Thursday, August 30, 2012

The New Great Communicator

There was so much to love about Paul Ryan's speech. I know that liberals will have lots to gripe and criticize, but I thought his speech was one of the very best political speeches I'd ever heard. He delivered substance along with the snark. He put forth the differences between the Republican and Democratic tickets in moral terms. I suspect that a lot of conservatives had the reaction that I've had. I was not enthusiastic about voting for Mitt Romney but would have voted for anyone against Barack Obama. But after listening to Paul Ryan, I am now extremely enthusiastic. Earlier in the evening we heard from some of the others on Romney's list for vice president and they mostly fit the descriptions we'd heard of them as rather unexciting but commendable people. They might be fine people who would have made adequate vice presidents. But Paul Ryan cast everyone in the shade. And I have so much more admiration for Mitt Romney for having the boldness to choose Paul Ryan. In one sentence he summed up why he and Romney are running.
I accept the calling of my generation to give our children the America that was given to us, with opportunity for the young and security for the old – and I know that we are ready.
He set up the contrast to Obama. I hope that this line will resonate with those pondering whom to vote for.
They’ve run out of ideas. Their moment came and went. Fear and division are all they’ve got left.

With all their attack ads, the president is just throwing away money – and he’s pretty experienced at that. You see, some people can’t be dragged down by the usual cheap tactics, because their ability, character, and plain decency are so obvious – and ladies and gentlemen, that is Mitt Romney.

Ryan had humor and wisdom. He was able to cast the argument in a way that was cast to appeal to both Republican activists and also the swing voters. He also put forth arguments to appeal to those who had voted for Obama last time and now are wondering about making the change this year.

Since Ryan was there and a leader in the debates over the actions that Obama has taken since he came into office. He reminded us of the failures of Obama's stimulus and the bad choices that Obama made right from the start.
So here’s the question: Without a change in leadership, why would the next four years be any different from the last four years?

The first troubling sign came with the stimulus. It was President Obama’s first and best shot at fixing the economy, at a time when he got everything he wanted under one-party rule. It cost $831 billion – the largest one-time expenditure ever by our federal government.

It went to companies like Solyndra, with their gold-plated connections, subsidized jobs, and make-believe markets. The stimulus was a case of political patronage, corporate welfare, and cronyism at their worst. You, the working men and women of this country, were cut out of the deal.

What did the taxpayers get out of the Obama stimulus? More debt. That money wasn’t just spent and wasted – it was borrowed, spent, and wasted.

Maybe the greatest waste of all was time. Here we were, faced with a massive job crisis – so deep that if everyone out of work stood in single file, that unemployment line would stretch the length of the entire American continent.
Exactly. The problems in the stimulus represent a missed opportunity. Not only did we have failed programs that didn't create the jobs that were promised, but we were put deeper into debt because we had to borrow that money from our children's future. We lost time. Obama can escape blame for the causes of the recession, but his actions have prolonged it. He could use his family's history to make it clear that he has no intention of ending Medicare.

And Ryan could use his green eyeshade knowledge of the lies that went into Obamacare to make the arguments against that monstrosity of a bill. He explained yet again how Obamacare raided Medicare and made it clear why Medicare is no longer a topic that Republicans are afraid to tackle. And he ridiculed the President's tendency to blame others for what he hasn't accomplished.
It all started off with stirring speeches, Greek columns, the thrill of something new. Now all that’s left is a presidency adrift, surviving on slogans that already seem tired, grasping at a moment that has already passed, like a ship trying to sail on yesterday’s wind.

President Obama was asked not long ago to reflect on any mistakes he might have made. He said, well, “I haven’t communicated enough.” He said his job is to “tell a story to the American people” – as if that’s the whole problem here? He needs to talk more, and we need to be better listeners?

Ladies and gentlemen, these past four years we have suffered no shortage of words in the White House. What’s missing is leadership in the White House. And the story that Barack Obama does tell, forever shifting blame to the last administration, is getting old. The man assumed office almost four years ago – isn’t it about time he assumed responsibility?

In this generation, a defining responsibility of government is to steer our nation clear of a debt crisis while there is still time. Back in 2008, candidate Obama called a $10 trillion national debt “unpatriotic” – serious talk from what looked to be a serious reformer.

Yet by his own decisions, President Obama has added more debt than any other president before him, and more than all the troubled governments of Europe combined. One president, one term, $5 trillion in new debt.
And Ryan knows the history that Obama wasn't at all interested in listening to Republicans and compromising with them on fighting our growing debt. I know that Democrats are criticizing Ryan for having voted against the Bowles-Simpson plan. They ignore that his reason for opposing it was because it did nothing about Obamacare and the increased debt that it burdens us with. Ryan has put forth two budget reduction plans. Obama's budget proposals didn't get any votes from anyone in Congress. Even his own party rejected his budgets. And the Democrats in the Senate haven't put forth a plan for over three years.

Ryan made the best appeal I've heard to young voters who were so enthusiastic four years ago. Obama is so vulnerable on the contrast between the gauzy promises he made four years ago and the reality that his presidency has wrought. I think this passage will resonate with them. Gosh, I hope it does.
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.
I know those young people he's talking about. They come back to visit their old school and teachers and I see their embarrassment that they've graduated college now and are not fulfilling the dreams that we saw them take into college. And every year I talk with seniors as they set off for college full of hope and enthusiasm and I hide my trepidation that they will join another group of disappointed college graduates. It tears at my heart when I talk with former students who left our high school so full of promise and hope and who now are perfectly aware that they're just drifting, desperate to find any position. They've given up on their dream job and now are just dreaming about finding a job.

Liberals in the media and the Democratic Party will claim that Ryan was just an attack dog last night. They don't understand that stating Obama's record is not an attack; it is presenting an argument. Obama can't defend his own record and now his supporters think that merely contrasting his record with reality is an unacceptable attack. That hopey change stuff isn't working for them and they refuse to confront that reality.

If young voters listened to Paul Ryan last night, I hope they'll consider voting for a different approach. Paul Ryan made that argument last night. And for choosing to run with Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney has demonstrated that he is more than that slippery political cipher who seemed to adapt his principles for whatever political audience he was appealing to. It's been a long, long time since I was enthusiastic about a politician, but Paul Ryan is the leader I thought we didn't have any more - a man who speaks from authority and knowledge yet still can appeal to the better angels of our nature.

Listen to his speech. And share it with your friends. This is what it sounds like when a politician rises to the occasion and nails it.