Paul Ryan’s Speech – Snap Judgement

Unlike Chris Christie last night, Congressman Ryan knocked it out of the park – both for the base and the middle.  Here is the text of his speech (though I recommend you watch it instead since Ryan is pretty much the opposite of Nixon in the 1960 Presidential debate).

Ryan is a damn good speaker and projects both strong leadership and intelligence.  A Republican Kennedy (and no, I don’t mean that as a criticism!)?  Mind you, I shudder when the Republican Party defends Medicare like it is a sacred cow.  But Ryan’s speech hit a lot of strong notes – even for us classical liberals suspicious of the Republican Party and even Ryan himself.  Of course, I want to see more than a lot of stirring rhetoric and witty zingers.  But hard to imagine a better realistic alternative on the ticket to Ryan in the Republican Party as it exists right now.  And you really gotta love the natural rights talk – not to mention a derogatory use of the term “central planners” (unfortunately, yes, that would include the guy on the top of the ticket)!

Best zinger of the campaign season so far has got to be this one:

“College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life.”

Here is the “central planners” line:

“When I was waiting tables, washing dishes, or mowing lawns for money, I never thought of myself as stuck in some station in life.  I was on my own path, my own journey, an American journey where I could think for myself, decide for myself, define happiness for myself.  That’s what we do in this country.  That’s the American Dream.  That’s freedom, and I’ll take it any day over the supervision and sanctimony of the central planners.”

And here is the natural rights and natural law language that one could imagine most Republicans shortening to a focus on God alone as the source:

“Each of these great moral ideas is essential to democratic government – to the rule of law, to life in a humane and decent society.  They are the moral creed of our country, as powerful in our time, as on the day of America’s founding.  They are self-evident and unchanging, and sometimes, even presidents need reminding, that our rights come from nature and God, not from government.

The founding generation secured those rights for us, and in every generation since, the best among us have defended our freedoms.”

Is it too late to dump Mitt?  Silver lining of a loss: Ryan-Paul 2016?  More likely: Ryan-Rice 2016?  I have a hard time thinking a tired, aging Clinton is going to beat Mr. Charisma teamed up with Prof. Rice.

But for lots of reasons (many highlighted by the fine writers at Reason; example here), we gotta hope that Mr. Ryan’s future governing is a lot more like this speech (minus the Medicare loving) than his behavior in Congress.

8 thoughts on “Paul Ryan’s Speech – Snap Judgement

  1. Are you Nutz? This guy has voted for NDAA, The Patriot Act, Tarp and Bank Bailouts. I am much more impressed (actually depressed) with what the guy does than 15 minutes of rhetorical bullshit. Coming from you, this stuns me. You should get together with Rand Paul; you guys could hold hands and play “Ring around the RNC”. What a joke!

    1. Please note my words of caution: “But for lots of reasons (many highlighted by the fine writers at Reason; example here), we gotta hope that Mr. Ryan’s future governing is a lot more like this speech (minus the Medicare loving) than his behavior in Congress.” And earlier: “Ryan’s speech hit a lot of strong notes – even for us classical liberals suspicious of the Republican Party and even Ryan himself. Of course, I want to see more than a lot of stirring rhetoric and witty zingers.”

  2. And I’m not naive, I get the political optics of defending Medicare vs. Obama. But strategic rhetoric can backfire and box you in – and Medicare is a beast, not a sacred cow, that must be trimmed.

  3. GC, rhetoric means nothing, If it did, we all would be mitt romney fans. Call me cynical, that would be unfair. Call me hopeless, that would be accurate. Too bad Ryan didn’t adopt the character of his former mentor, Jack Kemp. Face it, we’re all doomed, if the best we can hope for is hyperbole in a Paul Ryan speech turning into reality.

    1. Trust me, I’ve long argued the point that I want to see actions over rhetoric. I have a good friend who is a master (and student) of political speech to whom I’ve made a similar argument. But isn’t it at least nice to see the rhetoric since speech is educative at least on the margins? And isn’t Ryan better than real alternatives?

  4. From a Republican persepective: More energetic and charismatic, more focused on financial issues in the future (though he doesn’t have the record as a budget cutter that people may think he does), a greater national reputation (especially with the base), less known as the consumate insider despite being one, etc.

    From a cl perspective: some of the above plus there is more hope with him.

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