Daniel Doherty

On Wednesday, Rep. Paul Ryan (WI-R) gave a major address at the Heritage Foundation entitled “Saving the American Ideal: Rejecting Fear, Envy and the Politics of Division.”

Since winning elected office in 1998, Congressman Ryan has worked tirelessly to end the tide of profligate government spending in Washington. As Chairman of the House Budget Committee and one of the youngest members of the House Republican leadership, he has boldly advocated new and innovative solutions to solve the nation’s lingering economic and budgetary challenges.

Yet despite his best efforts, the United States continues to grapple with record deficits and chronic unemployment. Ryan argues that we have reached a pivotal moment in our history, a point where American’s founding principles are unequivocally threatened by the misguided policies of the current administration.

“What makes America exceptional – what gives life to the American idea – is our dedication to the self-evident truth that we are all created equal, giving us equal rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” he said. “And that means opportunity.”

But given the state of the U.S. economy, where millions have lost their jobs and Americans everywhere are struggling, he acknowledges that the road to fiscal solvency will not be easy.

“The American idea is not tried in times of prosperity,” he said. “Instead, it is tested when times are tough: when the pie is shrinking, when businesses are closing, and when workers are losing their jobs.”

While he is optimistic about the future, his greatest disappointment -- and the essence of his speech -- is how the leadership in Washington espouses class warfare and the politics of division. He is particularly critical of President Obama, whom he says has divided the nation ever since taking the oath of office. Although Obama campaigned on the essential promise he would unite the country -- his policies, speeches, and divisive rhetoric, according to Ryan, have split the nation asunder.

“Just last week,” Ryan stated, “the President told a crowd in North Carolina that Republicans are in favor of, dirtier air, dirtier water, and less people with health insurance. Can you think of a pettier way to describe sincere disagreements between the two parties on regulation and health care?”

Daniel Doherty

Daniel Doherty is Townhall's Deputy News Editor. Follow him on Twitter @danpdoherty.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography