MADISON, Wis. — The Republican VIP on stage spoke with alarm in his voice.
He warned of an America with “a gloom and grayness to things” if Democrats take over. “They rig the system,” he told the crowd, and want a “government for the elites.” “Instead of this fear and uncertainty,” he added, the country should choose a leader who would “secure our borders” and “confront radical Islamic extremism once and for all.”
This wasn’t Donald Trump talking. It was Paul Ryan, the can-do optimist and avatar of the Republican establishment.
In a speech to College Republicans just off the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus Friday, Ryan painted a dark picture of America under President Barack Obama — and argued how much worse it would get under a President Hillary Clinton and Democratic Congress. It was a striking warning from a politician who's taken pains to project sunny optimism in his politics.
The pessimistic take on the state of the union under Democratic rule signals that Ryan — who many suspect is eyeing his own run for the White House in 2020 — is acutely aware of the anger among the GOP base that Trump rode to the nomination.
Ryan told the students that he's trying to lead the country on "a path lit with hope, liberty and self-determination" — before turning to what he said Democrats are offering.
“In the America they want … government is taken away from the people, and we are ruled by our betters, by a cold and unfeeling bureaucracy that replaces original thinking,” Ryan told an auditorium of just under 200 students. “It is a place where the government twists the law — and the Constitution itself — to suit its purposes. A place where liberty is always under assault, where passion — the very stuff of life — is extinguished.”
“That is the America Hillary Clinton wants,” he continued, adding: “If given control of Washington — if given control of Congress — it is the kind of America she will stop at nothing to have."
Brendan Buck, a spokesman for the speaker, said that Ryan did not use more alarmist rhetoric in his speech Friday than he has in the past.
Ryan has always used harsh language to describe liberal ideology. He often talks at news conferences about how a majority of Americans don’t like the path the country is on and are searching for change. During his Republican National Convention speech in July, Ryan called Democrats “progressive elites” and said, "if opportunity feels like it’s been slipping away, that’s because it has."
Still, Ryan is better known for appealing to the GOP's better angels.
"Instead of playing to your anxieties, we can appeal to your aspirations," Ryan said in a March speech titled "The State of American Politics," in the midst of the ugly Republican primary. "We don’t resort to scaring you, we dare to inspire you."
His description Friday of a country run by Democrats, by contrast, sounded pretty scary. Reflecting on the event a few hours later, Ryan told WIBA Madison's News Talk Station host Vicki McKenna Friday that Democrats taking over Washington would be a “nightmare."
"This is the nightmare scenario facing our country right now: If Hillary Clinton wins and sweeps in a Democratic House and a Democratic Senate, she will have the same kind of open-field running that Barack Obama had in those first two years," Ryan said. "President Obama got most of what he wanted in his first two years when he had total control of Congress."
Ryan is facing a new immediate challenge that could be triggering the sense of dread: preventing a wipeout of his House majority in November even as Trump's campaign continues to unravel. A Democratic takeover was seen as an impossibility until last weekend.
But after the election, regardless of the outcome, all eyes will be on Ryan to help rebuild the GOP — assuming, as even he's pretty much done, Trump loses. The speaker on Friday offered a possible preview of how he'd position himself and the party against Clinton, whether from his perch in Congress or as her rival in a potential 2020 matchup.
Speaking at one of the most liberal college towns in the country, Ryan sprinkled turns of phrase into his 25-minute address that could have come from Trump, minus the hints of xenophobia and free trade bashing.
“Are we are going to be positive and inclusive, bring people together, and reclaim our founding principles? Or are we going to be overrun by liberal progressivism, with more drift, more despair, and more decline?” Ryan asked. “That is the choice before us.”
He spoke of Clinton and the left as if they were acolytes of Karl Marx. “In the America they want,” he said, “the driving force is the state,” and under their policies, there is “no way up, no way out.”
“This is what liberal progressivism does … It traps people,” he argued. "There is no room to run, no chance to grow, or to fail for that matter.”
Ryan also spent part of the speech taking Obama to task over his biggest policy accomplishments, including Obamacare. The speaker railed against Democrats’ “modern welfare system” that “keeps people down instead of helping them break free.” And he accused the left of allowing the economy to be “suffocated by regulations,” putting the nation on a path to “drowning in debts.”
Clinton and Democrats seek not only “a continuation of the last eight years,” he said, but “they intend to make it into a reality — an arrogant, condescending, and paternalistic reality.”
Ryan did not mention Trump once throughout his address, and no students asked him a Trump-related question. Instead, Ryan simply referred to Republicans as “we,” touting his "Better Way" policy agenda and occasionally giving shoutouts to fellow congressional Republicans running for reelection.
Ryan’s speech wasn’t all darkness and despair. He told the students “we” could restore the country to prosperity.
“We have the chance to save this country from decline and set it back on the right path — a path lit with hope, liberty, and self-determination,” he said, later adding: “The kind of America we want is confident and determined … is a land of opportunity, driven by the individual spirit. You don’t just live your life, you lead your life. You don’t just get by, you get ahead.”
The way to do that? Keeping Republicans in Congress.
"We House Republicans are actually tackling these problems by offering solutions ... a very bold specific agenda to deal with all of this, to fix all of this," Ryan told radio host McKenna. "And we’re running on it."
Reource : http://www.politico.com/story/2016/10/paul-ryan-democratic-washington-229822