Skip to comments.Think Big (Paul Ryan)
Posted on 07/11/2010 5:16:07 PM PDT by Signalman
For Republicans, the Road Map authored by congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin is the most important proposal in domestic policy since Ronald Reagan embraced supply side economics in the 1980 presidential campaign. Its not only the freshest, boldest, and most comprehensive Republican thinking, its also the most relevant. If Republicans adopt the Road Map as their basic ideological blueprint, it offers them the prospect of a landslide in the midterm election this year, followed by victory in the presidential election in 2012.
For sure, thats a lot of weight for a policy statement drafted by a 40-year-old House member to bear. But the Road Map is perfectly timed to deal with the crises of the moment: economic stagnation, uncontrolled spending, the deficit and long-term debt, soaring tax rates, health care, the housing problem, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid.
Yet Republican leaders are wary of endorsing it, and for understandable reasons. The Road Map is sweeping and politically risky. It would overhaul popular programs like Medicare, relying on individuals to make decisions now made by government. Democrats are already attacking it. When Ryan delivered the weekly Republican radio address in late June, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi put out a press release under the heading, Republicans Make Key Advocate of Privatizing Social Security and Ending Medicare Their Spokesman on Budget.
Democrats insist focus groups have rejected Ryans reform of Medicare. When swing voters learn Medicare would become a voucher system . . . it has a massive impact, Democratic strategist Robert Creamer wrote in the Huffington Post. People like the Democratic program of Medicare.
Republican leaders fear the Road Map might jeopardize, or at least minimize, what is expected to be a decisive Republican victory in the November midterm election. Their advantage in the congressional generic poll is at an all-time high, and President Obamas approval rating has dropped to the mid-40s. Given these usually reliable indicators, why give Democrats a target to shoot at?
There are three reasons Republicans should ignore their jitters about the Road Map. The first is that the nations disenchantment with Obama and Democrats will take Republicans only so far. Theres a residue of bad feelings toward Republicans from the years the party ruled Congress, spent too much, and produced scandals.
Voters have memories. To overcome their qualms, Republicans need to provide more than a litany of Democratic faults. Voters are frightened about the future of the country. Theyre looking for a serious solution to the mess were in. The Road Map offers exactly that, plus the opportunity to win more seats than Republicans are likely to capture solely by zinging Democrats.
The second reason should be obvious after the ignominious Republican defeat in May in the race for John Murthas old House seat in Pennsylvania. Democrat Mark Critz won by running to the rightagainst Washington, Obama, spending, the deficit and Democratic candidates across the country are taking the same tack.
Republican candidates need to put some daylight between themselves and their Democratic opponents. The Road Map will do that. Democrats cant endorse it for fear of alienating their liberal base, which loathes anything that reduces the size of government. The Road Map stamps Republican candidates as the real conservatives, which is what voters happen to be looking for in 2010.
The third reason is the Republican message (or the absence of one). In Pennsylvania, it was send a message to Nancy Pelosi. Voters declined. I like the Republican slogan that worked so well in 1946Had enough? But a slogan is not a message. The Road Map is a message. The country is falling apart, were going broke, government is on a takeover binge, the economy is wobbling. The Road Map is the solution. Thats a pretty good message.
Those who tremble at the thought of pushing a big idea should remember the campaign of 1980. Reagan, who for years had warned of the evils of government spending and overreach, suddenly became the champion of an across the board, 30 percent cut in tax rates for individuals and business.
That was very risky. The elder George Bush called it voodoo economics. Democrats were certain the whopping tax cut would turn the country against Reagan. Quite the opposite occurred. Reagan would have defeated Jimmy Carter without it, but not by the 10 percentage points he actually won by. The tax cut showed Reagan was serious about reviving the economy and not at all a weakling like Carter.
In 1994, the Contract With America wasnt as risky. It wasnt a big idea either, but a collection of smaller ones. Democrats, however, believed it would doom Republican chances of a substantial victory. It didnt. It cant be proved, but I think the Contract enlarged the Republican landslide.
For now, the Road Map has a relatively small but growing cheering section. A dozen House members have endorsed it. Senator Jim DeMint praised it in his book Saving Freedom. Jeb Bush likes it. On CNN last week, economic historian Niall Ferguson called Ryan a serious thinker on the Republican right whos prepared to grapple with these issues of fiscal sustainability and come up with a plan.
