Guy Benson

It was quite an opening day at CPAC 2012, as two emerging superstars of the movement offered compelling critiques of Obamaism, and laid out a principled path -- brick by brick -- to conservative victory.  I can only hope the remaining 2012 GOP presidential candidates were taking copious notes.  We reviewed Sen. Marco Rubio's powerful message yesterday afternoon; not to be outdone, Rep. Paul Ryan articulated his vision for "opportunity, prosperity, and growth," versus the president's road to "debt, doubt, and decline" at last night's banquet.  A few choice excerpts, via Ryan's Prosperity PAC:
 

It will not be enough to repeal the President’s disastrous health-care law. We must solve the problem in health care by curbing out-of-control costs that erode paychecks for working families and push quality coverage out of reach for millions of Americans. It will not be enough to stop the administration’s war against proven sources of American-made energy. We must build the case for developing energy here at home, to create jobs and lower the price of energy in this country. It will not be enough to stop Washington’s reckless spending spree, which has spread cronyism and corporate welfare. We must bring the bureaucracy to heel and restore the rule of law where it was replaced by the whims of those in power. And it will not be enough to condemn the President’s attempt to pit one group of Americans against another.  Instead, we must promote upward mobility, starting with solutions that speak to our broken education system, broken immigration policy, and broken safety-net programs that foster dependency instead of helping people get back on their feet...
 
While President Obama shirks his responsibility to advance solutions to our fiscal challenges, he can no longer hide from the merciless math of the balance sheet. Conservatives have made certain of that.  We have pressured the President to put forward a number of deficit-reduction proposals – and while none has offered a credible solution to our fiscal crisis, each one has revealed a little bit more about what the President would do if he were forced to end the deficits. It wouldn’t be pretty. His proposals have three things in common: they load massive tax increases on small businesses and hardworking families, they require bureaucratic rationing in government health care programs, and they hollow out our national security. Every time we force the President and his party’s leaders to get specific on how they would solve our fiscal challenges, they show us an agenda that does great harm to our economic security, our health security, and our national security...
 
The President himself is framing this election as a stark choice between two conflicting visions. Recently he said that, “The very core of what this country stands for is on the line – the notion that we’re all in this together, that we look out for one another – that’s at stake in this election.”  “We’re all in this together” versus “You’re on your own” – that’s how the President is defining this choice.  “We’re all in this together” – it’s a powerful and appropriate phrase for describing the best in our nation’s history. It speaks to our affinity for family, community, and the religious institutions through which we really do look out for one another. But the reality is that the President’s rhetoric has always conflicted with the President’s agenda. The policy agenda he has promoted weakens these very institutions. It stifles their vitality and substitutes federal power in their place. He says, “We’re all in this together” – but his re-election strategy is to divide Americans, to foster envy and resentment, and to push programs that entrench dependency and grow government...
 

Full video is HERE.  I'll leave you with Ryan laying the groundwork for his message on Fox & Friends, where he responds to a predictably dense and dishonest statement from a Democrat spokesman on Medicare reform.  Ryan does an excellent job of beating back the lies, but I'd add two additional points:  (1) The seniors who've "paid into this system for a lifetime" are exempt from Ryan's reforms, as are adults within ten years of retirement.  Under Ryan's plan, future seniors are not forced to "wither on the vine" (they'd receive an average of $18,000+ in premium subsidies by 2030), nor are the "ultra wealthy" favored -- they'd actually receive lower subsidies.  (2) Medicare "as we know it" will become insolvent within a dozen years if we do nothing, and tinkering around the margins for show will only briefly forestall that fate.  What happens to all the seniors Democrats purport to care about within that eventuality? And with that, over to you, Mr. Chairman:


 

Day two of this conference kicked off moments ago.  We'll hear from three presidential candidates, including wounded frontrunner Mitt Romney, and the insurgent Rick Santorum, who's made major bank since Tuesday's clean sweep.

Guy Benson

Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Senior Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography