Paul Ryan gave his first major address as speaker of the House at the Library of Congress Thursday afternoon.
“We are not here to smooth things over,” Ryan said. “We are here to shake things up.”
Ryan has been described as uniquely capable of uniting the Republican Party. It’s why both moderates and conservatives in Congress urged Ryan to run for a title he never wanted. In his speech today, defined by his usual optimistic outlook for the country, he proved why so many consider him to be the leader the party needs.
“Our No. 1 goal is to put together a complete alternative to the left’s agenda,” he said. “We want America to be confident again.”
“The federal government has grown arrogant and condescending,” he continued. “More bureaucracy means less opportunity.”
“People should solve the problems themselves,” he suggested.
“Oddly enough, it is the progressives who are stuck in the past.”
The first way to accomplish this, he explained, is to keep spending, taxes, and debt under control. He outlined some specific proposals to create an environment where people can “believe in our future again.”
Our seven tax rates, he said, need to be “collapsed into two or three.”
As for health care, Ryan said they must offer tax credits to help individuals pay for insurance, while giving more to the elderly and sick. The president’s signature legislation, Ryan said, has too many mandates and restrictions that are hurting American families.
“We will have a plan to replace every single word of Obamacare,” he pledged.
Addressing national security, Ryan said we need a strategy to defeat ISIS, as well as give our European allies the support they need to combat the terror threat.
We have to build a “21st century military,” he insisted.
“A strong America does not threaten the peace.”
Yet, Ryan did not shirk the obvious: Without a conservative leader, many of their efforts will be for naught.
“It is with great dismay, we have watched our president transform our country - and not for the better.”
Obama has managed to “slice and dice the electorate,” and “polarize” the country, Ryan lamented.
“We need to control the presidency,” he said. “This country has enormous problems. But if we do not have a president who will work with us, we will not solve these problems.
At least Ryan has complete confidence in his Republican friends.
“I know my colleagues,” he said. “We are not here to be someone, we are here to do something.”