the national interest

Paul Ryan Has a New Explanation for Election Loss

FISHERSVILLE, VA - OCTOBER 04: Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (L) and his running mate Rep Paul Ryan (R-WI) wave to supporters during a campaign rally at the Augusta Expoland on October 4, 2012 in Fishersville, Virginia. One day after the first Presidential debate, Mitt Romney spoke to the CPAC before heading to Virginia to campaign with his running mate Rep Paul Ryan (R-WI). (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Photo: Justin Sullivan/2012 Getty Images

Speaking at the Faith & Freedom conference today, Paul Ryan explained to the assembled delegates why he and Mitt Romney somehow failed to win last November despite four years of horrific Obama Big Government redistribution: It turns out four years wasn’t quite enough for the horrors to become apparent:


This was the challenge that Mitt Romney and I had in this last election … we had to argue against the promise and the rhetoric of President Obama … The great soaring rhetoric, all of the empty promises … Remember in his first two years, he passed his big program, but he didn’t implement his program,” he continued, referring to Obamacare. “Now, in his second term, we’re seeing it implemented — and it’s pretty darn ugly.”

Really? I seem to recall Ryan during last year’s campaign leaning pretty heavily on the idea that Obama’s failure was already evident; e.g., comments like this:

The president can say a lot of things, and he will. But he can’t tell you that you are better off. Simply put, the Jimmy Carter years look like the good old days compared to where we are right now.”

Or his convention speech when he decried “$716 billion funneled out of Medicare by President Obama” and announced,

Obamacare, as much as anything else, explains why a presidency that began with such anticipation now comes to such a disappointing close.  It began with a financial crisis.  It ends with a job crisis. It began with a housing crisis they alone didn’t cause. It ends with a housing crisis they didn’t correct … Now all that’s left is a presidency adrift, surviving on slogans that already seem tired, grasping at the moment that has already passed, like a ship trying to sail on yesterday’s wind.”

Last fall, Obama’s rhetoric was already tired, yesterday’s wind. Now, in retrospect, Ryan sees it as a mighty gale force he couldn’t overcome.

Indeed, Ryan’s working theory at the time was that Obamacare was unpopular then but would become popular over time by insidiously hooking the populace on easy government lucre and sapping them of their desire to get off their lazy butts and get their own health insurance. Remember the dread tipping point he warned us of in 2011?

We’re coming close to a tipping point in America where we might have a net majority of takers versus makers in society and that could become very dangerous if it sets in as a permanent condition. Because what we will end up doing is we will convert our safety net system — which is necessary I believe to help people who can’t themselves, to help people who are down on their luck get back onto their feet — into a hammock that ends up lulling people into lives of dependency and complacency which drains them of their incentive and the will to make the most of their lives.

Paul Ryan Has New Explanation for Election Loss