For Representative Paul Ryan, defeat is not the political career-ender that it is for Mitt Romney. For one thing, he still has his day job — he won an eighth term from his Wisconsin district on Tuesday. For another, Ryan is now a household name who is situated, at age 42, at the forefront of the next generation of Republicans.
But a raised profile gained after a 12-week burst that followed his selection as Romney’s running mate, including a national convention speech and a spirited performance in a vice presidential debate, is a mixed blessing. Ryan will return to the House with a more central role to play in the conservative wing of the party, congressional insiders said. But he is also open to blame by Republicans who conclude that the party failed to unseat a weakened president by ignoring the more moderate, and diverse, direction of the country.
Ryan, who was chosen by Romney to excite the conservative base, flew home Wednesday to Janesville, Wis., after giving up his usual Election Day deer hunting trip. ‘‘I look forward to spending some time with my family in the coming days,’’ he said in a statement.
Shortly, he will return to the chairmanship of the House Budget Committee, where he has had a defining role in moving Republicans rightward on fiscal issues, only to confront a reelected president intent on sticking to his campaign pledges to raise taxes on the wealthy and preserve social programs.
Ryan, whose House budget plan that sharply reduces government was embraced by Romney, can claim that he, too, won a kind of mandate. The Ryan budget ‘‘proved itself a viable platform on which to run on and be reelected.’‘ said Representative Tom Cole of Oklahoma.