Paul Ryan takes the stage tonight after a tremendous opening night which featured home run speeches by Ann Romney and Chris Christie. He will have more time and more attention than either the future First Lady or the New Jersey governor, and how he uses that those rare opportunities will decide a great deal about the campaign and the early months of the Romney/Ryan Administration.
The Wall Street Journal today argues for a full-throated embrace of the politics of growth, and the editors are completely correct. Governor Christie was right to talk about hard choices leading to a Second American Century, but Paul Ryan has to underscore not just the how but the why of growth, and in this his pal Arthur Brooks’ The Road to Freedom will come in handy.
Growth for growth’s sake isn’t much of a rallying cry, but a vast expansion in human happiness and achievement is, and that is what growth allows through the accumulation of earned success. If you haven’t read Brooks’ book, you should, but listen closely tonight for the inspiration that Ryan received from Jack Kemp and Bill Bennett all those years ago at Empower America. Then as now the key to energizing America is pointing to what earned achievement means for individuals and for the country as a whole: human flourishing. The president and his Chicago gang want the country to settle for a gray sky and an endless tug-of-war over government benefits. If Paul Ryan keeps his speech trained on the alternative, “Hope and Change 2.0” will never catch up.
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