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June 04, 2011
Paul Ryan Gave One Hell Of A Campaign Speech Last Night
Paul Ryan is having quite a year for speeches. First, the Republican reply to the State of The Union, then a major budget address at the Economic Club of Chicago and now a foreign policy speech at The Alexander Hamilton Society in DC.
I know he's not running-running but he's definitely running.
The whole thing is worth a read but below are a few highlights. Since they run long, let me toss my impressions up front.
It's obvious Ryan is a very smart and serious guy who has thought a lot about these issues. This isn't a deeply wonkish foreign policy address but it's a window into his mind and his values. It's safe to say, he's not an isolationist but at the same time he grasps the opportunities of, and the limits on, American power. I like the balance he strikes here.
Most importantly, Ryan is clear eyed about the challenges we face but he's clearly bullish about America and the future. He doesn't see a shrinking America where we are another name on the UN roster, at the same time he understands that for the "world community" to work, it must and will be led. The question and challenge of our time is, Who will lead...us or China?
Ryan also has a powerful force on his side...optimism. Even with all the challenges we face, and he lays them out, he has a strong belief in America. He is not a guy who sees America as something that needs to be remade or looks back longingly at some idealized time that may or may never have ever existed. He looks at the challenges and sees better days ahead...if we make the right choices now. That plays well even in, or perhaps especially in, times of trouble. That he's young, vigorous and attractive really sells the package.
I haven't seen the video of this yet but I've seen Ryan give speeches and talks before. He's good on camera so I can't imagine it was any different last night.
As Jonah Goldberg quipped on Twitter today, "I hope @PaulRyan is feeling a draft"
From the speech:
On the connection between our economy and security.
The unsustainable trajectory of government spending is accelerating the nation toward the most predictable economic crisis in American history. Years of ignoring the real drivers of our debt have left us with a profound structural problem. In the coming years, our debt is projected to grow to more than three times the size of our entire economy.
On the tension between American values and geopolitical interests.
There are very good people who are uncomfortable with the idea that America is an “exceptional” nation. But it happens that America was the first in the world to make the universal principle of human freedom into a “credo,” a commitment to all mankind, and it has been our honor to be freedom’s beacon for millions around the world.
And some hard truth telling about China.
The key question for American policymakers is whether we are competing with China for leadership of the international system or against them over the fundamental nature of that system.
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