It's a new position and driving the GOP up the wall. From last month:
"Paul Ryan has stepped up to the plate. This is a very, very serious budget and I think rivals with [what] John Kasich did as budget chairman in getting to a balanced budget in the 1990s, just for the scale and courage involved … Paul Ryan is going to define modern conservatism at a serious level. You can quibble over details but the general shape of what he's doing will define 2012 for Republicans."
That's nothing compared with his most recent volte-face.
The trouble is that the GOP has long talked up Gingrich's alleged intellectual powers and insight (traits that have never been obvious to this naked eye) and so find themselves hoist on their own Newt. Ryan's plan had already been shelved to all intents and purposes, but the claim of "right-wing social engineering" is a Democratic attack ad just waiting to be made.