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Paul Ryan “outlined his vision for a confident America at home and abroad, pledging that his top priority as Speaker in 2016 will be offering the country a bold, pro-growth agenda” (to quote the page on his website that features the full text of the remarks, hosts a video of the address and, inexplicably, contains a comments section on a par with the non-Ricochet parts of the interwebs).
True to his reform icon roots, the Speaker wants to retain Social Security and Medicare, but then goes on to lay out a vision more-or-less compatible with that offered by the various Presidential candidates: more growth, simpler tax code, smaller government, stronger military. This is presumably by design.
He has some great lines that should become staples of conservative discourse. Discussing how bureaucracy is doomed to failure in today’s world (more than a hint of Fiorina here), he says:
More bureaucracy means less opportunity—because big government and big business don’t fight each other so much as feed each other. … And so round and round the revolving door goes, all while the people stand on the sidelines. … That’s how today’s experts become tomorrow’s cronies. … Don’t outsource [problems] to the bureaucracy. Crowdsource [them to the people].
He also has some gestures towards why supporting trade agreements should be conservative policy:
We believe in free enterprise. We believe, if you have a good idea, you should have a fair chance to make it happen. That means Americans should not have to pay unnecessary costs or wait and wait and wait just to get a permit. They should compete on a level playing field with everybody else. I don’t know why we would not fight for every job out there. I don’t know why we would accept—or even worse, adopt—other countries’ corporate welfare when we know our way is better. There won’t be a level playing field—there won’t be free and fair trade—unless we work for it. China is out there every day pushing for crony capitalism. So it all comes down to this question: Are we going to write the rules of the global economy—or is China?
To my mind, he doesn’t quite seal the deal, here. (And to be fair, he makes a couple more half-arguments than this one.) But it is only one point in what is really a speech about “watch this space”.
He ends with an appeal to… I’m not quite sure. Who is Speaker Ryan addressing with this peroration?
So what it all comes down to is whether we conservatives have confidence in ourselves. Do we really believe our philosophy is true? Do we have the best ideas? If so, then I don’t see any reason why we should hold back. The truth is, the Left wants to make the debate about personalities. They want to paint us as irresponsible. That’s because we all know what the Left stands for. We all know what another progressive presidency would mean: just more of the same.
So don’t take the bait. Don’t play their game. Don’t give them a win by default. Put together a positive agenda, and take it to the American people. Give people the choice they are yearning for. And if next year, this House can say we have done that, then we will have done our job. Then the people will know that we stand for a more prosperous, a more secure, a more confident America. And the rest? Well, the rest will be up to the people—as it should be.
Oh, yeah. The hook is supposed to be ‘a confident America’ (or as the kids say these days, #ConfidentAmerica). This requires harping on the anxious, fearful America of today, which I wonder about.Published in