When you think of Republican congressman Paul Ryan, terms like earnest, serious and important come to mind. So does the term old-fashioned. Ryan comes from an old-fashioned place, the blue-collar town of Janesville, Wisconsin. He cherishes the old-fashioned values of a faithful family man. He even looks old-fashioned, with his white shirts and striped ties. And he uses old-fashioned argument skills, persuasively weaving big-picture themes with the numbers that back them up.
And Ryan has old-fashioned goals, too, like saving America from fiscal bankruptcy, economic stagnation and a European-style entitlement state.
“Just look at what happened across the Atlantic,” Ryan told me in a year-end interview. “We have to avoid that. We must reclaim our founding principles of economic freedom and free markets. We must preserve the American Idea.”
With this vision, and with a pro-growth budget framework called “A Roadmap for America’s Future,” Ryan’s serious ideas have seriously gotten under President Obama’s skin.
And in the process Representative Ryan became very influential.
No, Ryan’s reforms didn’t quite resonate in the White House. But they did force a serious debate about domestic policy and the economy throughout the country. With his comprehensive budget of deep spending cuts, entitlement reform, and tax simplification—a plan that would strictly limit government and unleash growth at the same time—Ryan became the most influential Republican of his younger generation. Quite likely, he became the most influential thinker in today’s GOP. For all these reasons, Paul Ryan has been chosen as the HUMAN EVENTS Conservative of the Year.
So just what is the vision of Representative Paul Ryan?
Ryan talks about “reclaiming founding principles,” and about “fighting paternalistic, arrogant, and condescending government elites who want to equalize outcomes, create new entitlement rights and promote less self-government by the citizenry.”
In other words, Rep. Paul Ryan is offering a completely different vision from the one Obama outlined in his Osawatomie, Kan., campaign speech in early December. Ryan wants “the right to rise,” not a third wave of liberal progressivism. He wants to stop Obama’s attempt to add to the New Deal/Great Society with the statist universal-healthcare program called Obamacare and an effective nationalization of the energy and financial sectors. And he completely rejects Obama’s divisive, big-government, punish-wealth, tax-the-rich leftist populism.
for the 2012 election, Ryan has a political vision: Republicans must develop and communicate a clear policy agenda along the lines of his “Path to Prosperity.” Then, should they win, the GOP can use this agenda to govern effectively.
“Reagan had this right,” Ryan told me. For the congressman from Wisconsin, it’s the American Idea. That’s Ryan’s vision.
The question is this though. Are the contenders in the GOP Presidential primary and Republican candidates in races across the country smart enough to embrace this vision that may be the only way to victory?
Especially when sound policies like those of Representative Paul Ryan drive the liberals and Democrats nuts.
- Can Paul Ryan – and His Agenda – Be Beat? It’s Possible | The Nation (tribuneofthepeople.wordpress.com)
- Paul Ryan questions Gingrich’s leadership on budget issues (thehill.com)
- Paul Ryan for President (freedomeden.blogspot.com)