Yeah, yeah, I know. Don't worry about 2012 right now. So sue me.
Rep. Paul Ryan is one of the most articulate, intelligent conservative voices in Washington, DC. His voting record is impeccable. His performance in the so-called "Health Care Summit" was superb. And this past week, Congressman Ryan delivered an absolutely stunning speech to the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs. This is not your normal, run-of-the-mill talk. This address made Barack Obama sound like a seventh-grade speech student.
I'd have to republish the entire thing to capture the highlights. So here are some choice snippets, starting with this:
It raises a subtle but real threat to self-government when the few are paying more and more of the bill for government services and subsidies to the majority: "He who pays the piper calls the tune." The next chapter is the rule of "crony capitalism," where those who pay most taxes get the privileges, and government by and for the people is replaced by government by and for the few. The end of this story is soft despotism.
At this point, I'm not sure I would have used the adjective "soft". But the point is well-made.
A government that expands beyond its high but limited mission of securing our natural rights is not progressive, it's regressive. It privileges the powerful at the expense of the people. It establishes the rule of class over class. The American Revolution and the Constitution replaced class rule with a better idea: equal opportunity for all. The promise of keeping the earnings of your work is central to justice, freedom, and the hope to improve your life.
"keeping the earnings of your work" - The Democrats are all for that, only it's them who wish to keep our earnings.
But wait - there is much, much more...
The Constitution and the consent of the people are all that stand between limited and unlimited government power. Zealous ideologues with the best of intentions brush aside the limits on power in order to get whatever they believe is good for the people ... no matter what the people believe. Our system of freedom can survive an assault, but it won't survive if the people are frightened, or angry, or asleep at the switch. A great Democrat, President Andrew Jackson, once said: "eternal vigilance by the people is the price of liberty." We can thank our current leaders at least for this: they have awakened the nation to the danger of taking self-government for granted.
Congress is not only enacting a social welfare state agenda over the objections of the people. It is failing to address the problems that threaten to engulf our country, principally economic decline and entitlement-driven debt crisis. The coming election will be a referendum on the agenda of our current leadership. Either it will give them a mandate that says "more of the same," or it will end the abuse of power and put America back on the path of growth and freedom.
Paul Ryan obviously understands what is wrong with the current regime. These two paragraphs encapsulate my feelings about the Democrats in power better than just about anything I've read in the past year. Read those paragraphs again. And again.
Furthermore, Ryan understands the REAL issue behind the financial crisis we are faced with:
The problem in a nutshell is this: Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, three giant entitlements, are out of control. Exploding costs will drive our federal government and national economy to collapse. And the recession plus this Congress' spending spree have accelerated the day of reckoning.
Today, Medicare is $38 trillion short of its promised benefits. In five years, the hole will grow to $52 trillion. Your family's share of this gap is $458,000. Medicaid will add trillions more in state and federal debt.
Social Security's surplus is already gone, and its debt is mounting. Unless its finances are strengthened, the government will be forced to cut benefits nearly 25 percent or raise payroll taxes more than 30 percent.
And Ryan finishes with a flourish:
My party challenges the whole basis of the Progressivist vision of this country's future. We challenge their attack on American exceptionalism. We challenge their claim that bureaucratic centralization is the only way the US can meet the economic and social challenges of our time.
Those leaders have underestimated the good sense of the American people. They broke faith with independents, Republicans, and their own rank-and-file. They walked away from the foundational truths that made America the wonder and the envy of the world. The price of their infidelity will be high.
I pray that the price of their infidelity will be an overwhelming GOP victory in 2010. That is indeed where we must be placing our emphasis for the rest of 2010.
But beyond 2010, we must think about how to re-take the White House from the primary culprit in this governmental hijacking of the Constitution: Barack Hussein Obama. Congressman Ryan clearly understands the problem and the solution.
A speech like this is not the typical fare we hear from Congressional representatives. Be sure to read the whole thing. Words like this are seldom heard today, in DC or anywhere else. These are the kinds of words we hear from a statesman...the kind of words that come from a President. Now I've heard the case from some of my friends and colleagues that we must elect someone with executive experience, or we'll wind up with another disaster like Barack Obama. But the problem with Obama has nothing to do with a lack of experience; it has everything to do with a neo-Communist ideology that has lurched this nation's policy-making far, far to the left. I am much more interested in a President who has the ideas that can move this country in the right direction. And Congressman Ryan possesses these ideas.
But, you say, Ryan says he doesn't want to run for President. Well, maybe after another year or so of Barack Obama, he'll be convinced. I know I am.