Ryan, Rubio reboot: leaving behind “failures of the past”

Ryan, Rubio reboot: leaving behind “failures of the past”

Welcome to the new Republican generation.

As former Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan and GOP rising star Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) addressed guests at the Jack Kemp Leadership Award Dinner Tuesday night, they worked overtime to cast a new vision for the party that emphasized embrace of Americans of every rank and status and common-sense reforms to welfare programs and education while eschewing the mis-messaging and failure to connect that may have contributed to the party’s loss in November.

The dinner, held at Washington, D.C.’s famous Mayflower Hotel, was a who’s who of conservative heavyweights including Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) and rougly 10 other lawmakers past and present.

The first mission for Ryan and Rubio, as two of the party’s most prominent young leaders, was to distance themselves from the Romney campaign’s most damaging moments: a secretly taped fundraiser in which candidate Mitt Romney appeared to dispense with the “47 percent” of Americans who don’t pay income tax as unreachable by Republicans; and, following the election, a widely panned remark by Romney attributing President Barack Obama’s re-election to “gifts” made to key voting demographics.

Ryan, the Kemp award recipient of 2011, took immediate aim at the 47-percent gaffe.

“Both parties tend to divide Americans into ‘our voters’ and ‘their voters,’” he said. “But Republicans must steer far clear of that trap. We must speak to the aspirations and anxieties of every American.”

The banquet attendees responded with fervent applause.

While Ryan said he was proud of the campaign that he and Romney had run, he didn’t hesitate to acknowledge that the team’s communication with the nation had fallen short.

“We have a compassionate vision based on ideas that work – but sometimes we don’t do a good job of laying out that vision. We need to do better,” he said.

Ryan isolated rising American poverty rates as an area where Republican ideals of freedom and opportunity could triumph, citing the successes of 1990s welfare reform as a starting point.

“Welfare reform worked because it encouraged the best in people. It appealed to their desire to shape their own destiny.  And it helped get government out of the business of fostering dependency,” he said.

Government, Ryan said, must work to foster community, private efforts, and civil society, not to squelch them.

Ryan laced his speech with self-deprecating barbs of humor that acknowledged his ticket’s loss and the reporters in the back of the room, hungry for a glimpse into 2016 political aspirations.

“You’re joining an elite group of past recipients – so far, it’s just me and you,” he quipped to Rubio. “I’ll see you at the reunion dinner – table for two. Know any good diners in Iowa or New Hampshire?”

Later, as Ryan gave tribute to the late Republican congressman Jack Kemp, his mentor, he offered a rueful comparison.

“Now Jack and I share something else in common: We both used to be the next vice president of the United States,” he said.
But the most biting humor was saved for Obama, as he needled the president’s habit of blaming the prior administration for the nation’s economic woes.

“It’s true that President Obama won re-election, and I congratulate him on his victory,” Ryan said. “But on January 20th, he’ll face a stagnant economy and a fiscal mess. You might even say he’ll inherit these problems.”

Rubio, the night’s award recipient and a subject of many Republican hopes and speculations for 2016, delivered a dense and broad-ranging speech reminiscent of his foreign policy address to the Brookings Institution as a short-list candidate for the vice presidential nomination.

If Ryan cast a vision for the party, Rubio laid out a goal-filled policy roadmap.

He touched on free-market healthcare reform, jobs programs, tax policy, education, the Keystone Pipeline, and monetary policy, making only a few light quips before getting down to business.

Rubio made it clear he was not among the rolls of Republican lawmakers looking to compromise with the president by raising tax revenues.

“It isn’t about a pledge. It isn’t about protecting millionaires and billionaires,” Rubio said. “For me, its about the fact that the tax increases he wants would fail to make even a small dent in the debt but would hurt middle class businesses and the people who work for them.”

He spoke warmly of reviving the middle class by helping to match skills with ready workers and cutting back regulation.

“The more expensive a regulation is, the less money a business has left to give raises or hire new people,” Rubio said. “So we need to have a balanced approach to regulations.”

Rubio received hearty applause as he spoke about his plans to promote charter schools and support school choice, and college scholarships for low-income students.

He got chuckles from the crowd when he talked of paying off his own student loan debt with sales of his new book, An American Son, “a perfect Christmas gift and available on Amazon for $11.99.”

While Rubio cast himself as a believer in small government, he repeatedly emphasized that he did see a role for government in social programs, distancing himself from hard-line conservatives, libertarian-influenced lawmakers, as well as a “47 percent” mentality.

