Last October, I had a chance to attend Paul Ryan’s speech at the Heritage Foundation entitled “Saving the American Ideal: Rejecting Fear, Envy and the Politics of Division.” Well, now that the Wisconsin Congressman has been officially chosen as Mitt Romney’s running mate, I thought it would be worth revisiting those remarks and perhaps taking a few moments to reflect on them. Here’s an excerpt from our report:
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?”
There are, of course, “sincere disagreements” between both political parties about which direction to take the country. But the American people have a clear choice: We can either re-elect a president who, in the words of Paul Ryan, has led our country towards more “debt, doubt and despair,” or we can choose a different path -- one that leads towards cutting government spending, entitlement reform, and a balanced federal budget. Which is it going to be? In truth, the president hasn’t even pretended, let alone demonstrated, he is the least bit concerned about addressing the long-term drivers of our national debt. Here's The One's latest budget proposal, for example:
Incredible. There can be little doubt that the outcome of this election will affect the lives of every American -- born and unborn -- for generations to come. As Paul Ryan said during his remarks today, we have a “duty to save the American Dream for our children and theirs." This cannot happen, however, unless we elect leaders who (a) recognize the gravity of the economic challenges we face and (b) are serious about cutting federal spending.
By choosing Paul Ryan as his running mate, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee has sent an unmistakable message to voters that his campaign will be about issues -- not personalities -- in the months ahead. Let's get this done.