Ryan Avoids Getting Pricked by Rose

Wisconsin Republican Congressman Paul Ryan appeared Monday on the Charlie Rose show.  Ryan and his two coauthors apparently are out promoting their new book, Young Guns.  Both the form and substance of the interview serve as a good model for conservative and libertarian candidates in this year's mid-term elections.

Mr. Rose seems to impose political bias on many of his interviews -- despite being funded in part by taxpayers, tax-deductible contributions, and tax-exempt charitable trusts.  On this show, he introduced Congressman Ryan by parroting two Democrat talking points: "dismantling Social Security and Medicare" and "austerity".

However, Rose then gave Ryan an evenhanded chance to respond by rephrasing that leftist dogma in the form of a straw-man question:

How dare someone in political life start talking about dealing with Medicare and Social Security.  Don't they know it's a third rail of American politics?  Am I right?

It probably was the best question that any journalist -- biased or unbiased -- might have asked the lawmaker, and Ryan responded persuasively.  He explained the origin of his "Roadmap for America's Future" and then outlined its objectives:

I wanted to do three things: fulfill the mission of health and retirement security -- I hardly would call this dismantling -- pay off the national debt, and put our economy in a position to be thriving and prosperous and internationally very competitive in the 21st century.

Note that Ryan also used his response to refute Rose's opening characterization of
him as "dismantling Social Security and Medicare".  After Ryan explained the program in greater detail, Rose respectfully conceded:

I meant by "dismantle", just dismantle in the traditional way that it works.  In other words, you can use the word "change" rather than dismantle.

That might seem like a trivial victory, but Ryan must have realized that he had to refute the very premise of Rose's opening debate gambit or play defense for the rest of the interview.  (Good advice for all Republican political candidates)

Then Rose shifted to the issue of fiscal austerity.  He attempted to insert some more Democrat "conventional wisdom" into the debate.  Here's another false-premise question that Rose seemingly channeled from leftist economist Paul Krugman:

OK, but are you prepared to spend money for stimulus in order to do something about unemployment?

Ryan also refuted that one quite well, first challenging its premise and then suggesting better alternatives:

I don't subscribe to the typical Keynesian doctrine that you need to borrow and spend money to create jobs.  We borrowed and spent $1.1 trillion (when you add interest costs) on the stimulus and we've lost 2.6 million jobs since that legislation passed.
I do think there are better things that the government could do to promote 
prosperity and create jobs. We ought to be growing at a very fast pace
coming out of the kind of recession we are coming out of -- if we are
coming out of it. I mean after the '81 and the ‘72 recessions we were
growing at about six to eight percent at this time.
I would argue that the reason we are growing so slowly -- why jobs aren't 
materializing -- really is because of government in this case.  Government
is producing so much uncertainty.  You have a wave of tax increases
coming in January; another wave of tax increases coming in 2013.
You have all this spending, which is adding to our debt.  And we have a debt crisis right around the corner plus new regulations that are causing businesses to sit on capital and not hire employees.  You've got to reduce those threats to the economy, to businesses, and that will help us unlock the job growth in this country.

After a few more exchanges, Rose seemed to realize that he couldn't win a stimulus debate, so he attempted to get Ryan to agree that the recent financial regulation legislation somehow would fix America's economic ailments.  He even tried to put words into Ryan's mouth:
You said the regulatory certainty is established now that we have the financial reform.
 Of course, that legislation only created more uncertainty and inefficiency, and Ryan responded 
fittingly with polite laughter. Then he explained:
There are over 500 regulations that will come out of this new law that haven't been 
promulgated yet that nobody really knows what it is going to mean.  They haven't
defined them. [By the way, that will take years]  We have a whole new health care
law that many businesses don't really know exactly what the consequences of these
things are.
So federal government has done a lot lately that I think are really putting a chilling effect on businesses.  When I travel through southern Wisconsin talking with businesses big and small, I get the same answer every time, which is, what is the government going to do to me next?

Later, Ryan summarized by slipping in what sounded like an excerpt from one of his campaign speeches:

So the way I look at it is, it's not as if we have to go reinvent this country.  We
have to more or less reclaim it.  The ideas that built it are the ones that made it
so exceptional in the first place.
What are those basic ideas?  I can get a little philosophical, but your rights come from god and nature, not from government.  Government's job is to protect your rights and build the society based on liberty, freedom, equality, free enterprise, self-determination, government by consent of the governed, really important principles.

That was a concise, effective, and direct attack on President Obama's autocratic views, such as government-granted positive rights, disdain for those clinging to the First and Second Amendments, a plan to bankrupt the coal industry, and fascist takeovers of private enterprises.  By this time, Rose seemed to realize that he had lost the debate and could come up with only this ludicrous if-you-can't-beat-‘em-join-‘em defense:

I bet if Barack Obama was sitting at this table, he would say, "I agree with everything Paul Ryan just said."

Perhaps Rose's absurd comment actually could be accurate.  --But only if one of Mr. Obama's puppet masters loaded a Paul Ryan speech into the president's teleprompter, desperately hoping to fool voters. (Again)

Those viewing Mr. Ryan's interview clip might question whether a guy that looks and sounds like a small-town accountant can be an inspirational leader.  After all, just two years ago, 53 percent of Americans seemed to think they were voting for a hip, trendy high school homecoming king, not the next President of the United States.  However, over the past two years, as the king demonstrated that he can do little more than play basketball, most Americans now realize they need responsible adults in Washington, and Congressman Ryan appears to be exactly that.