Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) ventured over to our digs at the Heritage Foundation yesterday morning to deliver one of the most thoughtful and effective defenses that I have ever heard of our free-enterprise system and of what he calls the “American idea.”
The American idea, of course, refers to the American Dream: the notion that
A thoughtful man, Ryan clearly yearns for an intellectually honest debate that pits the philosophies of the two national parties against one another. Drop the cheap shots and the intellectual laziness. Concede that the other side, though perhaps misguided, genuinely believes that its solutions will work and is not carrying water for some evil special interest. Strive for a civil and elevating policy debate worthy of Bill Buckley’s Firing Line.
Ryan’s frustration on this point came through when he dismissed the president’s rhetoric as “petty.” Addressing Obama’s contention that Republicans favor “dirtier air, dirtier water, and less people with health insurance,” he asked: “Can you think of a pettier way to describe sincere disagreements between the two parties on regulation and health care?” An honest debate conducted with civility, he feels, would advance the conservative cause because, at the end of the day,
There is much more here to digest. Conservatives running for public office and those of you who find yourselves in endless ideological debates with the guy in the next cubicle or the cousin who still loves Obama would do well to read this speech closely. And repeatedly. It is, to coin a phrase, a rhetorical roadmap in defense of freedom.