This week Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) participated in a CBS town hall. In this setting he demonstrated why many conservatives find him the most effective spokesman for fiscal issues.

His ability to explain in direct terms the connection between the debt and job growth and the impact of high corporate tax rates is impressive:

Part of his appeal is that he talks about the efficacy of his policies, avoiding labels and accusations. He never used the words “Democrat” or “Republican,” although he sets up a stark contrast between the two parties’ approach to the economy.

Ryan makes a compelling argument that only one of them has led: “We’ve put ideas on the table. We’ve passed ideas in the House. We’ve said, ‘Here’s how we think we balance the budget. Here’s how we save Medicare. Here’s how we create jobs.’ We’re putting these bills out there. We’re passing these bills because we think [what] you need to do is lead with your ideas, defend your ideas. And what we’re having is basically the crickets are chirping. We’re not seeing any action from any of our legislative partners on the other side of the aisle.”

For a week or so the Democrats had a field day attacking Ryan, but come the 2012 election the voters will want to know what the parties have done. Perhaps that is what is spurring progress on the debt-ceiling talks. The question remains: Do the Democrats want a deal or a campaign issue?