“Let’s protect our nation’s safety net programs. Not as a way of life, but as a way to help those who have failed to stand up and try again, and of course to help those who cannot help themselves,” he said. “…Government has a role to play. And we must make sure it does its part. But it’s a supporting role: to help create the conditions that enable prosperity in our private economy.”

In closing, he reminded the audience of his own humble upbringing as a child of Cuban immigrant parents and his path to success through hard work and American opportunity.

“In the kitchens of our hotels; in the landscaping crews that work in our neighborhoods; in the late night janitorial shifts that clean our offices–there you will find the dreams America was built on,” he said. “There you will find the promise of tomorrow.”

Rubio and Ryan, who was re-elected to his Wisconsin congressional seat in November, will both return to Capitol Hill to grapple with a slate of legislative crises due to hit at the end of the year. But they are both expected to remain prominent faces in the Republican party as the GOP hones a new, winning image calculated to woo back voters and to return to classic party ideals.

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  • Patriot41

    A few thoughts keep crossing my mind as I read how Ryan and Rubio are so concerned about helping out their fellow man. That was certainly not the attitude shown by the GOP leadership, when they turned their backs on their own during the primary and continue to do so now. Let us remember how that same leadership, did all it could to defeat any and all conservative candidates during their primary and during the campaign for the presidency, nor their recent rejection of conservatives on important committees in the House.

    Then there is a constant attempt to deny the truth, about the 47% who were bought off by Obama’s gift programs over the last four years, with the help of many on the GOP side of the aisle. How do such people expect to gain support, when they stand in front of a crowd and the media, and blatantly lie? If you can’t stand behind the truth, what can you stand behind other then your rhetoric and propaganda, to pacify those who could care less about the fate of this country?

    Oh yes, it is evident what you are doing. You lost the election because you did not have the convictions of what your party was supposed to be standing for. Now you want to go along with the theme of the Obama regime, ” we care for you” and that is why you should vote for us. In the process of your betrayal of principles and the truth, you are digging the grave even deeper, for those who have been deceived. Why don’t you just change party affiliation and become the democrats that you are.

  • VanceJ

    theirs is an act of futility, as long as the GOP leadership stays the same which it will.
    I for one am done with them.!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/StephanChukNorsStenzel StephanchuckNors Stenzel

    AMERICA! WOULD BE CHEERING IN YR 2013 If MR.ROMNEY AND PAUL RYAN / Were PRESIDENT & VICE PRESIDENT TODAY!~ THERE’S YOUR SIGN! THE COMMUNISTS/Marxists/SOCIALIST FAR LEFT/SAUL ALINSKY’S/And RADICAL ISLAMISTS ARE RUNNING OUR ONCE GREAT COUNTRY~ I’m Stephan aka’chucknors’Stenzel Midwest US Cowboy*Of Wells,MN & Sometimes Texas* Too~ lol And I Approve This Message Big Time! PS.(Congrats To Congressman /US*Vice Presidential Nominee For A Great Fight!), Face Book Suspended My Account for 30 Days~ Oct 16-Nov.16th for Excepting to many Friends & Heavily Promoting My Former Martial Arts Student I Trained An Awarded his Coveted BlackBelt & On Toward his 2nd Degree! 22+yrs Ago! at My First of 16 Locations ,And Was An honor also to have Mr.Paul Ryan* Spend Several nights A Week for Several hours With Including more Than A Dozen Other Students~Deputy Sheriff~Now Detective & Master BlackBelt Roger Roatch*Mr.Dale Cardinal*BlackBelt, Now Master Kerry VanSanten*BlackBelt Jose’Rodrigus’of Mexico*2nd Degree BlackBelt Mr.Wayne Haechren*BlackBelt Mike Stein*BlackBelt,BlackBelt Mr.Bill Joos*Albert Henderson,Tom Decker(Police Officer) Females~Mrs Linda Kroehls*Mrs.Carol Molnau*(Became 2 Term Republican LT.GOV.MN with GOV.TIM PAWLENTY,Volunteered To Rebuild My New Largest Martial Arts School in Minnesota 5,000+Sq Foot Complete with 10-Person Hydro Spa,Multiple Showers in Lady’s & Mens Changing Rooms,Weight Room /Cable TV For Parents and Spouses in Waiting And A (Dojang~Korean) (Dojo Japanese) (STUDIO~AMERICA) lol holding 64+ Students in A Class with Arms Length Training Space* Was Truly An Honor*Mr.Ryan and All My Other Students Too~ Great Memories and of Course The Photos. Will be Working For My Former BlackBelt Again from Now On for The Future Young Guns! of This REPUBLIC~In Honor of OUR Founding Fathers Constitution*Of The USA* Even Though I Trained To The Knowledge/physical Levels of 8th Degree BlackBelt & Into 9th Degree TaekwonDo/5th in Hapkido Trained Personally by Supreme So.Korean Grand Master Ji Han Jae 10th Dan and Founder of Hapkido*Also Renowned For Teaching Off Screen The Legendary “BRUCE LEE” and Fought Him for Real in Mr.Lee’s Final Movie “Game Of Death.” I was Honored To Receive his permission to Teach His Hapkido With My Masters Degree! To So Many! Including the Former Two Term Republican LT.GOV.Of MN Mrs Carol Molnau! 2002-2008.And My Most Senior to Her Coveted BlackBelt~Ms Karen Gigikos known Nation Wide as “Black Belt Granny*~ Made Her Debut w/Full Page in GRAND NATIONAL Magazine Nov/Dec.2006 Issue Among Movie Stars~Ms Sally Fields,Mr.Donny Osmond,Mr.Martin Sheen! & Others plus Front Cover*Ms Julie Andrews*Thank You Friends And Families! God Bless AMERICA* Stephan aka’chucknors’Stenzel USA* And Today! I Also Sing Great American Country*Please Have a listen/Comment Thx ~ http://SoundCloud.com/StephanChuckNors-Stenzel

