If more Americans paid serious attention to politics and to those who represent them in their constitutional republic, they would identify Representative Paul Ryan (R: Wisconsin) as the jewel within the current crown. Of course, many of them would not share his political perspective – Ryan after all is a moderate Republican in a nation polarized well to the left and well to the right of his stated positions.
Rather, they would recognize that Paul Ryan is a thinker, and as such is unique in current U.S. national politics:
“He thinks. He studies. He reads. Then he comes forward to speak, calmly and at some length about what he believes to be true. He defines a problem and offers solutions, often providing the intellectual and philosophical rationale behind them. Conservatives naturally like him – they agree with him – but liberals and journalists inclined to disagree with him take him seriously and treat him with respect.” Peggy Noonan, ‘The Divider vs. the Thinker’, The Wall Street Journal, October 29, 2011
This past week, Paul Ryan spoke about ‘The American Idea’ at Washington’s Heritage Foundation. Calmly and thoughtfully he identified the limitations of President Barack Obama with respect to the current crisis that confronts the American economy:
“He scored the president as too small for the moment, as ‘petty’ in his arguments and avoidant of the decisions entailed in leadership. At times like this, he said, ‘the temptation to exploit fear and envy returns.’ Politicians divide in order to ‘evade responsibility for their failures’ and to advance their interests. The president, he said, has made a shift in his appeal to the electorate. ‘Instead of appealing to the hope and optimism that were hallmarks of his first campaign, he has launched his second campaign by preying on the emotions of fear, envy and resentment.’ ” Peggy Noonan, ibid.
So, instead of making serious contributions to resolving the problems that confront the United States economy – as Representative Paul Ryan indisputably always does – President Obama is out campaigning, earlier than any incumbent President in the history of the Republic. His campaign seeks to exploit divisions within the society that he was elected to lead, to weaken the glue that holds Americans together through troubled times.
President Obama tells America that it is the rich versus the rest, understanding of course how the ballot box numbers mount up if that slur is accepted. He endorses Occupy Wall Street confusions, perhaps because those confusions mirror his own lack of understanding of economics 101.
Most particularly, President Obama either does not understand, or chooses not to acknowledge that the fundamental problem with the U.S. economy is its slow drift away from laissez-faire to crony-capitalism. The financial collapse of September 2008 was driven primarily by politically well-connected fat-cats, such as Franklin Raines and James Johnson, who ran Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and who for the most part- with one decent exception where a shamed senior executive of Freddie Mac hanged himself in his basement – walked away with the taxpayers’ wealth in their pockets.
When most members of Congress and the man in the White House desire only two things – to receive campaign contributions and to be re-elected – the Republic is in serious jeopardy. All of President Obama’s presidential behavior surely is explained by those two desires.
That is why Paul Ryan accurately scores the president as a little man but a big divider.