Overlooked, as the embers of the Republican primary slowly burn out, is the degree to which the GOP is united on a bold reform agenda. Daniel Henniger noticed this, too:
The party and its presidential candidates have become like celestial bodies, rotating in distant corners of the same galaxy.
With the Ryan budget, this party’s two poles are joined. Especially on taxes.
And Medicare reform. And block-granting Medicaid. And halting the president’s defense-cutting splurge. The list goes on: shrinking the federal workforce, countering the power of public employee unions, encouraging free trade, repealing Dodd-Frank, reining in the Environmental Protection Agency and privatizing Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. There is virtually no daylight between the presumptive Republican presidential nominee and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on matters of domestic policy or funding of national security.
But this is true on Romney and Ryan’s ’ rhetoric and a larger vision as well. See if you can tell who wrote this:
The question we will decide is this: Will the United States be an Entitlement Society or an Opportunity Society? . . .
Over the past three years, Barack Obama has been replacing our merit-based society with an Entitlement Society. The federal government has insinuated itself more and more deeply into health care, finance, energy, industry, the environment and labor. As a result of one of the most dramatic expansions of Washington’s power in our nation’s history, federal spending under Obama is now nearly a quarter of our GDP, and has risen to the highest level since the national emergency of World War II.
With the growth of government has come an inevitable contraction of the private sphere. The American economy, once the envy of the world, has fallen into disrepute. Unemployment stuck over 8% for 34 months — the longest such spell since the Great Depression— is only one symptom of the profoundly disturbing transformation of American society that the Obama administration has pursued.
Take a look at this one now:
This looming [debt] crisis represents an enormous challenge, but it also represents a defining choice: whether to continue down the path of debt, doubt and decline, or put the nation back on the path to prosperity. It also represents a tremendous opportunity for this generation of Americans to rise to the challenge, as previous generations have, and fulfill this nation’s unique legacy of leaving future generations with a freer, more prosperous America.
It isn’t coincidence that the two wonky pols share common views. Certainly there was some coordination between Romney’s Medicare plan rollout and the virtually identical Ryan-Wyden plan released a short time later. Romney early on praised the original Ryan Medicare plan; Ryan returned the favor by admiring Romney’s tax and entitlement plans.
This identity of interests, proposals and views has been severely under-reported. You can understand that for the conservative legions of Ryan admirers it might be hard to acknowledge that the dreaded Romney is virtually indistinguishable in policy and rhetoric from the heroic Ryan. But at least on policy Republicans should acknowledge, and in fact celebrate, that their agenda is shared, conservative and concrete.