The Republicans’ midterm surge has given the federal debt-reduction commission — whose recommendations are due Dec. 1 — a chance to stand up and be counted. The panel is bipartisan, but as long as Democrats were able to have their way ultimately in both houses of Congress, Republican members had little clout. Now that the balance of power has shifted, the ideas of the panel’s deficit hawks, such as Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), may get a bit more respect. Co-chairs Erskine Bowles (chief of staff for Bill Clinton) and Alan Simpson (former GOP senator from Wyoming) have offered a proposal, but it’s only a draft. We’ll know the commission blew its opportunity …