Ferguson sees the Road Map as radical fiscal reform, which it is, and said Washington should recognize it as the alternative to the Keynesian option, which Washington doesnt. Im depressed how few people in Washington are prepared to talk about the Road Map option, he said.
Ryan isnt depressed. As soon as people become informed and know the details, the more they like it, he told me. He says the Road Map is based on a fundamentally different vision from the government-centered ideology now prevailing in Washington . . . and restores an American character rooted in individual initiative, entrepreneurship, and opportunity.
He’s been on my radar for a year now. I hope he runs in 2012.
see my tagline
Social Security Reform was a big loser for Bush a few years back, I’m by no means convinced that anything has changed significantly since that time. However great this may be as policy - it won’t be popular politically, and no amount of telling ourselves otherwise will change that.
I'll trust whomever he picks as his running mate.
I love Paul Ryan.
He’s tops in my book.
As WFB said, conservatism is standing athwart history and saying stop. History has gone past on many a government program. Any policy position that says do with less is doomed to failure. Even if it is the only reasonable position.
I’d love to see Ryan both run in 2012 and win, but he’s clearly said that there are three reasons why he won’t.
They are named Liza, Charlie, and Sam, and they need their daddy at home.
Can’t say I blame him, even if we need him.
You need to control the debate. Republicans need to get out there and tell people that SS, Medicare, and Medicaid are unsustainable. Who cares if the Dems call you names?
Don’t shoot me, I’m only the messenger.
I put my fingers in my ears when he starts to talk that way.
Ryan voted FOR the stimulus! Until he answers why he could have possibly thought that would be a good idea, I cannot believe that he believes what he has written.
It is unfortunate that the gullible Republicans so easily swallow anything that doesn’t sound too much like a Democratic solution. But the truth about Ryan’s Roadmap is that it makes those big government programs seem more palatable while preserving them and insuring their continuation and their huge expense in perpetuity.
The correct solution should lead to putting people back in charge of their own lives and minimizing government coercion and intrusion. The fact that healthcare and retirement are not among the enumerated powers of the Costitution should be enough to end these ‘entitlement’ programs but, in addition, if we are going to compete and win in the marketplace, we must put everybody’s mind to work and not just those in government.
Freedom is the best way to organize society and it’s about time we stopped compromising away our American Exceptionalism.
On Fox News Sunday,Bill Krystal said that the GOP has to get organized, pick a really effective agenda and a winning candidate. Please let not them(ie us) snatch defeat from the jaws of victory!
Social Security Reform was a big loser for Bush a few years back, Im by no means convinced that anything has changed significantly since that time. However great this may be as policy - it wont be popular politically, and no amount of telling ourselves otherwise will change that.I agree.
Why try to re-run the post-2004 political fights?
Looking for a slogan AND a message?
The Democrats ALL voted for Obamacare and now they are ALL trying to pretend they didn't. Don't TRUST the Democrats again. EVER.
Short, succinct and startlingly true.
At this point in time you don't need a roadmap, you just need Republicans to grow testicles and tell the damn TRUTH.
The truth about the REAL cause of the economic collapse of 2008 (Fannie and Freddie, NOT the free market), and the REAL TRUTH about how Democrats are trying to make us all forget that hideous horrible bill they shoved down our throats not long ago.
To come up with a ROADMAP at this point in our history is to totally ignore the CRIMES of the Democrats. It would be as if Obama gave Alaska back to the Russians and then the Republicans came out with a foreign policy ROADMAP.
No. No roadmap. Let's scream bloody murder about what the Democrats have just done to this country, half a year ago. Let's focus on THAT. Ok???
And you'd like him even better if you ever met him in person. He's the US Rep from the District south of me.
Precisely the reason I pinged you, dearest FRiend!
IIRC, Bush brought up the need to reform Social Security several times. I was amazed at the reaction by the left. Maybe the staggering debt we are incurring has sobered enough people at least to the point they will be receptive to repair.
I fully realize that we took several generations to get into this mess, so there are no quick fixes. People plan their lives around having the money that Uncle Sam promised they would get. Yet, there are only so many jelly beans in the jar, and magic beans do not pay any real bills.
The system must be fixed and the sooner we can convert it from a debt-based system into an asset-based one, the better off our children will be. I say it this way because even if we started to fix it today, I will be long dead when the repairs will be finished.
Just because I do not expect Congress to be able to do this, doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t keep bringing it up.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.