Ryan is a career politician and a Conservative true believer. Confusing his "wonkish tendencies" for academic disinterest is nothing but hype and hypocrisy. A disinterested observer of the past decade would have to challenge ideas about less taxation and light or no regulation. As I've pointed out previously, per capita GDP growth was lower after the Bush Tax Cuts and before the burst of the housing bubble than such growth in the previous three decades. (See this graph for the details.) Anybody aware of this fact would have to conclude at a minimum that the relationship between economic growth and income tax rates is more complex than "growth oriented" Republicans would like to have us believe. Yet they continue with their mantra as if it is the God's truth. Similarly the massive amount of deception and outright fraud in mortgage lending that fed the housing bubble must at a minimum make one skeptical that such markets are capable of efficient function sans effective government regulation.
People are entitled to believe what they believe. But when they continue to do so in contradiction to recent experience, let's not call them serious thinkers. True believer is the correct label.