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.mordecai John Mordecai

    Hurray for the next generation of RINO’s. Losers.

  • bobemakk

    I think these are the only true conservatives left in the republican party. The other RINO’s are caving in and want to reach across the board to agree with the new doubling down on taxes proposed by Obama. Ryan and Rubio are the best left, and they would not be voting for “the lesser of two evils” in the next presidential election.

  • bobemakk

    Gentlemen, let’s not have a cold war over this. The repubs must change their values and not give into Obama.

  • bobemakk

    I pray you are wrong.

  • http://www.facebook.com/abrownsr.1 Arthur L. Brown Sr.

    The current House leadership is DESTROYING the set of Conservatives we had in place by removing them from their chair positions because they did not follow the party line to play dead!

  • David Nelson

    Republicans have done a terrible job of explaining their positions
    forever. The top 2% pay little or no income tax, comparatively anyway,
    so raising the rates will equal little or nothing.
    The liberals know
    this because they are in charge of tax credits and deductions. The small
    business are taxed on their operating cash that is there on December
    31st . January 1 they better have most of their cash to pay ongoing

  • http://twitter.com/TheAmericanHour The American Hour

    The majority of Americans don’t want opportunity and freedom . They want handouts. This message won’t work. The message that handouts will end and you’ll have NOTHING might get some attention. Opportunity and freedom is better than NOTHING.

  • Niniane

    It isn’t so much that the Republicans didn’t deliver the message, but that the majority of today’s dumbed-down Americans would rather talk about Toddlers in Tiaras or the deals on QVC.

  • egb398

    I wish they’d quit preaching to the choir and start communicating with the American people in general through the media. I know coverage will be slim, but they need to pound away at it using whatever forum they can get be it hearings, demonstrations, interviews, Ellen, The View, Leno, Letterman, Saturday Night Live…whatever. Our folks need to be SEEN to be HEARD by those who need to hear them. They need to start cracking the mainstream media. The dems as a party have pounded their points for a century. The only Republican to do so was Reagan, for a quarter century. It doesn’t matter that the media is biased. GOP is woefully inadequate in creating and taking advantage of opportunity.

  • abc2xyz

    During 2012 campaign they were “team” players , going along with Romney in everything he was doing. At that time they should have made those remarks !

    At that time they should have told Romney to change .

    But, at that time they were like a lamb, fighting for the VP position, so they chose not to speak up, afraid of the consequences of their convictions; they were not ready to risk their skin, pure and simple they played along ……

    Alea jacta est ! [The die has been cast] Obama is in WH …….

    After the game was lost, these two GOP doves, changed their feathers and now they appear like an “aquilla” [ not eagle, vulture for the fear of being attacked by the Obama machine... ].

    Too late friends, too late …..
    Nowadays, USA needs people with conviction, the “dare to fail” kind, not lambs/doves failing to dare .

  • abc2xyz

    On the contrary. The true conservatives like DeMint are leaving …. so the GOP [ RINOs ] will become irrelevant and will lose the House.

    The true conservatives will become the 3rd party that will be more effective than being GOP’s poor relative .

  • abc2xyz

    Mr. Rubio/Ryan, rather to leave failures behind, tell us what you’ve learned from those failures and are you going to fix them with new ideas, etc .
    Forgetting is not a solution, it is lack of leadership, an abdication, a giving-up because you don’t want to act !

    Sad ! Very Sad !