by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Ryan’s 36-minute address did everything he needed to do: offer a devastating indictment of President Obama’s economic record, with a few memorable barbs about the president’s legendary self-importance; offer enough personal background so that viewers feel they know a little about Ryan; and most of all, convince voters that he and Mitt Romney will devote all their energy to jobs, the economy, and debt.
Ryan got it all done. In an interconnected narrative of Obama’s failures, he started with the stimulus — the money was not only wasted, but borrowed and wasted, Ryan said — and moved on to that period in 2009 and 2010 when the country was desperate for the president to devote his full attention to job creation. Obama instead pushed an unpopular national health care bill through Congress.
Bringing up Obamacare moved Ryan to Medicare and what he called the “biggest, coldest power play” — Obama’s decision to take more than $700 billion out of Medicare to pay for Obamacare. Once he broached the topic, Ryan not only did not avoid Medicare and entitlement reform — he spent five paragraphs pledging to tackle it head-on.
Ryan moved on to mock Obama’s tendency to confuse talking about something with actually doing something. The president recently said he hasn’t done well enough telling his story to the American people. “That’s the whole problem here?” Ryan asked incredulously. “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.” The crowd loved it.