criticizing Ryan. Republicans rallied to Ryan’s side and fired a barrage of criticism at Gingrich. This has as much to do with Gingrich’s intellectual instability as it does with Ryan’s new stature as the ideas man of the GOP. (Perhaps Gingrich’s blast can be explained as envy, for that is a role Gingrich once held.) That Republicans of all stripes understand that Ryan Republicanism — reform-minded, intellectually rigorous, pro-free markets and temperamentally cordial — is the wave of the future.

Ryan can make his decision this summer. But turning down a pointless Senate run is the first step toward that potential run.