If Mitt Romney embodies the optimism of America’s entrepreneurial class, then blue-eyed, 42-year old Paul Ryan is his public policy reflection – a pol with a Reagan & Kemp resume who wants to find solutions. “Together we can do this,” said Ryan over and over Wednesday night from the Tampa convention podium.
This is the can-do spirit of businessmen like Romney and Rick Snyder – and of reformist pols like Reagan and Ryan. You are where you come from, and Ryan’s tour down Autobiography Lane revealed a young man who had to take on responsibility at a young age when his father died, watched as his mother built a business (“she is my role model”), and absorbed the challenges of a Janesville, Wisconsin town that depended on the competitiveness of the U.S. auto industry to survive. Indeed, Ryan connects more easily to voters because he speaks the language of the jobs street – while Romney speaks the lingo of Harvard Business School.
Ryan is a pol marinated in Midwest individualism. Private Ryan reveals Public Ryan.
Ryan gave a devastating critique Wednesday of the free-spending, Obamacare-obsessed, crony capitalism that has marred the once-hopeful Obama years. The result? A generation of unemployed youth “staring at their faded Obama posters” on their bedroom wall in their parent’s house.
But Ryan, unlike many Republicans, is not content to just be a Monday-morning quarterback.
His history is to solve problems like health coverage and Medicare. Where the media has spared Obama coverage of his $700b Medicare heist and his historic downgrade of American debt, Ryan schooled America on the facts. He turned the Medicare question on its head – declaring Republicans the party of Medicare with his plan to voucherize an unsustainable system. Picking up on Chris Christie’s hard truth theme (alas, he did not spell out the failures of Romneycare), Ryan demanded that American demand accountability of its leaders.
“I’m going to level with you. We don’t have much time,” said Ryan in warning of the consequences of our European debt path. “We know what places like Wisconsin and Michigan looked like when times were good.”
As someone with Midwest factory town roots, he knows business builds that – not a government hundreds of miles away in Washington, DC.