American Enterprise Institute President Arthur Brooks has often made the case that Republicans need to better make the moral case for capitalism in order to win over new voters and not be painted as ruthless and out of touch by liberals who play to the heartstrings of voters. And in Paul Ryan, the Republican ticket will now be able to better make the moral appeal for capitalism and frame this election as a stark contrast between statism and free enterprise.
“The first five seconds must be used to make your moral claim, then you can back it up with wonkery,” Brooks told Breitbart News. “You have to come out of the cannon with the moral claim. This is what is supposed to be written on our hearts.”
You can complain all you want that liberals are soft-headed and have lousy arguments. But that won’t change the way people are wired. If you want to win the argument, you have one choice, and only one: You have to make your own moral case for free enterprise, right from the beginning. No data, no appeals to stats from the Congressional Budget Office. You can bring that stuff in later. When you first open your mouth, it better be to say what’s written on your heart about the country you love and the system that makes us strong and free.
In the spirit of Jack Kemp’s Opportunity Society, Ryan can help make this election into an affirming election in which the Republicans can sweep into the White House not by default but with a mandate. He has already made Romney more energetic on the stump and can help Romney better make the moral case for capitalism, that the free enterprise system is the best system in which individuals of all backgrounds and incomes can better their lots in life.
On Saturday, when he was introduced as Romney’s running mate, Ryan showed how he can speak the moral language of capitalism to back up the mastery of data for which he is known and heralded.
“I represent a part of America that includes inner cities, rural areas, suburbs and factory towns,” Ryan said in Norfolk. “Over the years I have seen and heard from a lot from families, from those running small businesses, and from people who are in need.
“But what I have heard lately troubles me the most. There is something different in their voice and in their words. What I hear from them are diminished dreams, lowered expectations, uncertain futures.”
Ryan said that when he hears people saying the recession is “the new normal,” he refuses to believe that “high unemployment, declining incomes and crushing debt” is the new normal.
“It’s the result of misguided policies,” Ryan said, noting that he was “proud to stand with a man who understands what it takes to foster job creation in our economy, someone who knows from experience, that if you have a small business–you did build that.”
“We Americans look at one another’s success with pride, not resentment, because we know, as more Americans work hard, take risks, and succeed, more people will prosper, our communities will benefit, and individual lives will be improved and uplifted,” Ryan said. “
Ryan said the idea of America — that our rights come from nature and God, not government and we promise equal opportunity, not equal outcomes — that is founded on “the principles of liberty, freedom, free enterprise, self-determination and government by consent of the governed” is “under assault.”
And Ryan and Romney now have three months to convince Americans they will not only stop this assault, but restore an America in which the individual is valued over big government.